a couple of years ago

Babies occupy center stage in the 13th book of the amazing Vorkosigan Saga

Diplomatic Immunity is the 13th book in the amazing Vorkosigan Saga.

There is something magical about the amazing Vorkosigan Saga. Somehow, after a dozen other novels in the series as well as numerous novellas and short stories, Lois McMaster Bujold has managed to make the thirteenth Vorkosigan novel as engaging and enjoyable as the first. (It’s no wonder she has won as many Hugo Awards as Robert A. Heinlein.) And this time babies occupy center stage.

Babies occupy center stage in Diplomatic Immunity

Miles Vorkosigan is now well into his thirties in Diplomatic Immunity. He’s married at last to Ekaterin Vorsoisson, whom he met two novels ago on the planet Komarr. They’re expecting twins—but Ekaterin isn’t pregnant. Instead, doctors have merged their sperm and egg. The two embryos, a boy and a girl, are gestating in uterine replicators, a now widely accepted technology.

Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga #13) by Lois McMaster Bujold (2011) 311 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)

In the amazing Vorkosigan saga, theEmperor calls on Miles to act the diplomat

The newly married couple is on their honeymoon when Miles receives an urgent message from Emperor Gregor. Miles is now an Imperial Auditor (the “Voice” of the Emperor), one of the most senior positions in the Empire. His assignment is to travel to a nearby space station where all hell has broken loose. The people who live on the station have impounded the ships and cargo of a large Barrayaran trade convoy. Unfortunately, soldiers who were escorting the fleet have caused a great deal of trouble on the station, and the residents are not happy.

Human beings genetically modified to live in free fall

In fact, once Miles arrives, he learns that the situation is even more complicated than it had been described. The Barrayaran admiral in charge of the escort has made a number of mistakes in dealing with the station’s managers. To complicate matters, the people who live there are quaddies, genetically modified human beings with a second pair of arms instead of legs. They were designed to live in zero gravity. And they have developed an antipathy toward “downsiders,” particularly the militaristic Barrayarans. (Quaddies first appeared in Bujold’s Nebula-Award-winning novel Falling Free, the first book in the amazing Vorkosigan Saga. That book was set some 200 years before Miles’s birth.)

Miles must head off war with the Empire’s powerful traditional enemy

What at first appears to be a tense standoff that Miles’s diplomatic skills might unravel soon turns into a deadly game. Misunderstanding and misdirection threaten to bring on war between the Barrayaran Empire and its traditional enemy, the Cetagandan Empire. In rushing desperately to head off the war Miles and those around him find themselves (again) in life-threatening circumstances. It will take every ounce of Miles’s resourcefulness to avoid a calamity.

For further reading

You’ll find all the books in the Vorkosigan Saga at The pleasures of reading the complete Vorkosigan Saga.

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