Lois McMaster Bujold
Brothers in Arms (1989)
Reviewed: 1999-06-03

This novel continues the exploits of then 24-year old Miles Vorkosigan shortly after "The Borders of Infinity". Pursued first by Cetagandan warships, later by hitmen eager to collect the price put on the head of Miles's Admiral Naismith persona, the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet has limped to old Earth for rest and repairs. Having reported at the Barrayaran embassy, Miles quickly finds himself in a tumultuous situation so typical for him: He must juggle his conflicting identities and duties as Lieutenant Vorkosigan and Admiral Naismith; straighten out his relationship with the adorable Elli Quinn; raise the money required to keep his fleet in operation; deal with his new superior in the Barrayaran chain of command, the inscrutable Captain Galeni, and the latter's unclear relation to expatriate Komarran rebels.

Miles goes shopping, plays escort for the ambassador's guests, continues his habitual mode of insubordination, dodges assassination attempts, takes a stance for his troops, undertakes some creative fund raising, concocts a crazy cover story to cloak his multiple identities, and runs headlong into a deadly plot aimed against the Barrayaran Empire but involving him in a very personal way.

So, it's a book typical for the series. Well plotted, well told, with fleshed-out, lovable characters, slyly humorous. By comparison, Miles is more introspective in this volume, more vulnerable in other than physical ways. There is an increased concern about his personal life. Fragments of his past are catching up with him, haunting him with nightmares. The schizophrenic conflict Naismith/Vorkosigan threatens to tear him apart. Then there is the matter of him and sweet, sweet Elli, the current love in his life. Finally, Miles must cope with a newfound sibling, a discovery that perturbs him profoundly.

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