cover image The Flowers of Vashnoi

The Flowers of Vashnoi

Lois McMaster Bujold. Subterranean, $25 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59606-892-6

Bujold (The Prisoner of Limnos) expands her Hugo-winning Vorkosigan series with this enjoyable standalone novella, which begins with Lady Ekaterin Vorkosigan’s bioengineered radiation remediation bugs and ends with an unlikely rescue. Eighty years ago, the Cetagandans leveled the city of Vorkosigan Vashnoi with atomic bombs, rendering the entire area radioactive. Ekaterin and her scientist partner, Enrique Borgos, travel to a test plot in the region to check on the success of their insect-driven radiation abatement project, only to discover that over half of their creations have been stolen. Scanning from the air locates a homestead housing four individuals. All that is left is for Ekaterin to figure out how they have come to live in this irradiated place and persuade Ma Roga and her three suspicious children to leave Vashnoi for the medical treatments and opportunities of the outside world. Ekaterin proves to be as formidable, whip-smart, and compassionate as her husband, series protagonist Miles Vorkosigan. This savory vignette could serve as an introduction to the larger series and will be welcomed by Bujold’s many fans. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary. (Aug.)