cover image Winter’s Orbit

Winter’s Orbit

Everina Maxwell. Tor, $24.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-75883-5

The intricate royal protocol of The Crown intertwines with the adventure of Louis McMasters Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga series in Maxwell’s gorgeously plotted LGBTQ space opera debut. After Prince Taam of icy planet Iskan V dies, his wayward, charismatic cousin Prince Kiem is drafted into a political marriage to Taam’s flinchingly self-effacing widower, Thean Count Jainan. Through their marriage, Kiem and Jainan hope to salvage Iskan’s imperial treaty with Thea and satisfy a visiting galactic superpower that Iskan is stable enough to continue accessing the faster-than-light link network—and through it the wider universe. But when Taam’s death proves suspicious and secrets about his past come to light, Jainan and Kiem must navigate both their budding mutual attraction and the political minefield surrounding the treaties binding worlds. Maxwell’s plot elegantly combines clan politics, galactic power struggles, and marriage dynamics, though the delicate handling of abuse and trauma—enabled by Kiem’s un-self-conscious sweetness in his relationship with the skittish Jainan—gives way to heavy-handed melodrama in the story’s climax. Despite the soapy conclusion, this exciting adventure is sure to win Maxwell many fans. [em](Feb.) [/em]