Waiting on Graf Station are diplomatic snarls, tangled loyalties, old friends, new enemies, racial tensions, lies and deceptions, mysterious disappearances, and a race with time for life against death in horrifying new forms. The downside of being a high-level troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back.
©2002 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"As usual, Bujold is adept at world-building and provides a witty, character-centered plot, full of exquisite grace notes....fans will be thoroughly gripped and likely to finish the book in a single sitting." (Publishers Weekly)
I have been follow the saga for a couple of years now - i have not actually read any of these books so cannot comment on the faithfulness of this audiobook, BUT I do have every audiobook of this series now and do eagerly anticipating each new release.
With this I am glad to say this is another smash hit - I so do feel for Miles' character and love the twists and turns as each mystery has to be solved. Again, there is the development of existing and new characters (in the form of Quaddies).
The narrator is Grover Gardner and this is the icing on the cake - would have to admit I am partial to Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki - and have actually picked books up with the narrator being a major fact as they carry you through the tale, adding emotion and a charm to each character.
By the way, if you did not know, the series order is:
"The Warrior's Apprentice"
"The Vor game"
"Borders of Infinity"
"Brothers in Arms"
"A Civil Campaign"
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
I love LMB's characters, not only in the Miles series but in her other work. They are deeply believable and engaging, and they develop in ways which connect us very strongly with their humanity.
That said, I have to admit that the Imperial Auditor Miles pleases me less than the breakneck, impossible odds fellow we all first came to love. Miles has so much more going for him now, that it is hard to imagine him falling. He is still improvising at the point of contact in imaginative and entertaining ways, but he is no longer flying without a net, and I do somewhat miss that quality in the series.
Nonetheless, this is wonderful writing and I can't wait for my next Vorkosigan download.
I will listen to this book over and over. It has such a great sense of humor and is a great continuing the Vorkosigan character with another non-stop adventure. Miles has grown up(sort of) The very idea of Miles as a father is presented with a light touch and without in any way changing the crazy, frantic pace, or general amusement the character has provided in the series.
Miles is a person who, although he has strong family connection and wealth, has many problems to overcome. He does so in many ways that are amusing and touch the heart of the reader. The author always seems to be able to expose the heart of her character in ways that matter and connect with the reader.
My favorite scene is where Miles figures out what is going on and then realizes that he won't be able to be the one to make it right. He has to depend on others to finish what he starts. He deals with his fears in a very well written manner.
This book could have been longer. At the end, I wanted more.
Miles Vorkosigan is a terrific character, and Ms. Bujold has kept his stories well-plotted and entertaining from 'Shards of Honor' right through 'Diplomatic Immunity'. Grover Gardner does a very good job of reading the tales.
I am so pleased that all the Miles Vorkosigan books are finally in audio format. Listening makes the stories fresh and new, and Gardner has captured Miles' quirky personality in the voice Miles has been given.
I have read (or listened to) the entire Vorkosigan series (so far), and I have yet to find one that I did not just love. The plot, pace and characters are outstanding, and I can't wait to see the next in the line. This book is just as good as the rest...I just wish there were more I could listen to/read!
Miles is a wonderful character full of vigor and vitality. In this book we are brought back in touch with Miles and his wife. He is once again set to save Barryar against a harsh galactic civilization. I am thrilled to see Miles work through a new mystery and see the romantic interactions he finds with his new wife. It is a wonderful turnabout to see the young Miles, become a man, a husband, and finally a father-to-be.
I have long enjoyed the writing style of Bujold. Her characters are well rounded, often unique, and their stories compelling. Miles is an unusual hero and in Diplomatic Immunity he has matured but not left the best of his old self behind. It's fun to watch him be challenged, stumble, have genius insights and deal with crazy situations. It's the greatest of success stories. It's great fun.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books.
In Diplomatic Immunity, Miles and Ekaterin are on the final leg of their interplanetary honeymoon and are anxious to return to Barrayar where their two full-term babies (one boy and one girl) are ready to be released from their uterine replicators. But, as usual, something happens to delay their return. In this case, it’s a diplomatic issue — a Komarran merchant ship with a Barrayaran military escort is being held up at Graf Station in Quaddiespace — and Emperor Gregor asks Miles to go straighten it out on his way home. When Miles gets there, he discovers that a Barrayan officer is missing and possibly murdered. His investigation eventually uncovers a conspiracy which could lead to bioterrorism and war.
Some of our favorite characters are missing from Diplomatic Immunity, but fans will be happy to get reacquainted with the gene-manipulating bubble-dwelling haut ladies of Cetaganda; Bel Thorne, the Betan hermaphrodite who Miles had to ask to resign from the Dendarii Mercenary Fleet at the end of Mirror Dance; and Nicol, the Quaddie musician we met in the short story “Labyrinth.” We learn a lot about the Quaddie culture in this novel.
Roic, the big buff armsman is also a main character here and we see him rapidly and gratefully developing into Miles’ right-hand man, a situation that he would never have foreseen after that embarrassing buttered underwear scene in A Civil Campaign. We also once again see Ekaterin as a cooly level-headed woman — something that Miles appreciates immensely. She is important to the resolution of the story in Diplomatic Immunity but, unfortunately, Bujold doesn’t show us some of those important scenes.
Compared to the earlier VORKOSIGAN books, Diplomatic Immunity, a mystery, is darker and more serious. The plot is slower and it lacks the situational comedy elements we’ve seen in previous books. I should think this is a good change since I complained (just a little) in my review of A Civil Campaign that Miles wasn’t acting his age. On the other hand, the comedy is a part of what makes these novels so entertaining and I missed it in Diplomatic Immunity.
