Lois McMaster Bujold has won numerous awards for her long-running Vorkosigan Saga. Given the light touch of her writing, the series might well be renamed Miles Vorkosigan’s Excellent Adventures in the Galaxy. In the eighth book in the series, Brothers in Arms, the brilliant dwarf manages to insert himself into a series of life-threatening situations once again. Even more important, and far more unusual, Miles gets laid at last. This off-beat interstellar adventure story is charming to a fault.
For some time now, Miles has secretly lived two lives. In one, he is Lord (now Lieutenant) Miles Vorkosigan, the only child of Admiral Lord Aral Vorkosigan, hero of a war with the Cetagandan Empire and now prime minister of the Barrayan Empire. Inhabiting his other identity, he is Admiral Miles Naismith, the military genius who heads up the 5,000-strong Dendarii Mercenaries. Miles’ private space navy secretly is under contract with Barrayar‘s feared Imperial Security. The Dendarii are sent on missions where the involvement of Barrayar must be concealed.
Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga #8) by Lois McMaster Bujold (2011) 338 pages ★★★★☆
An interstellar adventure story as good as anything else written
In Brothers in Arms, the Dendarii have arrived in Earth orbit for medical attention and repairs in the wake of a successful military operation against the Cetagandan Empire. There is now a price on Miles’ head in his guise as Admiral Naismith, and Cetagandan assassins are surely pursuing him. His plan is to arrange for payment from Imperial Security, grant home leave to his troops, see the sights, and squeeze in a little R-and-R on Earth. Earth, with its nine billion people, remains the most populous of the many worlds inhabited by humans throughout the galaxy. (There are no sapient aliens, bug-eyed monsters or not, in the Vorkosigan Saga.) The home planet is highly advanced technologically, on a par with Beta Colony, home of Miles’ mother. And the planet is crammed with historical sights, such as Lake Los Angeles and the seawall protecting New York City.
Naturally, circumstances conspire to deflect Miles from his plan. After arriving on Earth, he becomes embroiled in a series of ever-more-perilous adventures involving his superior officer at the Barrayaran embassy—he is, after all, a mere lieutenant in the navy—and a large assortment of bad guys, including die-hard rebels from a planet Barrayar liberated from the Cetagandan Empire and heavily-armed troops from Cetaganda. And, yes, Miles falls in love once again, but this time his feelings are reciprocated. Can marriage be long in the future? Read the book to find out . . .
For related reading
You’ll find all the books in the Vorkosigan Saga at The pleasures of reading the complete Vorkosigan Saga.
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