Lois McMaster Bujold
Memory (1996)
Reviewed: 2001-01-21

In the umpteenth Miles Vorkosigan novel, Miles finally manages a royal screw-up and has to bear the consequences. With his personal situation in turmoil, he must investigate the unexpected mental breakdown of his old friend, mentor, and superior Simon Illyan, chief of the Barrayaran Imperial secret service. Much of the plot hinges on unexpected turns, so giving away further details would run the risk of spoiling an excellent story.

In part, Memory is a detective novel, with exquisite plot and pacing. For readers of the series probably more important is the ongoing development of Miles and his Barrayaran backdrop. Bujold introduces us to the powerful Imperial Auditors, who are important enough that we should have heard of them before, but of course we didn't since the author hadn't yet invented them. And just as the aristocratic Vor class aren't anymore the accountants they started out as, so the Imperial Auditors aren't the kind of bureaucrats their name would suggest.

Miles turns thirty, has to face substantial changes in his life, must find new personal goals, and discovers a lot about himself, including, eventually, his identity. The book deals a lot with memories, and the author links in many characters and events from previous stories. As usual, Bujold is impressive.

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