A thriller in a high tech sci-fi world.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this story, Miles and the Free Dendarii mercenaries reach Earth on the run from Cetagandans bent on getting revenge for the mass prison break Miles engineered in Borders of Infinity. Miles is assigned to a junior position in the Barrayaran Embassy on Earth, where he finds himself making frequent quick changes between his two personnae of Lord Vorkosigan and Admiral Naismith. His intended vacation on Earth quickly turns into chaos, racing against enemies who are plotting against both Naismith and Vorkosigan.
The action has a wild pace, fueled by numerous plot twists. The complaint of one reviewer that the story relies on some implausible coincidences is justified, but I don't think most readers will be very troubled. What puts Bujold above almost all other writers of SF adventure is that her stories are grounded in strongly realized characters. The plots are planned out very carefully - in rereading this novel, I spotted numerous points where Bujold is foreshadowing not only events a few chapters later, but also events in the sequels. The result is a completely enjoyable read that is also substantive.
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.
This book was written relatively early in Bujold's career, and it is far from being her best book. I have only read this one once. I view it as dark comedy, as I really cannot take the amazing coinsidences which occur in this book too seriously.
The immediate sequel to this book, Mirror Dance, is astounding, so I'm glad this book was written.
This just isn't one of Bujold's masterpieces.
After the daring rescue from the prison camp in Borders of Infinity, Miles (in his Admiral Naismith guise) and his mercenary fleet run to Earth after being chased by Cetagandan assasination squads. Naismith now has a price on his head, and he's trying to lie low. What better place than a backwater like Earth? And what better way to do it than to become his "real" persona again, Miles Vorkosigan, thus making Admiral Naismith disappear for awhile? Unfortunately for him, that's easier said than done, as one event keeps building on another, until he's knee deep in it all again.
This is another great entry in the series, as Miles once again gets to show his quick thinking, and how that quick thinking sometimes leads to even worse problems. Most of the time, Miles is like one of those guys who balances the spinning plates, frantically running from pole to pole to keep the plates spinning before they fall off and break. Watching him do this is half the fun of the series.
The characters really make this book, though. Some of the situations are extremely contrived (I'm not sure I buy Miles' reasoning for why he came up with a story that just happens to have been true), but you care about the characters involved and you want to see how they get out of the situation. There is some character progression for Miles and Elli Quinn that was long needed. The book also introduces a couple of new characters who are interesting as well.
The great thing about this book, as in Warrior's Apprentice, is that there's an underlying sense of tragedy in the novel, but it's offset by a very humorous tone.Read more ›