Lois McMaster Bujold, Author Baen Books $22 (320p) ISBN 978-0-671-87877-1
Rendered unfit for military service by incurable seizures resulting from his having died, been cryofrozen and then revived, Miles Vorkosigan has managed to land on his feet once again, this time as an Imperial Auditor handling top-secret investigations of the most difficult and vital sort. When a gigantic solar-powered satellite necessary to the terraforming of the planet Komarr is damaged in a collision with an ore freighter, Miles and another Auditor are sent to determine whether the collision was an accident or sabotage. Conquered within living memory by the Barrayaran Empire, which Miles represents, Komarr has a history of rebellion. Worse, Miles's father, Lord Vorkosigan, who put down the last revolt, is hated by many Komarran patriots. Miles eventually uncovers what is apparently a straightforward scheme involving bribery in high places, but a darker and more dangerous plot is brewing below the surface, one that could destroy the Empire. In addition, he falls in love with the unhappily married wife of the government official who is his host. As usual, Bujold (Memory) tells a fast-moving story that combines just the right amount of action and wit as Miles continues to mature in a manner unusually complex for a series protagonist. Breaking new ground, Bujold tells much of her story from the viewpoint of Ekaterin Vorsoisson, the woman Miles falls in love with, and the portrait that emerges of a good woman stuck in a loveless marriage is both believable and intensely painful. Bujold continues to grow as a writer, and her work remains among the most enjoyable and rewarding in contemporary SF. (June) FYI: Memory, the immediate prequel to Komarr, was named one of PW's best books of the year and was a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
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