Book - 2002 | 1st Orb ed
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Kidnapped at an early age, Ansset has been raised in isolation at a mystical retreat called the Songhouse. His life is filled with music, and having only songs for companions, he develops a voice that is unlike any other. But Ansset's voice is both a blessing and a curse--for it reflects all the hopes and fears of his audience, and, by magnifying their emotions, can be used either to heal or to destroy. When it is discovered that his is the voice that the Emperor has waited decades for, Ansset is summoned to the Imperial Palace on Old Earth. Many fates rest in Anssett's hands, and his songs will soon be put to the test: either to salve the troubled conscience of a conqueror or drive him, and the universe, into mad chaos.
Publisher: New York : Orb, 2002
Edition: 1st Orb ed
ISBN: 9780312876623 (acid-free paper)
0312876629 (acid-free paper)
Branch Call Number: S CARD
Characteristics: 348 pages ; 21 cm


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Feb 27, 2015

More fantasy than science fiction, this novel from Card is an easy read. The story is character-driven, following Ansett from kidnapping to death. He's trained as a Songbird, in which role he reflects and amplifies others' emotions. Later, he is manipulated into a political weapon, prevented from returning home (to the Songhouse), and thrust into a political administrative job when all he wants to do is return home. When Kyaren's (Kya-Kya) story intersects with Ansetts, it's not smoothly done, but her role strengthens as the second half of the book proceeds. Card's created a universe where there's a powerful (theoretically apolitical) Songhouse involved in universal politics and Earth is a cultural backwater where people play at their ancestral heritage. It's a universe in which song in used to heal, communicate, pacify, incite as well as a weapon and educational tool.


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