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SPOILER WARNING: Ender Quintet plot details follow.

Ivanova Santa Catarina von Hesse, more commonly known as Novinha, was a Xenobiologist on the planet of Lusitania and the wife of Andrew Wiggin.[1] She was first introduced in Speaker for the Dead.



Some time after humans colonized Lusitania or during the flight from Baía‏‎, Novinha was born to Gusto and Cida von Hesse. However, the effects of the Descolada soon began to kill off the human population. Gusto and Cida worked hard to develop a cure, but not before they both fell to the deadly disease, leaving Novinha orphaned.[1]

Speaker for the Dead

Novinha was not very sociable in school, and asked to test early for the position of xenobiologist so that she might continue the work of her parents. Pipo volunteered to administer the exam, but gave Novinha much more than she bargained for by accepting her into his family as well. The fact that Novinha’s research seemed to be responsible for Pipo’s death made it even harder on her, since she now felt that anyone she loved would die. Her work all but stopped, and her relationship with Libo was put to the side since she could never allow him to have access to her professional files where he might discover what Pipo had discovered.[1]

Novinha decided to call for a Speaker for the Dead to speak on behalf of Pipo, but ended up canceling the call five days later (after Andrew Wiggin was already on his way). Novinha decided that she did not deserve to be happy, and ended up marrying Marcos Ribeira, who was usually called “Cão” - or “dog.” She had many children (actually sired by Libo), but the family was not happy, and Novinha was frequently beaten by her husband (who knew about Novinha’s adultery) .In spite of Novinha's strong personality, she never fought back; she figured she deserved the life she was having. When Marcos died, life did not improve all that much until Andrew Wiggin arrived six weeks later.[1]

Each member of Novinha’s family reacted differently to the Speaker, but all eventually accepted him, including Novinha who eventually married Andrew. Novinha learned that the cause of Libo's and Pipo's deaths were not murder, but what the Pequeninos called the Third Life, in which a Pequenino would become a Fathertree, but since Libo and Pipo were humans, it didn't work.[1]


Novinha originally was stated as being simultaneously stone cold and raging with internal fire, but after meeting Pipo and Libo she softened from their love. Years later, upon meeting Andrew, she became visibly tired and worn from the sins she had committed and endured.


"She carried the beast inside her heart, the devourer of happiness. even God was wishing she would die...No, no, it's not true, she said silently. God does not want my death, not by my own wouldn't help anybody. Wouldn't help, would only hurt. Wouldn't help, would only..."
Children of the Mind, page 128
"Silently chanting her mantra of survival, Novinha followed her husband's gasping body into the monastery,where perhaps the holiness of the place would drive all thoughts of self-destruction from her heart. I must think of him now, not of me."
Children of the Mind, page 128


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Speaker for the Dead
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