It's Monday, What are you reading is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.
This week continued (and almost finished) my Vorkosigan Saga re-read. It is very interesting reading these stories by Lois McMaster Bujold in sequence. She began writing them in 1986 and I first read them all shortly after publication.
This week I read the books the began the emphasis on the series on Miles Vorkosigan. Miles has had boat loads of medical treatments but he reaches age 17 with brittle bones, a hunched appearance and a total height of 4' 9". However, he is also charming, hyperactive and brilliant. He demonstrated all those character traits and developed a counter identity in The Warrior's Apprentice. These first three books emphasize the Naismith years.
The Vor Game begins when Miles graduates from the Imperial Service Academy and is assigned as weather officer at a winter training base. He is supposed to show that he can follow orders as well as give them. If he manages this, he will be assigned to space duty on a new ship that is under construction. Miles, however, runs afoul of his commander when his commander goes crazy and threatens some of his troops with death at the hands of some of the trainees. Miles is pulled back to headquarters and buried in ImpSec. Even though it wasn't on his list of career choices, he is transferred to ImpSec (Imperial Security). His first mission is to act as a distraction for another ImpSec officer as they try to find out what is heating things up in the Hegen Hub. Things rapidly get out of hand. Miles needs to reactivate Admiral Naismith, rescue Emperor Gregor who has run away from home and discovered that was a bad idea, and prevent another Cetagandan invasion. Miles is 20 years old.
Cetaganda is the next adventure for Lieutenant Lord Miles Vorkosigan as he is sent with his cousin Lieutenant Lord Ivan Vorpatril to represent Barrayar at the funeral of the Cetagandan Empress. What should be quiet and diplomatic quickly heats up when Miles becomes involved with the haut ladies genetic plans. Miles ends up with the key to the genetic database of all the haut. Seems the old Empress had a plan to decentralize the databases by sending copies to all 8 planets under the control of the planetary governors which would have the effect of creating chaos in the empire and likely another Cetagandan invasion of Barrayar. Miles needs to solve a murder and keep the Cetagandan empire from fragmenting.
Brothers in Arms has Miles back with his mercenary fleet as Admiral Naismith. He finds himself on Earth awaiting ship repairs and payment from Barrayar after a mission to free prisoners of war and restore them to their planet so that they can keep opposing begin taken over by Cetaganda. Cetagandans are pursuing him. On Earth he has the problem of keeping his two identities apart. It would be disastrous for Cetaganda to know that Admiral Naismith was also Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar. To add more complications, he also stumbles into a plot by Komarran terrorists to substitue a clone for him in order to start a new Komarran revolt and murder the Emperor of Barrayar. Miles is Betan enough to see the clone as his brother (and he knows his mother would expect him to take care of his little brother.)
Mirror Dance is primarily the clone brother's story. Lord Mark Vorkosigan impersonates Miles to get help from the Dendarii to rescue the clones raised for the brain transplant business on Jackson's Whole. Miles rides to the rescue (of both Mark and his Dendarii) and ends up killed and frozen in a cryo-chamber. The cryo-chamber is lost in the confusion of the withdrawal from Jackson's Whole. Mark ends up back on Barrayar in the course of the search for Miles. He gets to meet and get to know Aral and Cordelia. This is one of the most painful book I think I have ever read. Mark's quest for identity and his torture at the hands of a Jacksonian Baron are very uncomfortable.
Memory focuses back on Miles. He has undergone cryo-revival but was left with seizures as a souvenir. He lies about his medical condition because he knows that ImpSec would make him stop being Admiral Naismith if they knew. Miles doesn't feel that he can survive the loss of that portion of his identity. When his lies catch up with him, he is cashiered. He goes through a major depression and doesn't really come out of it until something goes wrong with Simon Illyan, his ImpSec boss and foster uncle, and only Lord Miles Vorkosigan has the clout to find out what. Gregor appoints him Imperial Auditor to investigate the problem with Illyan. To be successful Miles has to integrate his Admiral Naismith and Lord Miles Vorkosigan personalities into a whole new person. Miles needs to get to know himself at a level that has never visited before. Among other distractions, Miles manages to introduce Emperor Gregor to a woman he falls in love with. The only problem is that she is Komarran and another of Miles' friends was courting her first.
Komarr has Miles visit the planet of Komarr in his role as Imperial Auditor. He and another Imperial Auditor are investigating an accident with Komarr's solar mirror. They need to find out whether it was in fact an accident or sabotage or some new plot of Komarran rebels to try to gain independence from Barrayar. Komarr had been conquered for Barrayar by Miles' father after the Komarrans had let Cetaganda travel through on their way to conquer Barrayar. The current policy is for integration of Komarr and Barrayar but there are still rebels who want Komarran independence. Miles also meets the niece of the other Imperial Auditor and falls in love. She is very unhappily married to a man who has taken bribes from Komarrans. In the investigation, the husband dies leaving Ekaterin a penniless widow with a 9-year-old son.
A Civil Campaign has Miles and Ekaterin back on Barrayar. The Komarran incident has been classified ultra top secret. Ekaterin is trying to restart her life and is living with her aunt and uncle. Miles would like to court her but she is very marriage shy. So he decides to court her in secret. Only he tells everyone around him that that is his plan. He is deep in the plans for Emperor Gregor's wedding. He also has to wade through two issues in the Council of Counts. The first issue is that one count is in danger of losing his seat because it has been discovered that he is not the child of his grandfather but is 1/8 Cetagandan. The second disputed countship hinges on galactic technology when the deceased count's sister goes to Beta Colony and returns as the count's brother. The rival claimant attempts to bribe Miles and threatens to accuse him of murdering Ekaterin's husband to clear the way for his courtship.
In Diplomatic Immunity,