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
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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.
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--This text refers to the