An Ender Battle School Story
This story is set during Ender's time at Battle School, so could be read any time after completing the original book in the series, Ender's Game.
The book begins with the forcible Battle School recruitment of Zachariah "Zeck" Morgan, a gifted child with phenomenal memory skills, but who has been abused by his preacher father. Zeck refuses to cooperate with the program or the other children, declaring himself a pacifist.
To maintain harmony and keep the students focused on the war, Battle School minimizes the differences between students, and there is no contact with home. No religious observances are allowed.
So what will Colonel Graff do when two homesick students of Dutch origin (including Dink from Ender's Game) exchange Sinterklaas gifts? Does 'Santa Claus' violate the rules? How can Zeck prevent what he sees as the Satanic tradition of 'Santa Claus' from spreading?
Although the story is set at Christmas, the issues presented are about freedom rather than religion. Also at issue is how to heal the growing rifts between the students.
Some readers might be offended by the portrayal of Muslims, or the depiction of Christianity (although Zeck's father believes in a radical and fictional version).
The author always entertains. I found the story interesting, though the conclusion is reminiscent of the final scenes of Ender in Exile.
The book has been republished in 2017 as part of the Tor Teen line, and as of 2020, could be found at Dollar Tree stores in the U.S.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .