The Flowers of Vashnoi

Strong female characters have always been one of the attractions of this award-winning sci-fi series. One of the most intriguing of them comes to the fore in this charming Vorkosigan Saga novella.

Well into his thirties, Lord Miles Vorkosigan fell in love off-planet with the wife of a corrupt and feckless Barrayaran consular official after conveniently (if accidentally) killing the man. Following months of pursuing her, he finally talked her into marriage. It wasn’t easy. Ekaterin Vorsoisson, an accomplished botanist and fiercely protective mother of a pre-teen son, proved a challenge even for the world-beating little Admiral.

Now, in The Flowers of Vashnoi, Miles and Ekaterin have been married amid all the expected pomp and splendor on Barrayar for at least a couple of years. The proof lies in their twin toddlers, Sasha and Helen, who are just as clever and adventurous as we might expect from the offspring of the “little admiral” of the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet. And their mother, never a pushover, has staked out a place for herself as the grownup in the family. In Lois McMaster Bujold‘s delightful Vorkosigan Saga novella, Lady Ekaterin now proves her mettle in a dangerous encounter amid the radioactive wastes of the Exclusion Zone on the immense Vorkosigan estate.

The Flowers of Vashnoi (Vorkosigan Saga #14.1) by Lois McMaster Bujold (2018) 73 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)

A Vorkosigan Saga novella featuring Lady Ekaterin Vorkosigan

Eighty years ago, Barrayar’s Time of Isolation drew to a close when the Barrayaran military under the command of Miles’s grandfather, the celebrated General Lord Pierre Vorkosigan, drove the invaders of the Cetagandan Empire off-planet. But the protracted war left behind large swaths of radioactive territory. One of those, an immense area surrounding the site of the former Vorkosigan capital, Vorkosigan Vashnoi, now lies in ruins behind warning signs to keep out the unwary from the slow death of radiation poisoning. However, as Ekaterin discovers to her horror, some still live in the forbidden territory. And her encounter with one family there presents her with a unique challenge—a challenge that will threaten her life.

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