Will suggested I read the books in this series in order so that I donít spoil them by knowing too much ahead of time and I would agree that is the way to go. You have to have all the background so that you can FINALLY get to the best book in the series and actually get all the jokes Bujold throws at you in such short a time. And while you are at it, you might want to brush up on Jane Austen and Bronte and the others she lists in her dedication because they all show up in the book one way or the other. So do Hamlet and Rumpole but you don¬ít really need to know them as well.
The plot is fairly simple. Miles falls in love and, being Miles, sets about courting with the same tactics he used to take over planets and conduct covert ops for ImpSec. Unfortunately, he forgets to include his lady love in on the mission plan. Also unfortunately, his brother, Lord Mark, has been undergoing therapy on Beta colony for his, um, "issues" and met up with the brainy, chesty daughter of Miles' mother's former female bodyguard. And Lord Mark comes home with a scheme to make money on Barrayar using genetically altered bugs that make something like tofu in their guts, setting up shop in the basement of Vorkosignan House. Oh yes, and Emperor Gregor is getting married and the entire city of Vorbarra Sultana is preparing for the social and political event of the season, including poor Ivan who is assigned to run errands for his mother, Lady Alys, who is in charge of the entire wedding and tired of her son running after anything in skirts and not settling down to provide her with grandchildren. And that's the simple version of the plot. I left out all the sub plots, including the sex change operation of Lady Donna to get herself a Vor Countship and dear Pym, playing straight man in the whole mess.
If you are a Miles fan and haven't read this one, buzz thru the books before so you can read this one. Go back and reread the others later for themselves. It's worth it just to read the scene where Miles throws a dinner party. Honest!Posted by Deb English at October 5, 2002 08:38 PM