Thursday, January 28, 2016

ARC Review: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Series: Vorkosigan Saga (Book 17)
Publication: Baen (February 2, 2016)

Description: Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career.

Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother.

Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects, neither is the past.

My Thoughts: The seventeenth Vorkosigan Saga focuses on Cordelia and Sergyar. Three years have passed since Aral's death and the first immense grief is finally abating. Cordelia comes back to Sergyar from Barrayar carrying genetic material that she and Aral had stored many years before. It is her goal to stop being Vicereine and become a parent again - a parent of daughters. She believes that it is time to rewrite her life.

Admiral Oliver Jole is also going to have his life rewritten. For more than twenty years, he, Aral and Cordelia have been in a discrete - very discrete - relationship. When Cordelia offers him the chance at children using Aral's genetic materials, he needs to re-evaluate his life and plans too. Starting to date Cordelia also impacts his choices.

When Cordelia informs Gregor, Miles, Mark, Simon and Alys about her plans, Miles dispatches himself along with his wife and six children to Sergyar to find out what is going on. Meanwhile, both Jole and Cordelia are very busy in their roles as Admiral of the Sergyar Fleet and Vicereine as they are trying to co-ordinate the growth and development of the planet and the relocation of the planetary capital. There are constant demands on their time and attention that makes it difficult for them to have any sort of relationship, even a discrete one.

There aren't big political problems in this story; the Cetagandans seem focused elsewhere. The problems are internal to Jole and Cordelia. The book talks a lot about the life-changing and awesome responsibility of becoming a parent. Cordelia had always wanted more children but, because of Miles's physical limitations and Barrayaran politics, she and Aral never felt the time was right to have them. Now, she has the opportunity to finally make that goal a reality. Jole had never really given children a thought. He being too Barrayaran to have seen the possibilities inherent in the uterine replicator technology and being unaware of the existence of the stored genetic material. The thought of children is more life-altering for him than for Cordelia.

I loved all the references to other events that took place in earlier books in this series. I loved the chance to see Miles and his family again. I have always admired Cordelia's character and was so happy to have another book that starred her. I liked the way the author managed to insert something new - a long-standing relationship with Oliver Jole - into the saga.

Fans of the series won't want to miss this story which is filled with Bujold's masterful prose, subtle humor, and vivid characterizations. But new readers won't feel lost. This story is compelling on its own and explores some very interesting questions about science and the possibilities it offers.

Favorite Quote:
She swiped her hands through her hair. "What part of 'Let's not site the planetary capital next to an active volcano' do they find hard? This place should be a nature reserve. All right, maybe a historical park, later on. But then when that damned mountain next goes off it'll only take out dozens or hundreds of people, not millions."
I bought this eARC. You can buy your copy of the finished book here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!