Lois McMaster Bujold
Diplomatic Immunity (2002)
Reviewed: 2004-12-28

If you are new to the Vorkosigan series, start elsewhere. If you are already familiar with the series, I can skip the introduction. This time around, Miles and his wife Ekaterin are on a belated honeymoon trip when duty calls. Apparently a minor diplomatic dispute has arisen involving a Barrayaran trade fleet and the emperor reluctantly calls on Miles to straighten out the affair. And so the Vorkosigans divert to Quaddiespace, the habitats of a human species genetically engineered for living in free fall. Of course, with Miles in charge and freely stirring up the hornet's nest, the seemingly minor incident will inevitably develop into a full-blown interstellar crisis.

Structurally, Diplomatic Immunity is much simpler than the previous novels. It is a single-strand narrative, completely told from Miles's point of view. Initially it feels like an old-fashioned detective story, with plenty of crime scene investigation, but as the complications progress, the book turns into a gripping thriller. As yet another entry in the series, it remains rather unremarkable—a judgment that is not entirely unlike a compliment, given Bujold's splendid writing. Fans of the series will appreciate Miles meeting some old friends and the many references to earlier events. While it seems unlikely that this will be the last Vorkosigan novel, it does provide a closure of sorts to Miles's galactic adventuring.

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Christian "naddy" Weisgerber <naddy@mips.inka.de>