Bean was the smallest student at the Battle School, but he became Ender Wiggins' right hand, Since then he has grown to be a power on Earth. He served the Hegemon as strategist and general in the terrible wars that followed Ender's defeat of the alien empire attacking Earth. Now he and his wife Petra yearn for a safe place to build a family - something he has never known - but there is nowhere on Earth that does not harbor his enemies - old enemies from the days in Ender's Jeesh, new enemies from the wars on Earth. To find security, Bean and Petra must once again follow in Ender's footsteps. They must leave Earth behind, in the control of the Hegemon, and look to the stars.
Card's latest installment in his Shadow subseries (Ender's Shadow, etc.), which parallels the overarching series that began with Ender's Game (1985), does a superlative job of dramatically portraying the maturing process of child into adult. The imminent death of Bean, a superhuman 20-something Battle School graduate who suffers from uncontrolled growth due to a genetic disorder, leaves little time for Peter the Hegemon, Ender's older brother, to set up a single world government and for Bean and his wife and former classmate, Petra, to reclaim all their stolen children. When Card's focus strays from his characters into pure politics, the story loses power, but it's recharged as soon as he returns to the well-drawn interactions among Bean's Battle School classmates whose decisions will determine Earth's fate. They were trained to fight a (literally) single-minded alien enemy, but that war is over. Now, as young adults in command of human armies pitted against each other in messy conflicts with no clear solutions, Bean's old cohorts must help create a peaceful future for Earth after they're gone. Card makes the important point that there's always more than one side to every issue. Fans will marvel at how subtly he has prepared for the clever resolution.