When I first read the Ender books the sequels that follow Ender began with Speaker for the Dead. It is the second novel Scott Card wrote in the Ender universe. If you want to read the series in chronological order of Events Ender in Exile would follow though there are things that will make more sense after reading both the Ender and Shadow sequel sets.
As I will not be giving away any endings or any big secrets, I’ll start with Exile. It has been decided that Ender can never return to Earth, and he really has no desire to do so. Instead he decides to join the colonization project by becoming a governor. The surviving members of the International Fleet are landing on the nearest planets to their final location from the war. They have become colonists. People all over Earth are signing up for the project as well so that they can have families as they’d like to, there will be no worries about limiting the number of children to two per family in space and it will help reduce the population of Earth. Ender will not be alone on the trip his sister Valentine will be joining him.
Back in Italy Alessandra Toscano’s mother has come home and announced that they will be heading off to space. Alessandra is tired of her mother and her mother’s crazy ways so she takes off to find her grandmother. At her grandmother’s home she discovers why her mother has never introduced the two of them.
Once everyone is on board the ship Alessandra is pushed towards Ender much to her dismay. Ender is in contact with the current governor of the colony now known as Shakespeare while trying to head off the suspicions of Admiral Quincy Morgan who believes he will be the actual governor while Ender is merely a figurehead.
I enjoyed this book for the most part but some of it did feel decidedly retconny, not a word I know but it works. Several of the chapters were originally short stories featured in Orson Scott Card’s webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show.
There is a short story in First Meetings that is next chronologically about how Ender obtains his “assistant” Jane. It’s not necessary to read but it is a nice little addition.
Ender and his sister Valentine seem to have finally found a planet to settle on in Speaker for the Dead. They have both become professors on Trondheim and Valentine has married a fisherman and is pregnant. On another planet, Lusitania, a xeonlogor has been killed by the species he has been studying, a sentient pig-like group called the pequeninos or piggies. This is the first sentient species other than humans found since Ender killed the buggers in the third and final Formic War. Novinha a thirteen year old apprentice xenobiologist under the tutelage of Pipo the xenologer that has just been killed, calls for a Speaker for the Dead to come speak for Pipo. Afraid that it is her fault that Pipo is dead because of files she showed him she locks up all her work as she can not delete it and does not allow Pipo’s son, her best friend, Libo to see them. Light years away Andrew Wiggin, he no longer uses the name Ender as he is now known not as the hero of the human race but as the killer of an entire species the name Ender has become an epithet, has heard of the call for a Speaker and decides to accept it.
While Ender is in flight to Lusitania, Novinah cancels her call and two others are issued by her son Miro for the death of Libo, and her daughter Ela for the death of their father. The piggies become very excited when they learn that Ender is coming and insist they must see him.
The story continues in Xenocide and Children of the Mind. I loved this set of sequels more so than the Shadow I think because this set is about Ender, about his struggle with himself and what he did, his struggle to find a life and to be accepted for who he is. I have read and reread these books several times and will again.