Book Reviews 2006 (16)

One book up on deck to talk about right now, A Civil Campaign by Lois M Bujold.


A Civil Campaignby Lois M Bujold.
Along with his love of Pratchett, my friend Scott Olson is a big fan of local writer Lois M Bujold. I’ve read novels of her long before moving to Minnesota, of course, but it has been his influence among others (the crew at Galactic Renaissance) which has gotten me to add her novels to my reading queue more often.
A Civil Campaign, the penultimate Miles Vorkosigan novel that she’s written, is basically a Regency Romance set on Barrayar. She even dedicates the book in the beginning to the Bronte sisters, Dorothy Sayers and Georgette Heyer.
Miles is in love, and with typical Miles-ness, has a cunning plan to win the heart of the widow Vorvoisson. His clone/brother Mark has a cunning plan to win the heart, once and for all, of his love Kareen Kouldelka. Ivan Vorpatril, Miles’ buddy, has a cunning plan to, well, find love somewhere.
And then there are the butter bugs, schemes for succession to the rank of Count and more. The novel is subtitled a comedy of biology and manners, and it is that, and much more. Like most of the Miles books, the characters come first, and the neat-o-keen SF geekiness is secondary. Disastrous dinner parties, bugs on the loose, miscommunications, women’s rights, and more are made into a flavorful stew. If not for the fact that to really appreciate the characters, from Aral and Cordelia to Miles himself, you really need to read earlier novels in the series, I’d recommend this book to non SF readers as well as fans of the genre, since the book, at its core, is about the characters and cares about them through their successes and defeats.
If you are a Bujold fan, you probably have read this book already and likely loved it, and if you aren’t, you probably don’t really want to start here to appreciate it in full.