Lois McMaster Bujold
Komarr (1998)
Reviewed: 2002-02-03

Reviewing new books in Bujold's Vorkosigan series has become a challenge. I'm starting to feel I have already written everything there is to say on the occasion of previous volumes. These books are a great pleasure to read, individual stories blurring together into one vast tale that keeps going and going, presenting more and more of the same, strangely without ever becoming repetitious.

Recently appointed Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan and his older colleague Lord Vorthys travel to the Barrayaran possession Komarr, conquered a generation ago, to investigate the crash of an ore freighter into the orbital mirror vital to the ongoing terraforming of the planet. A mere accident? Or a sinister terrorist attack? The mystery will unravel only slowly. Outside the sleuthing, much of Miles's attention is taken up by Ekaterin Vorsoisson, Vorthys niece and their hostess for the stay.

The narration switches back and forth between the vantage points of Ekaterin and Miles. Bujold has masterfully crafted the plot to naturally flow with this narrative. She also seems to have acquired a new dictionary, prompting me to reach more often for mine. Dialogue and prose are stunning. The story is a light read, without sharp twists or bends. Lives are at stake, some lives are lost, but Bujold has written far more emotionally demanding books. Okay, so the end is a maddening setup for sequels to come. Ekaterin's character undergoes a tremendous, but entirely credible transformation throughout the course of the novel. Another great achievement by the author, unfairly blunted by seeming habitualness after Mirror Dance.

Plain good reading.

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