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A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners Hardcover – September 1, 1999


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A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners + Komarr : A Miles Vorkosigan Adventure + Cryoburn (Vorkosigan Saga)
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Product Details

  • Series: Miles Vorkosigan Adventures
  • Hardcover: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671578278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578275
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 6.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you relish costume adventure in an intergalactic society starring strong, convincing male and female characters, you'll adore the Vorkosigan Series. If you haven't met Miles Vorkosigan, whose brilliance, manic energy, and unstoppable determination make him a larger-than-life hero despite his dwarfish stature, pick up Komarr and A Civil Campaign. Read them, and then go back and catch the previous nine books (10 if you count Ethan of Athos, which features not Miles but his partner, Ellie Quinn); or read the series in order, starting with the romance of Miles's parents in Shards of Honor.

A Civil Campaign opens where Komarr ends, with Miles determined to court Ekaterin. Unfortunately, his approach is described as "General Romeo Vorkosigan, the one-man strike force." By his father. The potential for comic disaster increases when Miles's clone brother Mark arrives. He's brought a brilliant but scatterbrained scientist who's created a bug producing a perfect food: bug butter. They set up a lab in the basement of Vorkosigan House. Mark has also found a nice Barrayaran girl--she even likes the bugs--with whom he got together on the sexually liberated world of Beta. But now Kareen's living at home. Naturally, disaster strikes, repeatedly and on all fronts.

Bujold unfolds her comedy of manners while continuing to explore familiar themes: the difficulties in becoming a strong adult woman in a patriarchy, the need for trust and honesty in relationships between the sexes, the difference between appearance and identity, and the impact of advanced biotechnologies on society. A Civil Campaign is a sure-fire Hugo and Nebula nominee, likely to add another statue to Bujold's already full shelf. It's charming, touching, and quite funny too. --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly

