->For other works with this name, see {{Empire}}.

->''Empire is actually about tolerance and has been attacked by the intolerant for being so right-wing, which it absolutely is not. It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating.''
-->--'''Orson Scott Card'''

A 2006 WhatIf novel by Creator/OrsonScottCard, telling the story of Major Reuben "Rube" Malich and Captain Bartholomew Coleman, who get caught up right in the middle of the next American Civil War - the war between the Left and the Right. Takes place in the same universe as the game ''ShadowComplex''. Card was hired to write a story for the game, about a second Civil War, and the authors got more than they bargained for. Card takes a very serious look at the rising extremism and political tensions in modern America and extrapolates them to their logical conclusion: when both sides toss around enough "they're going to destroy our way of life" rhetoric, someone on one side will start shooting, and then it becomes a matter of self-defense for everyone involved. This has [[TruthInTelevision actually happened before]], in several parts of the world, in the last couple decades, and ''Empire'' is the story of how it could happen in the 21st-century United States.

It was followed with in late 2009 by ''Hidden Empire''.

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!! This first novel contains examples of:

* AlternateUniverse: There are less-than-subtle hints that the story is meant to take place during the summer of 2008, during the heated race for the U.S. Presidency for that November, and what was still in the future when the book was first published.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler:Rube, who was the protagonist up until he gets shot in the eye by his secretary]]. It's extremely sudden - taking all of one sentence -and undramatic.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Progressive Restoration's MiniMecha. In the one major combat action shown, they get blown to bits by missiles from Apache helicopters before they even get into the mechs' weapon range. They did, however, manage to successfully occupy New York City without any problem so they couldn't have been ''too'' impractical.
* AxCrazy: The Progressive Restoration movement.
* BadAss: Rube, Cole.
* BadassNormal: Rube and Cole face people with power armor and mecha on foot with normal weapons.
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler: Averell Torrent]] manages to give the right people the right ideas at the right time for the extreme measures of the plot to occur, then get himself in the right spots to say the right things and end up [[spoiler: President.]] But as he himself says later, he never planned anything specific- he just saw trends and gave them a push, then had gumption and personal connections to make use of them.
* BigBad: Aldo Verus, a liberal billionaire, is the leader of the Progressive Restoration.
* CaptainErsatz: Averell is a rare in-universe example. [[spoiler: He wants to be Augustus Caesar.]]
* BrokenAesop: The book is about the evils of divisiveness in political discourse and extremism on both ends of the political spectrum, but [[spoiler:the right-wing response to the leftist uprising turns out to be a sham and never materializes - it's an attempt by the Progressive Restoration's mole to identify who's going to take the most hardline action against them. The Progressive Restoration itself has no manifesto or demands, despite a paragraph talking about the divide it caused in the left wing community, especially among hard-left radicals.]]
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler:Averell Torrent]] pushes his pieces with ideas and words to trigger their own thoughts.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: "Aldo Verus", (an {{Expy}} of RealLife's George Soros).
* CoversAlwaysLie: The cover art depicts a futuristic tank shelling the Capitol Building, which never comes close to occurring. Apparently the artist was only told "future American Civil War 2".
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: Divided along political lines, not geographic ones.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Around halfway through the novel [[spoiler: Rube gets betrayed and shot right through the eye]] in a very sudden but effective scene.
* TheExtremistWasRight: Seems to be the conclusion at the end of ''Hidden Empire''.
* FoxNewsLiberal: Reuben's wife Cessily is the only good liberal major character, but never expresses any liberal views and several conservative ones.
* HumongousMecha: The Progressive Restoration build some, both piloted and autonomous.
* HeroicSacrifice: The village headman performs one for Reubens. It haunts him for much of the book.
* TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler: Averell Torrent.]]
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Dee Nee.]]
* MoodWhiplash: This occurs when mecha start showing up in what was previously a Tom Clancy-esque political thriller.
* NextSundayAD: It's today.. except with MiniMecha, PoweredArmor, hovercraft, etc...
** Also, there's no specific mention of who the President and other political figures are except by allusion. This keeps the book from being dated.
** Literally, it's 2008, about two years after the book was published. This is clued in not only by [[ProductPlacement clear call-outs to modern devices and cars]] but also to then-current Senators and specific calendar dates (the Friday 13th mentioned in the book fits with the calendar alignment) and the election cycle. Which brings up the question of why they assassinate a guy that would be out of office in a few months.
* MiniMecha: The walkers fielded are pretty much spheres with giant legs, and are piloted via cockpit.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Reubens is asked to make a plan for assassinating the President to guard against it. You can guess how this goes.
** Even better, he's guilty of funding the terrorists.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Mostly averted except for GeorgeWBush and Dick Cheney, likely because it doesn't seem appropriate to have real-life politicians getting assassinated as a major plot point, and George Soros, likely so that he won't sue for libel.
* OffscreenVillainDarkMatter: The Progressive Restoration manages to research, construct and train an army big enough to occupy [[NewYorkCity New York]], without ''anyone'' picking up on their shenanigans until the moment of their attack. It's [[HandWave hand waved]] as being funded by a phenomenally wealthy hardcore-liberal, not to mention several characters question where the Hell they got the manpower.
* PoweredArmor: Soldiers of the "Progressive Restoration" are equipped with various types of these.
* {{Qurac}}: The unnamed middle eastern country at the beginning of the novel where the US Military is not officially operating.
* SexySecretary: Dee Nee.
* StrawmanNewsMedia: Solidly a left-wing type III, except for FoxNews of course.
* StrawmanPolitical: The point of the novel - the two extremes of the political spectrum decided to stop beating around the bush and just beat the snot out of each other- except the only punches we see thrown are by the left. A moderate ends up being TheManBehindTheMan, though.
* UnwittingPawn: Reuben inadvertently helps the bad guys set up their plans and prepare their new technology through his assigned tasks at the Pentagon, leading him to need to ClearMyName once the fireworks start.
* WordOfGod: The afterword where Scott Card speaks about the problems of extremism in the American political system. It's very apt, but is hamstrung by virtue of it following a book that only had one side be at all extreme.


