In a hurry to escape the price the Cetadangan's have set on Admiral Naismith's head, and an ever increasing bill for repairs to ship damages and payment to personnel, Miles decides to head to Earth for a little down time. After all, what harm could there possibly be in hiding out on this old, forgotten planet?
Well, for one, Earth has a Barrayaran embassy. And, lo and behold, Miles' handsome cousin Ivan just happens to be there. Miles reports into the chief of staff, Captain Galeni, who just happens to be from Komarr and whose family was butchered during the Komarr revolution. Walking on eggshells is something Miles was born to do, and he has ample opportunity to do just that.
Soon, there are complications. The promised payment from the Imperial headquarters does not arrive. Is it Galeni's fault or is something else going on.
On top of it all, Miles has fallen head over heals for Elli Quinn. She's one of the few who know the truth behind Naismith and Miles Vorkosigan. But Miles feels his grasp of his dual character is slipping, and even starts to see and feel like a double.
A bit of an unexpected twist in this story makes it feel like McMaster Bujold is reaching somewhat. Of course we'd all have liked a bit more of her view of what Earth has become, but there's precious little of that. Still, her writing is as skillful as ever, and the characterisation and dialogue, as always, are superb. A move forward in Miles' private life is long awaited and a welcome read.