Bujold dedicates her new novel to the Bront?s, Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Sayers, which gives a pretty good indication of the territory she's staked out in this well-done addition (after Komarr) to her popular Miles Vorkosigan series. Miles, forced by ill heath to give up his military career and having embarked on a second career as an Imperial Auditor (a kind of peripatetic judge and ambassador), is madly in love with the beautiful and brilliant Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Unfortunately, Ekaterin is the recent widow of a crooked government official whose death Miles holds himself partially responsible for. Their courtship is made even more difficult by a series of interrelated events. First, Emperor Gregor is getting married, and Miles, like everyone else in the government, is caught up in the complex social and diplomatic whirl surrounding the impending nuptials. Second, Miles's disaster-prone clone brother, Mark, has concocted a scheme to make a fortune marketing "butter bugs," unattractive, cockroachlike creatures that secrete a bland tofulike food product. Worse, Mark has set up his laboratory in Vorkosigan House, the bugs have gotten loose and Miles's parents, Lord Aral and Lady Cordelia, are due home any second. And then there's the dirty infighting going on in the Council of Counts over who should inherit two vacant districts, plus an attempt to frame Miles for murder. Through all these often hilarious and occasionally dangerous incidents, Miles strives heroically to keep his eye on the prizeAthe winning of Ekaterin's hand in marriage. Bujold successfully mixes quirky humor with just enough action, a dab of feminist social commentary and her usual superb character development in a sprightly SF romance that her many fans will find enormously satisfying. (Sept.) FYI: Bujold has won four Hugos and two Nebulas for books and stories in the Miles Vorkosigan series.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to fans of the series!
Lou Wainwright
The book is great, really funny, happy endings anywhere you look..
sheila
Delightfully plotted, wonderful characters, great plot twists.
Stephen Bridge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Stronghold on July 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being a long time reader of Ms. Bujolds work I was very excited when the book came out..not having expected another for some time. So I was somewhat disappointed with the slow start of the novel. But confident that Ms. Bujold would continue in her habit of writing excellent books with a lavish touch of humor and a wry sensible wisdom I bent my eyes to the page and continued...
What a MISTAKE! Shortly afterwards..perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 of the way into the novel it did the usual trick that Miles Vorkosigan books perform...it grabbed hold and wouldnt let go for love, money, or lack of sleep. Needless to say...I finished it in one night.
The book picks up perhaps 3-6 months after the last book left off..at this point while the novel *might* be understandble from a stand-alone point I wouldnt count on it..go back and read the others..starting from Shards of Honor...or if you're pressed for time from Warriors Apprentice...trust me..you wont be sorry you did. Whee! Run-on sentences are so much fun! At any rate Miles is preparing for two distinctly different campaigns..the wooing of Ekaterin Vorsoisson, a young widow introduced in the previous book, Komarr, and plotting his assault on the bastions of power..namely inserting himself into the political process of Barrayar. Taking on either of these tasks might be considered foolhardy for your average human being..and taking them both together sheer hubris..but if there is one thing Miles posesses it is hubris.
The book then wends its way through the slow build-up..starting to pick up speed as Miles attemps to woo Ekaterin..without telling her about it. This tactic brings about a crashing defeat..ushering in the second half of the book. At this point the action begins to pick up..
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bujold does it again, absoluotly priceless.
Haveing read Warrior's Apprentice when first published I have to say that Bujold is one of three authors I would reccomend as must read SF. (Harry Harrison's Stailess Steel Rat series and C J Cherryh's Company , Chanur, and Foriegner series are the others).
I loved Warrior's Apprentice. I fell in love with the series at the epilouge of Shards of Honor. (made me cry, no BS... and me a { now former}soldier ). Fans of swashbuckling space opera may be a bit put off by the lack of violence but it's a nice change of pace from so much of the tripe that is out there. The dinner scene was priceless. "should prove popular with the...Miles, WHAT has that animal got in it's mouth..." had me in tears. I should have known better than to take a Bujold book to work. How does Bujold do it? How does a mom of two in MN write so damn convincinyly in the mind of not only a certain pint sized Imperial Auditor but all the other charactors in this book and the past ones? (Mark on Jackson's Whole..) To the detractors of this book: All I can say is please go out immediately and buy up Cordelia's Honor (Shards of Honor and Barrayar all in one) and Young Miles (first three Miles books) and get back to me. Better yet, finish up with Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, ( how did she get the multiple personality part so right?) Memory and Komarr. Then get back to me. This book is so rich with bits from the past books I could have died.
"Her parents looked nothing so much like, hmmm... like two teenagers caught screwing on the living room couch." Priceless.
One worrysome note, I hope Bujold doesn't end the Vorkosigan series here. One thing I'd like to see is stories of the "history" of Barrayar.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Merryl Gross on January 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me first explain that I am a great lover of Miles Vorkosigan books. And a great fan of Bujold's, even when she's not writing about him. But I think this is one of the better books in the series, showing more about him than those that spend more time with his point of view.
If you have read Komarr (and you really SHOULD), you know what one story thread is going to be. But this hardly prepares you for all the twists and turns of what, to a Barryarran biographer, would be one of the calm, safe, boring parts of Miles' life. As if he was going to have any.
It's hard to know what to say about this book; a LOT of people find the person of their dreams, Miles holds down a REAL job, Kareen finds her path in life, Mark is more Mark-like than ever, Aral and Cordelia use their parenting skills, and Barrayar as a whole gets dragged kicking and screaming another step towards enlightenment.
There are 3 spots where I cry, 4 spots where I laugh, and I enjoyed the whole thing. This probably isn't a good book to start the series with, but it's a good book. Start with _Warrior's_Apprentice_ or _Brothers_in_Arms_, which are out in paperback.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alice Saczawa on August 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What happens when a hyperactive, self-obsessed, results-oriented genius, who is also a bit dwarfish, the son of the ex-regent of his planet, and former commander for a group of galactic mercenaries decides to court a widow that is sour on marriage? Well, it has to be comedy, there is just no other choice.
A Civil Campaign (A Comedy of Biology and Manners) is all about Miles Vorkosigan, and his somewhat inept efforts at courtship. Add to the mix, his brother's newest business endeavor, butterbugs (bugs that produce food), combine a dash of political intrigue, a sex change operation and some dense relatives, and the results are hilarious.
I found this book vastly entertaining. It made me laugh. It made my heart ache. It made me cry. I loved it.
If you don't know Miles Vorkosigan already, this book probably isn't the best one to start with. But if you know him, and love him, read it. If you haven't experienced the Vorkosiverse, do it now, as this series is fabulous. Start with Shards of Honor, Barrayer, The Warrier's Apprentice, etc. and read them all. It will be a treat.
These books are so well written, I read them over and over again, and am always entertained. In some ways I envy those who have not read these books, because the experience is fabulous. I've introduced several folks, and they are now confirmed addicts.
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