If you’ve ever read Orson Scott-Card’s sci-fi masterpiece Ender’s Game (you haven’t? Go ahead, I’ll wait. See, I told you), you know Card’s gift for capturing both military strategy and psychology. Empire, a cautionary adventure about a second U.S. Civil War between liberals and conservatives, is a similarly blistering read. Card plots hard-boiled action just as well as Tom Clancy, and layers in character detail and dialogue you’ll never find in a Jack Ryan novel. But Empire betrays its well-earned reality when huge War of the Worlds-style robots attack Manhattan. That’ll help sell the movie — already in preproduction — but not readers.