A War of Gifts: An Ender Story

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A War of Gifts: An Ender Story
Author Orson Scott Card
Country United States
Language English
Series Ender's Game series
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 128 pp
ISBN 0-7653-1282-4
OCLC 137222863
813/.54 22
LC Class PS3553.A655 W37 2007
Preceded by Children of the Mind
Followed by Ender in Exile

A War of Gifts: An Ender Story (2007) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. This book is set in Card's Ender's Game series and takes place during Ender Wiggin's time at Battle School as described in Card's novels Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

Plot summary[edit]

A War of Gifts begins in North Carolina where Zechariah 'Zeck' Morgan, a boy with nearly perfect memory, lives with his family. Though Zeck’s father is the minister of his own church and has raised Zeck to be a pacifist, he beats the boy regularly. When the International Fleet shows up to take Zeck to Battle School, Zeck’s mother sees this as the perfect opportunity to get the boy away from his abusive father. The story takes place when Ender is just newly transferred to Rat Army, before meeting Dink.

At Battle School, the other students barely tolerate Zeck because of his strong religious beliefs and his refusal to fight in the Battle Room. On December fifth Zeck sees a Dutch boy put a Sinterklaas Day gift in another Dutch boy’s shoe. Because religious activities including prayer and holidays are forbidden at Battle School and Zeck has been taught by his father that Santa Claus is evil, he decides to report the two boys to Colonel Graff. After the Colonel calls the boys in and reprimands them, they decide to rebel by getting everyone to celebrate not Christmas, but Santa Claus, as he is not a religious symbol in the book, but a secular one. When Zeck complains to the authorities, they refuse to do anything.

Zeck goes to the Muslim students and points out that the Christians are being allowed to celebrate their holidays. Some of the Muslim students begin daily prayers. When the administration forcibly stops the Muslims from praying, the other students stop giving each other Christmas presents. They also refuse to speak to Zeck. When he begins to have a nervous breakdown because of the isolation, Ender Wiggin decides to have a talk with him. In doing so, Ender discovers that Zeck was desperately trying to get sent back home so that he could protect his mother from his father. After he convinces Zeck that his mother doesn't need to be protected, Ender gives him a small "Santa Claus" present. When the other students learn that Zeck accepted the gift, they stop ignoring him and go back to tolerating him.[1]


Morgan family[edit]

  • Zeck Morgan : The anti-hero protagonist.
  • Reverend Habit Morgan - Zeck’s father
  • Unnamed - Zeck's mother

Wiggin family[edit]

  • Andrew "Ender" Wiggin
  • Peter Wiggin - Ender's older brother
  • Valentine Wiggin - Ender's older sister
  • John Paul Wiggin - Ender's father
  • Theresa Wiggin - Ender's mother


  • Dink Meeker - Dutch boy
  • Filippus "Flip" Rietveld - Dutch boy
  • "Rose de Nose" Rosen
  • Ahmed - Pakistani (Muslim) student
  • Unnamed - Other students
  • Bean

International Fleet personnel[edit]

  • Captain Bridegan
  • Agnes O’Toole - IF tester
  • Colonel Graff - Battle School commander
  • Unnamed - Teachers, Counselors, Marines

Literary significance and reception[edit]

A War of Gifts was not particularly well received by genre critics. The chief complaint with the story is that although it raises the issues of faith, religious freedom and religious suppression, it does so in a very superficial manner.[2][3] Some critics have also commented on the character of Ender Wiggin who is described as being too Christ-like to be believable.[3][4]

"Ender’s Stocking"[edit]

Chapter 2 of the piece, "Ender’s Stocking," originally appeared in electronic form as the first third of the short story "Ender's Stocking," published in the October 2007 issue of Card’s webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show.[5] This chapter has been criticized for seeming to be unrelated to the rest of the book and for detracting from the rest of the story.[3]

"The War of Gifts"[edit]

In 2016 the author released an abridged form of the story titled The War of Gifts for inclusion in the anthology Decision Points.[6]

Connection to other parts of the Ender series[edit]

In addition to being set during Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, the Islamic counter reaction to the Christmas celebrations in A War of Gifts sows the seeds for the creation of the Muslim Caliphate by Battle School graduates which plays a major role in the Shadow series. This is Alai, who becomes the Caliph in the Shadow series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orson Scott Card, A War of Gifts, Tor Books, November 2007.
  2. ^ Thomas M. Wagner, "A War of Gifts: A review" SF Reviews, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Steven H Silver, "A War of Gifts: A review" SF Site, 2008.
  4. ^ Paul Di Filippo, "A War of Gifts: A review" SciFi.com, 2008.
  5. ^ Orson Scott Card, "Ender's Stocking" Intergalactic Medicine Show, October 2007.
  6. ^ Schmidt, Bryan Thomas (April 2016). Decision Points. WordFire Press. p. 355. ISBN 978-1-61475-424-4. 'The War of Gifts (An Ender Story)' © 2007 Orson Scott Card. First published in A War of Gifts, novella hardback, by Tor Books. This is its first anthology appearance, and the first in a form slightly abridged by the author. 

External links[edit]