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Diplomatic Immunity (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures) Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans won't find this surprising in the least, but Miles Vorkosigan--the plucky, short-statured hero of Lois McMaster Bujold's beloved series--is uniquely incapable of having an uneventful honeymoon. Between a racially fueled diplomatic dispute, the appearance of a hermaphroditic old flame, and a bizarre Cetagandan genetic conspiracy, Miles just can't seem to get a minute of peace with his new wife, the lovely and resourceful Ekaterin (whom Miles courted in A Civil Campaign).

Miles had hoped to give "hands-on op games" a rest once and for all, but when the Emperor urgently calls on him to resolve a "legal entanglement" in Quaddiespace, diplomacy alone might prove inadequate. (Quaddies, you'll remember, are the no-legged, four-armed free-fallers introduced in Falling Free.) Our newly minted Imperial Auditor almost immediately forgets all about "Baby's First Cell Division" (after the assignment comes in, Ekaterin quickly observes "You know, you keep claiming your job is boring, Miles, but your eyes have gone all bright"), but even Miles feels the heat after his diplomatic attempts devolve into a series of flattering assassination attempts.

Vorkosigan (and family now!) is as winning as ever, with Bujold offering up her usual fun mix of space-opera action and droll social commentary in a character-centered plot. And here's a bonus for Milesophiles and Vorkosiga novices alike: a book-by-book timeline detailing what trouble Miles got into and when. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Those who have followed Bujold's superb far-future saga about the undersized and unorthodox warrior, Miles Vorkosigan, will heave a sigh of relief as our hero and his beloved Ekaterin enjoy wedded bliss (including looking at "baby pictures," i.e., a sperm fertilizing an egg) on a belated galactic honeymoon until a diplomatic crisis intrudes. As a Barrayaran Imperial Auditor, Miles must look into a murder whose investigation is complicated by the boorish behavior of the Barrayaran military. When the case develops a host of new angles, Miles wonders, "How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?" A seemingly straightforward crime leads him to mass murder, kidnapping, hijacking, biological warfare and Cetagandan genetic politics, all on an orbital habitat of the quaddies (the genetically engineered four-armed humans introduced in the author's Nebula Award winning Falling Free). Preventing interstellar war is a tough job, but fortunately Miles has his lady working beside him, in the best tradition of Nick and Nora Charles or Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. As usual, Bujold is adept at world-building and provides a witty, character-centered plot, full of exquisite grace notes such as the description of quaddie ballet (hint: four arms and no gravity make many things possible). Established fans will be thoroughly gripped and likely to finish the book in a single sitting. While this isn't the best place to start for new readers, they'll be helped by a concise chronology at the end that neatly sums up Miles's earlier adventures.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Miles Vorkosigan Adventures
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743436121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743436120
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I've grown older, I've grown more selective of the science fiction that I've read. But I still rush to the web whenever a new Lois McMaster Bujold novel comes out. I'm still amazed that Bujold doesn't have a wider following among science-fiction fans. Given her four Hugo awards, Bujold should roll off the tip of the tongue as quickly as Henlein, Asimov, or Bradbury.
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY is another book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. Like other Bujold heroes, Miles does not conform to the standard space opera hero sterotype. Debilitated by a terrorist attack while in vitro, Miles is a brilliant, devious, hyper-energetic mind trapped in an abnormally short, hunch-backed, fragile body.
In this addition to the series, the Emperor of Barryar interrupts Miles and his new wife on their honeymoon to embroil him in a convoluted diplomatic struggle involving the 'quaddies' (a race of humans genetically modified for optimal zero-G living who have arms in place of legs), the Cetagandans (the ancient enemies of Barryar), and a mysterious cargo. As Miles pulls the threads to this knot all hell breaks loose, and Miles must use his lightning wit and endless energy to somehow prevent a new war between his planet and the Cetagandans and a bio-terrorist threat on the entire quaddie race.
Bujold has chalked another of my sleepless night up to her exciting and fast-paced novels. Even though I was vastly entertained, I found this book a little disappointing. While other Miles books often had a more serious undercurrent of the difficulties of Miles living in the militaristic Barraryaran society and his unquenchable desire to succeed despite his handicaps, this book is more of a straight adventure story with little character growth.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Carl Malmstrom on April 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Lois McMaster Bujold's first new Vorkosigan novel in two and a half years not only moves the story line to nearly two years after Miles and Ekaterin have been married (a story, presumably, to be chronicled some time in the future), but is the first novel since Mirror Dance to take place primarily outside the Barrayaran Empire.
In brief, it is a story of Miles playing troublshooter for a diplomatic incident gone horribly wrong in Quaddiespace - home of the quaddies first introduced in the novel "Falling Free". With tensions between quaddie and the Barrayarans stretched, tensions between Cetaganda and Barrayaer taking a turn for the worse, tensions between the trader Komarrans and the militarstic Barrayarns never far below the surface and a deadline for Miles and Ekaterin to return home for the birth of their first children, and deaths reported on the Quaddies' Graf Station, everything seems stretched to the breaking point even in the first chapter. As Miles investigates the situation, a relatively simple murder mystery rapidly transforms into a very palpable suspense with ties to many aspects of Miles' past.
As implied, it helps greatly to be familiar with Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga universe before reading this book. In particular, the events of "Falling Free", "Cetaganda", "Mirror Dance" and "A Civil Campaign" all feature with varying degrees of prominence in the story. While one could take the novel on it's own merits and probably enjoy it very much, it is much more effective when taken within previously established history.
While not her singularly finest Vorkosigan book to date, it is nonetheless quite good and is certainly better than the majority of science fiction available today and ranks in quality with most of the rest of her series.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on June 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Diplomatic Immunity is the latest book in the Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series. Lois McMaster Bujold has created, in Miles, one of my favourite characters in the genre. All of the books she's written in this series have been very good, most of them great. I can't recall a clunker in the bunch. With Diplomatic Immunity, I'd say she's still on that streak, though it's not as good as the most recent books have been.

This is yet another winner, but it somehow felt less consequential then most of the Vorkosigan books. The previous books have almost been "event" books in Miles's life, while this one just seemed a bit ordinary. Sure, there is the birth of their children, but that mainly provides an impetus for Miles and Ekaterin to finish the problem as soon as possible, rather than being an event in itself. It's nice to see Miles again, but I guess we've been spoiled by the previous books into expecting even more. Perhaps that's not this book's fault, though.

The mystery itself is very intriguing. Bujold provides lots of twists and turns. Miles gets to use his vast intelligence to solve the problem and there's a bit of action. Bujold excels at creating characters, and that's definitely shown here. We already love Miles and Ekaterin, but the old friend of Miles who shows up is also wonderfully portrayed. Even the new people (mostly Quaddies) are well done. You can clearly see the frustration and desperation in the Quaddie security chief, Venn, as events spiral out of his control. There is not a false character in the bunch. The only minor annoyance is that there is no reason to make the Barrayaran Admiral a relation to Miles's cousin Ivan. Nothing is made of it and it just seems a bit too cute.
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