Empire (Card novel)

novel by Orson Scott Card

Empire (2009) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. It is the first book of the The Empire duet, and is followed by Hidden Empire.


  • Treason only matters when it is committed by trusted men.
    • Chapter One: Captain Malich
  • Protect your own force—that was a prime concern. But if it were the only priority, or the highest priority, nations would keep their armies at home and never commit them to battle at all.
  • When do you first set foot on the ladder to greatness? Or on the slippery slope of treason? Do you know it at the time? Or do you discover it only looking back?
    • Chapter Two: Recruitment
  • Only a fool thinks the turns of history can be measured by any standard other than which wars were fought, and who won them. Survival of the fittest—that’s the measure of a civilization. And survival is determined on a battlefield. Where one man kills another, or dies, or runs away. The society whose citizens will stand and fight is the one with the best chance for history even to notice it.
  • If you tell the same lies long enough and loudly enough, even people who know better will despair and concede the point. We are tribal animals. We cannot long stand against the tribe.
  • Heroic love is to do what is best for the loved one, disregarding desire, trust, and cost. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what is best for anyone.
    • Chapter Three: New Boy
  • In war planning, you must anticipate the actions of the enemy. Be careful lest your preventive measures teach the enemy which of his possible actions you most fear.
    • Chapter: Tidal Basin
  • War triggers human inventiveness at the most brilliant, because if you don't win your wars, your civilization disappears.
  • While war is the ultimate expression of mistrust, it cannot be waged without absolute trust. A soldier trusts his comrades to stand beside him and his commander to lead him wisely, so that he will not be led to a meaningless death. And the commander trusts his subordinates and soldiers to act with wisdom and courage in order to compensate for his own ignorance, stupidity, incompetence, and fear, which all commanders possess in ample measure.
  • There are hard wars and easy wars. It's easy to conquer a country whose people hate their own government more than they hate the invaders. It's hard to fight a war when your army knows that back home, their families are rooting for the other side.
  • Being young is an eighteen-year prison sentence for a crime your parents committed. But you do get time off for good behavior.

See also

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