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!!The second novel contains examples of:

* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: There's a couple in-universe of Averell Torrent's actions.
** One might make one regarding [[spoiler: Cole's actions being that of a FaceHeelTurn.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Mark, and the whole jeesh except for Cole]]
* AuthorFilibuster: Done several times by Averell Torrent at the beginning of each chapter.
* BalkanizeMe: Happens to [[spoiler: Nigeria]] by the end of the book.
* ColonelBadass: Cole
* DepopulationBomb: The nictovirus is feared to be one of these.
* ForegoneConclusion: That the disease will eventually break containment is treated as this, but since it can't be part of public policy other actions are taken that will conveniently strengthen America's position, readiness, and moral standing.
* GoodShepherd: Cecily becomes one of these. So does Mark.
* KickTheDog: Cole spreading the virus to Northern Nigeria in order to make their planned genocide more difficult.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Torrent's rationale at the end, [[spoiler: which Cole agrees with.]]
* InfantImmortality: shockingly subverted with Mark.
* MightyWhitey: A good chunk of the plot of the second novel is about American Christians saving Nigerian Christians from disease, to the point that Cecily gets compared to and the same name as a sainted religious figure amongst the Nigerian Christians.
* ThePlague: The entire point of the book.
* PoweredArmor:[[TheSquad The jeesh]] get these near the beginning.
* SaintlyChurch: Virtually all of Christianity gets this.
* WhatTheHellHero?: [[spoiler: Many fans had this with Cole siding with Averell Torrent at the end.]]
** He gets another one earlier in the book [[spoiler: when he spreads the nictovirus to Northern Nigeria in order to infect the Muslim population. See KickTheDog.]]
** A literal example occurs when Cole confronts [[spoiler: Mingo about infecting the team with the nictovirus deliberately?]]

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