Review: A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Published by: Baen
ISBN: 0671578855
ISBN 13: 9780671578855
Published: 1999
Pages: 544
Format reviewed: ePub
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: Reading Challenge: Vorkosigan Saga Project

We meet Miles again soon after we left him after Komarr, where he first met Ekatarin. They’re back in Barrayar and the countdown is on for Gregor’s marriage to Laisa which means everyone is coming in for the big event. Mark returns after some time with his grandmother on the free-thinking Beta Colony along with Kareen and neither of them are overly happy to be back on the judgey Barrayar. Their parents Aral and Cordelia are on their way back, and their night of return is about as ill-timed as possible.

But before all that, Miles is helping Ekatarin and Nikki settle in. He offers her a slice of the Vorkosigan grounds to create a public garden for everyone to enjoy and Nikki has free reign of the household and the nearby kids (mostly that of the staff) to play with. This, of course, doesn’t mean that he has a monopoly on her interests. Despite her mourning attire and the fact she tries her best to brush off any attempts at holding her interest, several other men arrive on her doorstep to try to charm her away. Barrayar has had far too many years of seeking only men for their progeny and now of course, the field for appropriate wives as at an all time low.

Meanwhile, Mark and Kareen along with the bizarre Enrique have brought a business venture to Barrayar that involves some kind of bug that it nutritious and not appalling to eat… it just looks gross. Personally I pictured an crunchier version of a witchetty grub (found in central Australia, which, incidentally tastes like a kind of nutty chicken if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, I confess it’s probably been 15+ years since I’ve had any) anyway, with this venture, Ekaterin again, comes in handy.

Basically, anything and everything that is thrown at her only shows time and time again just how suited she is to the role of Lady Vorkosigan in ways Elli never wanted to. Other than the way she quite rightly storms off when it turns out that Miles asked her to create the garden so they could have an excuse to stay close together first, rather than firstly appreciating her abilities.

We see Miles’ parents elegantly handle the troubles that plague both their sons, Gregor continue to be surprisingly elegant, level headed, caring and intelligent, and a reveal of the lovely Ivan that had me clapping.

Overall, highly enjoyable. Even if at one point I had to put the book down thanks to such a high feeling of fremdschämen I really thought there was no possible way I could read on.

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