This is a solid but not stunning VORKOSIGAN novel. Grover Gardner continues to excel with his narration of the audiobooks. I highly recommend this series in audio format.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
"In the image above the vid plate, the sperm writhed in elegant, sinuous curves. Its wriggling grew more energetic as the invisible grip of the medical micro-tractor grasped it and guided it to its target, the pearl-like egg: round, lustrous, rich with promise." As Louise McMaster Bujold's tenth (roughly) novel about Miles Vorkosigan opens, Miles is watching the vid "baby pictures" of his and Ekaterin's kids being conceived in uterine replicators back on Barrayar, while he and his wife are on the homeward leg of their galactic honeymoon. His eager anticipation of impending fatherhood is rudely disrupted when he's assigned a tricky job as Lord Auditor, Voice of the Barrayaran Emperor.
Miles must detour to Graf Station in Quaddiespace (a fervently democratic Union of Free Habitats founded by people genetically modified to suit zero-gee settings by having four arms and no legs) to use his diplomatic and detective chops and executive power to clean up a mess involving three different cultures with ignorant prejudices and conflicting agendas. And he has to hurry because the military arm of the rival Cetagandan Empire seems to be preparing to wage war on the Barrayaran Empire for some reason, and he wants to get back home in time for the decanting of his kids. This being a Miles Vorkosigan novel, soon enough Bujold is complicating Miles' job with vastly higher stakes, more rival cultures, deserters from his own empire, a former friend from his Dendarii Mercenary days, a large amount of unaccountable blood, a mysterious cargo of mammal fetuses, an assassination attempt, and a desperate bio-engineering renegade. That said, Bujold once again also arranges things for Miles so that he need not face a "to torture or not to torture" dilemma.
From the opening scene of the novel, Miles worries about his impending children and about himself relative to them, and the novel is very much about becoming a parent. For instance, the relative advantages and disadvantages of "body birth" vs. "uterine replicator birth" are discussed and dramatized, the future sf tech method being embraced by the characters and author for having "all of the excitement and none of the blood or pain or fear" of the traditional method. Ekaterin was fine with the "body birth" of her son Nikki from her previous marriage, but understands why Miles' mother insists on uterine replicator birth, because one of the devices saved Miles' life when he was a fetus when his parents were nearly assassinated with a military poison (which left him "stunted and brittle-boned").
Bujold works plenty of future sf tech into her space opera (without drowning it), including jump ships and wormholes, stun guns and plasma weapons, wrist coms and vid plates, "herms" like Bel Thorne and neuters like the ba servants of the Cetagandan elite, quaddies and a whole culture which is "one giant genetics experiment in producing the post-human race."
Bujold writes some typically witty lines:
Doctor: "We'll have to study if the parasites can be transmitted sexually."
Miles: "I don't like him [Corbeau] that much."
"I suspect the haut--and the ba--are not so post-human yet as to be beyond self-deception."
"A small, bleak grunt like man being hit with an arrow, or a realization, sounded in Miles' ear."
"I hate gravity."
The ever-professional Grover Gardener continues to be the only voice I can imagine reading a Miles Vorkosigan story.
One of the weak points of this novel is how underused Bujold leaves the level-headed Ekaterin. Although Miles gets her to accompany him on the mission because he values her judgment and likes to talk things over with her (i.e., vent), she basically goes shopping and plays the supportive helpmeet: "holding the fort" safely out of the action, reminding Miles to "unpack" (to explain himself when his sudden brilliant leaps of thought leave his interlocutors in the lurch), telling him not to get himself killed, permitting him to make "kissing motions" through vid screens, reining him in when he starts babbling, and carrying out his orders when he's unavailable.
I think the title of the novel is more clever than accurate. Although Diplomatic Immunity deals with actual and potential infection via bio-engineered micro parasites and bio-bombs, the novel depicts no immunity from such things and deals with detective, military, and police work at least as much with diplomacy, so on two levels the title and its pun break down.
Finally, I felt that this novel feels too much like Bujold on auto-pilot, that it has too much detective-thriller stuff going on and not enough diplomacy, that Miles feels a bit too far ahead of everyone else, and that there are fewer memorable lines than in her other books. Perhaps it's just that I prefer pre-marriage, pre-Auditor Miles (and readers new to Bujold's series should start with Warrior's Apprentice), because he was more of a mess back then, more, in Bel Thorne's words, of a "sawed-off little half-breed maniac" with the Dendarii Mercenaries. Anyway, I'll be hoping for Bujold to write a story in which Ekaterin plays a vital and interesting role at least the equal of Miles'.
"sad to leave the 'vorkosiverse'"
I've read each of the books in the series at least twice and have been treating myself every few months to listening to another audible book in the series.
It's hard to pin down why I like them so much. The plots are fun, Miles is irresistible and the secondary characters are interesting.
I long to know more of what happens next. How does Miles cope with twins? How does Ekaterin cope with Miles? I would love to hear more from Cordelia's or Ivan's perspectives.
That must be the mark of a good author; that she leaves you begging for more, but writes complex enough books that you can re-read what she has already produced and draw some more enjoyment from them.
For first-time readers I would say that although each book is stand alone I wouldn't recommend starting with this. You really would enjoy this better with the back story of the other books. Ideally go right back to the beginning and Shards of Honor.
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