Monday, April 26, 2010

A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold

A Civil CampaignBujold's recent novel in the Miles Vorkosigan saga has just about everything a man could ask for: laugh-out-loud comedy, minor tragedy, high drama and low punning. If you haven't been keeping up with the Vorkosigan adventures, you better get with the program. I recommend this entire series highly. While they're not strictly science fiction in some senses - some are military fiction, spy novels or political intrigue - each and every one will provide hours of entertainment.

In A Civil Campaign, Miles has returned from his latest mission to Komarr as an Imperial Auditor with a major crush on a young Vor widow, Ekatarin Vorsoisson. His clone brother, Mark has returned home to Barrayar from his Betan studies for a while, with love affair problems of his own and a new business partner. And, in the immediate environs of Barrayar, Emperor Greg's wedding is rapidly approaching and the Council of Counts is filled with cutthroat political games.

In matters of war, Miles has known few masters, but in matters of love, he proves to be a little out of his depth. His best-laid plans to court the widow Vorsoisson go curiously awry, and there's a climactic dinner party scene which could have been written by James Thurber on one of his better days.

In some ways, this novel is like a big family reunion. All of the characters we've come to know and love are present. Aral and Cordelia, Simon Illyan, Ivan and Lady Alys, Emperor Greg, Kou and Drou, Mark and the Koudelka sisters, Armsman Pym (think of Jeeves with a pulse cannon)... and the list goes on.

I must confess, I broke one of my cardinal rules and bought this one in hardback, and it was definitely worth the price. Enjoy.

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