**spoiler alert** It has been a minute since I have had the opportunity to read a new book from the Vorkosigan Saga. I must say, that while it was gre**spoiler alert** It has been a minute since I have had the opportunity to read a new book from the Vorkosigan Saga. I must say, that while it was great to enjoy another story from this wonderful world I was a little miffed by the placement in the time line. It seems like the end of the last story, Cryoburn, was just begging for a follow up. It had a very 70's Batman like ending and I was certainly waiting at the same Bat Time, and Same Bat Channel. But alas, I was here at the same bat time, and instead I got a flash back episode(sort of).
That being said, this was still a quality story around a few of our tertiary characters that were definitely in need of a little screen time. I have always loved Ivan Vorpatril(Ivan you idiot!) the lazy, womanizing cousin who always seems to get dragged into Miles' Shenanagins! He flies under the radar with a sense of humor and comes up big when needed. Very underrated Vor in my opinion.
And then there is Byerly, one character who I thought would never get any screen time and suddenly he is playing second fiddle in to the main character. Classic hard partying cynic who is always ready with a classic one liner or put down to keep you on your toes. Loved him in A Civil Campaign.
Between the two of them we have the makings of a great story, and as always Bujold introduces a new cast of charming characters to the scene. I find myself so involved with the story that when a new character mistreats my Favorite/Main Characters I get annoyed. Bujold keeps ya involved and reading to the very end to make sure the family comes out on top. I almost read this in one night, but stretched it to two in order to make it last. Great story, but it does feel like there is some wrapping up to the series a foot.
This has of course started me reading through the whole 15 book series yet again(made it to Ethan of Athos after a short interlude to read Pratchett's Snuff), and I will likely re-read the Chalion series as well. Gotta love the replay value of Bujold's books. Some of my faves! ...more
**spoiler alert** I just re-read this book on my most recent read through of the Vorkosigan series and I must say, I loved this book again.
I had a bi**spoiler alert** I just re-read this book on my most recent read through of the Vorkosigan series and I must say, I loved this book again.
I had a bit of trouble deciding whether to read this one first or Borders to Infinity, but in the end I chose to pick up this one first despite the flashbacks in Borders. I was not disappointed to be sure.
This story starts after the Dendarii have pulled of a spectacular victory with the rescue of prisoners of war and the starting of a resistance movement on occupied Dagoola IV. I love that this is a story that takes place off screen and am even more glad when it is retold in the next book. I just like the idea that Miles and company are still pushing the expectations of his superiors to the limits even when we are not able to read every single story. Changing worlds off screen, while we are treated to the most juicy stories on screen.
This one starts on a bit of a low as Miles and the Dendarii are beat up and looking for refuge. They come to Earth, which is now an out of the way world with little strategic significance, and are immediately met with suspicion by the head Impsec agent on site. As always Miles' daddy looms large and his accomplishments are shrouded in an eyes only file, so he looks like he is just another Vor lordling placed high up for a price. And to top everything off, this Impsec agent is a Komarran which makes everything infinitely more complicated.
So Miles falls in line, not wanting to push the issue and his temporary superior, Duv Galeni (Komarran impsec agent), tries his best to ignore him while waiting for his marching orders and pay. The first courier returns 10 days later on time but without new orders or the money owed the Dendarii. Another 10 days and Miles is given orders to stay on Earth for a time and still no money arrives for the poor unpaid Dendarii. Running low on funds the Mercenary accountant is forced to get creative! And Miles is at the mercy of the Barrayans on Earth who have no concept of his real worth.
In the beginning I hated Duv, I mean who was this guy to challenge Miles and why was he not more worried about the missing orders/money? I fully believed that he was the reason things were moving so slow and Miles was trapped on Earth. I gotta say the missing pay also hits you hard, especially when the Dendarii have pulled off such a daring mission.
During this time Miles is in the process of coming to grips with his feelings for Quinn. Originally having rebuffed her advances, he has now had time to develop a considerable crush. Having read Ethan of Athos we already know that Quinn is also carrying quite the torch, so we are left on the outside looking in trying to will these two out of their own ways and into a relationship that would be good for both of them.
Miles of course just shoots for the moon and asks her to marry him. Very Barrayaran of him, and so like his dad. Quinn rejects marriage but does get a girly friend out of the deal. At last, one thing has finally gone our heroes way. I'm glad Miles was able to find a lady, the way things worked out with Elena always stuck in my craw.
The missing pay and suspicious orders lead Miles to send his own trusted courier find out whats up with his first suspicion falling on the taciturn Duv. He is dismayed to find shortly after sending his courier that Duv has gone missing. During the investigation it is revealed that Duv's daddy was a Komarran terrorist and Duv has been trying to live down that fact his whole life. After seeing that Duv is not the guy stealing his cash Miles sends the Dendarii after the missing Captain.
After a time they are offered a contract to kidnap Miles Vorkosigan. Miles of course finds this amusing and attempts to try for the contract as Naismith. It is there that he is surprised and replaced by a clone of himself.
This part enrages me every time! I can't believe that my boy would fall to such a scheme and yet he always walks straight into the trap. What follows is a detention period where Miles is reunited with Duv, also a prisoner, and the plot is made clear. Duv's daddy has returned and is trying to use clone Miles to take Barrayar down a notch.
The incarceration has some hilarious bits, especially when we find out about Miles' incredible allergy to Fast Penta. Loved that scene. The clone is at first a easily unlikable character, like Duv who we are now reversing our opinion on. He is antagonistic to Miles and threatens harm to the Dendarii and Vorkosigan which is like a shot at your own family.
But after a while we get the picture that the real bad guy here is Duv's dad, who over the years of failed rebellions has become a bit unhinged. The more interactions we see, the more the clone looks like another sad victim in the mad mans schemes.
Miles of course figures out the terrorist plot and is then treated with kid gloves. Eventually his clone comes to meet him face to face. In the conversation Miles gets the upper hand and starts to place the seed of doubt that the clone is actually his brother Mark by Betan law and they should just go home together as family. It doesn't work right away, but the seed is planted.
The incarceration lasts a few days until Miles and Duv are seen as loose ends and just before being disposed of the Dendarii catch up, none the wiser that Miles has been in trouble. Things take another turn as Earth attempts to arrest clone Miles before he can leave to attempt the terrorist plot on Barrayar, as a result of an earlier incident with the Dendarii.
The whole thing ends with a show down, Mark, Galen, Duv and Miles. In the end Galen dies again, Mark is released into the wild with an credit chit and an open door to return as a Vorkosigan, and the Impsec agents are returned mostly unharmed.
Things at the beginning of this book that seemed so important are quickly forgotten by the end and when they are wrapped up the reader is left with an 'Oh yea, forgot I was so worked up about that earlier!' Everything revolved around the secret plot, the missing money, the strange orders, and even the taciturn Duv. At the finish all is resolved, the money is sorted and the Dendarii have new orders for a mission we will never hear another word about.
This was likely my third read through and I still found my self annoyed on Miles behalf, and then annoyed with Miles, Hating Duv and then liking Duv, Hating Mark and then understanding Mark. Always gotta love Ivan! Great story, and plenty of reread value. Love those Vorkosigans! ...more