Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Miles, Mutants and Microbes; Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles, Mutants and Microbes is one of the omnibus editions Ms. Bujold and her publishers have been putting out over the last few years. Baen published it August 2007. Images found on Fantastic Fiction.It contains the following three novels: Falling Free, Labyrinth and Diplomatic Immunity. I came to the Vorkosigan saga late in the game, so the omnibuses help me catch up quickly. Not only that, our local library carries them all, so learning to love Miles has been easy on my pocketbook too. Bonus!

People read about Miles Vorkosigan one of two ways: publishing order or by internal series timeline. Since I’m a simpleminded woman I read them in chronological order. The volumes in MMaM are not in chronological order and I borrowed it to read Diplomatic Immunity. I’ve read several Miles books this month but these opinions will not be posted by the internal series order, so you may prefer to skip this review until I get the others done. Hopefully by next week. If I’m organized enough.

Diplomatic Immunity then, is a mystery wrapped in Miles and Ekaterin’s honeymoon. At the tail end of their weeks long exotic honeymoon Emperor Gregor sends a message to Miles. There has been a murder and (supposedly) unlawful detention of members of Gregor’s forces on Graf Station in the Union of Free Habitats, which is colloquially known as Quaddiespace. Unfortunately Gregor was sent several different versions of what happened. To get to the bottom of the mess, Gregor sends Miles and Ekaterin since they’re closest.

Once on Graf Station Miles is reunited with Bel Thorne. Bel is a Betan hermaphrodite who followed his Quaddie lover out to her home world and then built a life there with her. That Bel also had a crush on Miles complicates matters a bit. Genetics, political sabotage, kidnapping, enemies turned friends, and biological weapons add not a little spice to the mix. Of course, having Ekaterina around both helps and hinders Miles. I was refreshed by Ekaterin’s calm and accepting attitude and her ability to both get Miles to do what she wants and to help the investigation along in ways Miles likely didn’t expect.

Excellent book. Will stand on its own, but the reader will miss the significance of some interactions. Links to author's page referencing the Vorkosigan books is in the title above.

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