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Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

(Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #16)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  7,945 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews
Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan returns to the planet that changed her destiny.


Three years after her famous husband's death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he'd never imagined, bringing him to an unexpe
ebook, Kobo, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Baen Books (first published February 1st 2016)
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Anne This is a book you will really like, I think. Age plays a big factor. It's a grown-up's book, not a teen book or a blow-em-up book. …moreThis is a book you will really like, I think. Age plays a big factor. It's a grown-up's book, not a teen book or a blow-em-up book. (less)
Brian Layman
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  7,945 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews

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Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I purchased the e-ARC from Baen two days ago and finished the book yesterday. Her statement on Facebook was that it was almost unmarketable, and difficult to categorize, and she thought about putting warnings out for her fans but then she thought her fans would just read it and then warn each other.

I can absolutely see where all that came from. Wow, but this is gonna be a polarizing book. I fall squarely on the side of oh my god is it astonishing and beautiful, and here's why. Spoilers avast ma
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi
A buddy read with Choko and Maria.

DNF. This is not going to be much of a review; this is my mourning for one of my favorite science fiction series ever. There will not be any witty comments here. There will not be any images. I will not touch any further books of it if they ever get written. Before I proceed I have to state that I think that people's sexuality is their own business and we are not to judge it. I am fine with whatever two consenting adults do in their own bedroom. I am perfectly f
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
The conclusion of the *somewhat uneven but overall excellent* Vorkosigan Saga. Review first posted on

**This review discusses a major revelation for readers of this series, disclosed in the first chapter of this book, as well as some spoilers for earlier books in the series.**

Three years after the sudden death of her husband Aral, Cordelia Vorkosigan is still the Vicereine (governor) of the colony planet Sergyar, and is still recovering from the grief of losing Aral. Co
Genia Lukin
Dec 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
Sometimes there's that one brilliant author who can break all the damn rules and get away with it.

Yeah. I'm talking about Lois Bujold.

I tried putting this novel into a mould to judge it by any other type of story and I just can't do it. Sure, I could just reduce it by saying it's a love story, but that's like saying the events of Aral and Cordelia's courtship is just an SF love story, and it's so much richer and deep and full of nostalgia than that. It's saying that Miles and Ekaterina was just
Sherwood Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book itself is well-written and there's a lot to like about it.


Fundamentally I don't buy it. In its revision of relationships, retconning, heavy use of flashbacks and reminiscing, and general lack of plot, it feels like an extended piece of fanfic.

(view spoiler)
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I never imagined giving 2 stars to a Vorkosigan book; I must have read every one of them at least 3 times and some of them a dozen or more. I even bought this ebook to read it before the actual paper book is published. But this book is very different, a total change of style from all the others and it feels lazy and lackluster. Fine, if Bujold wanted to explore Cordelia a bit more now all the Miles books are out of the way, great! I'm sure she has lots more story to tell. But this wasn't it.

May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*** 4.75 ***

A buddy read with Evgeny and Maria, because we need our dose of Vorkosigan!!!

Let me start by saying once again - I am to partial to this series to be able to separate my love for everything in it, thus rendering me incapable of an objective opinion. Thus I recognize that if there are weaknesses in any part of it, I am most likely going to overlook them, so be warned 🙂

This is the newest and hopefully not the last book in the Vorkosigan's Universe series and it is very different from
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, romance
Bujold is one of my few "read anything" authors, so it was a no brainer I'd pick up this one. And I don't regret doing so as the story was good and I love these characters. I have some problems with the story that I'll get to, but first I want to say how nice it was to be back with Cordelia—with the bonus of seeing Miles from her perspective. That was awesome. And revealing in every dimension.

I also enjoyed the plot, though I'm glad I read enough reviews to know that the story was laid back and
Althea Ann
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoy Bujold's writing style, and I love the whole Vorkosigan saga. Seriously, Bujold could probably write about her characters simply cooking dinner or going shopping and I'd happily read it. However, in most of her books, she excels at juggling the mundane details of daily life and relationships with planet-spanning high drama and life-or-death intrigue. In 'Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen' she dispenses with the action and writes a simpler, quieter story. It's still good, but I miss ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well that was disappointing…  No not the book, my reaction to the book.  I fell for it hook line and sinker.   This was in effect a science fiction romantic look at middle age.  My goodness, on its face, I should loathe this book.  The very notion of a book like this is anathema to my literary tastes.  In less skilled hands, this plot is a self-published muddle of "not for me".  But alas, this is Bujold!!  Never fear, this woman capable of great, compelling wonderful story telling. No one is mor ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a love story between people late in life in high-profile positions in Barrayar’s interstellar empire. At this twenty-year old colony on planet Sergyar, Cordelia, now in her 70s, is the “Vicereine” responsible for state department issues, and Oliver Jole, in his 50’s, is a fleet admiral in charge of military security of the sector, including key wormhole gates. She is in the process of maneuvering against much resistance a relocation of the planet’s capital to another continent, while his ...more
Alex Moore
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I can't believe I'm rating a Vorkisagan book this lowly. But quite frankly, this was a chore to finish.
First an admission, the romance in this book was not my cup of tea. It felt way too much like reading about my mom's-weird sex life, and like Ivan and Lady Alys the less I know the better. Which is a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed the romance in Shards of Honor, Civil Campaign and Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. The difference in those books, however, was that there was a lot more going on.

Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I don't think I expected Cordelia to tromp all over creation on a space ship (or maybe I did), but I sure didn't expect this little action. Maybe it's meant to be a more introspective book and all, but even as such it didn't work for me. Maybe if I were contemplating retirement or contemplating having more babies (really, I need more babies like I need a hole in my head) it would have worked? But I doubt it, with so little plot and so flimsy a construction (view spoiler) ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016

Before the whirlwind personality of Miles Vorkosigan came to dominate the series, readers were treated to a couple of novels of adventure and romance between his parents, Aral and Cordelia, who met on a wild planet called Sergyar while fighting for opposite forces in a small scale galactic war. In this year's installment we return to the planet Sergyar almost five decades later to find out how the colonizing efforts of the Barrayaran Empire fare under the tutelage of the now Vicereine Cordelia N
Maria Dimitrova
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So damned disappointing. I hope this isn't how she leaves the Vorkosigan saga.

It's not even good romance. It's finishing an excellent 10-course meal with a plastic foil packet of Jello.

Whoever encouraged her to publish this did her a disservice.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet smilefest for all wannabe parents and people who have recently lost a partner. Since I fit into both categories, I smiled A LOT.

Some of the more memorable moments:

~ Oh my ... a favorite series boldly goes where no man-and-woman have gone before. This will be exciting. (And, knowing the Barrayar mores, I hope hilarious too.)

~ Yes. Hilarious.

Admiral Jole goes to extract his genetic material the old-fashioned way:

I’ve been doing this since I was thirteen. It shouldn’t be hard. Which, in fac
Holly Heisey
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I just finished the Baen ARC of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is the 16th book in the Vorkosigan series, and is a very different sort of book than the rest.

It's a quiet book, an emotionally mature and socially complex love story between two people who have already lived through so much. It's a book about characters moving past grief, and what others expected of them, and finding themselves again in the new definition of who they are now.

I wasn't quite sure what
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan is at a turning point in her life. It's been three years since the death of her husband and she's ready to make some changes. One of those changes may well be with her relationship with the Admiral of the Sergyar Fleet, Oliver Jole and centering around a strange offer she makes him.

This is A Civil Campaign without the comedy and most of romantic fumbling. This is a tale of older, more sensible people with a shared grief and potential for the future. We often get the
Feb 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Most disappointing book of the year. Plotless wander with a minor character. Doesn't even rise to the standard of a harlequin romance. You not only knew the answer but there were no barriers in the way, no chemistry and no tension. It has all of the awkwardness and ick factor of discussing dating with your mother. It even has an outdated vocabulary my mother would use. Does anyone under the age of 70 say screw when talking about sex? There are some other weird asides like saying "Cordelia got up ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dull: even everyone's favourite spoiler made only for a "So what?" reaction. No story, no conflict, no anything.
Badly written: not that Bujold's style was exactly streamlined before, but at least in previous books she'd stopped short of overloading the text with obviousness.
Wish I hadn't read this.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
So, even this day has come. I'm one-starring a Vorkosigan Saga book. I didn't believe this was a world in which such a thing was even possible. But here it is, called Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. I would consider forgiving Bujold if this was just a random, badly written book in the, otherwise, perfect series. But Vorkosigan books gradually lost their charm some time ago (for me, A Civil Campaign was the last of the great ones which was actually ok by me. Everything important had been said a ...more
Coyora Dokusho
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am so happy!!!

I started reading the E-ARC last night (sample chapters on the Baen website) and then couldn't help plopping down the 15 bucks on it. We finally get another Cordelia book!!!

It was a gentle book, but entirely satisfying. There were LOADS of funny bits! Really it was wonderful. There was lots of wisdom tucked away in the pages, and it actually quite helped me with putting my relatively new relationship with my bioDad into context - which is great because I've been agonizing over i
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OH MY GOD. I just finished the eARC of this and it is now 4 AM and how the hell am I going to go to sleep after THAT?!?

Loved it. Adored it. Wanted it to never end. More coherent thoughts after some sleep and reflection.


A few days and a re-read later, my reactions are still overwhelmingly positive, though more nuanced and thought-out than my initial screams of joy. This book feels like coming home again, like meeting old friends and the pleasure in catching up and learning new things about t
Feb 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
If you like iddy wish fulfillment about post-menopausal women having lots and lots of babies with a hot younger guy, here is your book. Sadly, it's not actually my kink and there is no real plot to engage me with anything else, so I really couldn't care less for this book.

I'm just a little sad. Bujold's always been such an amazing author, enough that I think she could have sold me on Jole's history with Aral if she'd actually tried. I went in wanting to be sold on it, at least, because seriously
I love this series. This newest Vorkisogan entry is told from Cordelia's POV and takes place about 4 years after the sad sad losses incurred in CryoBurn. Bujold says, "It is not a war story. It is about grownups."

Hmmm. Grownups.

To me, the cover illustration portrays a double helix, one red, one blue. Are we mixing up some genes again? Is it romance, with old-fashioned conception? Cloning? Gene splicing? But wait! There's a green strand, too. Hello?
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse

Other books in the series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
  • The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
  • Ethan of Athos (Vorkosigan Saga, #3)
  • Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga, #4)
  • Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)
  • The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)
  • Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga, #9)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)

Articles featuring this book

Thirty years after the start of her epic Vorkosigan Saga, the science fiction master continues to develop her rich universe in Gentleman Jole and...
63 likes · 9 comments
“Everybody has it wrong way round. Parents don't make children--children make parents. They shape our behavior from the first wail. Mold us into what they need. It can be a pretty rough process, too” 11 likes
“When your young life offered its first disaster, naturally it loomed large. After you’d survived dozens, you basically just told the next one to take a number and get in line.” 9 likes
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