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Reviews by Contributor: Bujold, Lois McMaster (18)

Just Another Ordinary Day

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

28 Sep, 2019

Special Requests

6 comments


Lois McMaster Bujold’s 2012 Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is an SF adventure. It’s set in her Vorkosiverse, but unlike most of the other novels, which focus on Cordelia Vorkosigan or her son Miles, it stars Miles’ cousin Ivan Xav Vorpatril — better known as Ivan, you idiot!” 

Ivan is widely viewed as a shallow, lazy womanizer. This is in large part a well-crafted mask. Ivan eschews any appearance of dedication or boldness. He is not viewed as a threat; as a consequence, he is still alive, an achievement many bold Vorkosiverse characters cannot claim. (Well his cousin Miles is bold and threatening; naturally, he died once. It’s just that Miles being Miles, he got better.) If Ivan has his way, he will have a long, unremarkable career followed by a long, unremarkable retirement. 

Ivan is not going to have his way. 


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Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Prisoner of Limnos  (Penric & Desdemona, book 6)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

21 Dec, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

1 comment

2017’s Prisoner of Limnos is the sixth novella in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric & Desdemona series. It follows directly on the events of Mira’s Last Dance, which in turn followed directly on the events of Penric’s Mission.

The sorcerer Penric successfully smuggled General Adelis Arisaydia and the general’s half-sister Nikys out of Cedonia to Orbas. Events occurring during this smuggle have upset Nikys, with whom Penric is smitten. Then letters from his superiors arrive, demanding Penric return from his foreign adventures. Penric does what any reasonable person would do in his place: hare off on a side-quest. 

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Be My Homeward Dove

Mira’s Last Dance  (Penric & Desdemona, book 5)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

16 Nov, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

0 comments

2017’s Mira’s Last Dance is the fifth instalment in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric & Desdemona series. The series takes place in the setting of Bujold’s Five Gods novels. 

In the previous book, Penric was badly injured in a duel with a Cedonian sorcerer. His symbiotic demon Desdemona was able to keep Penric alive, but Penric and his two human companions, former General Arisaydia and the general’s sister Nikys, have been forced to pause in their flight from Cedonia while Penric heals. 

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The Fox is on the Town

Penric’s Fox  (Penric & Desdemona, book 3)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

20 Oct, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

0 comments

2017’s Penric’s Fox is the fifth piece published and the third piece by internal chronology in Lois McMaster’s Penric & Desdemona series. The series is set in Bujold’s Five Gods setting. 

What should have been a quiet afternoon of fishing and amiable conversation takes an unexpected turn. Penric and his shaman companion Inglis are conscripted to assist an inquirer in a murder investigation. 

Murder is always a grave matter. This particular murder is even more disquieting: the dead person is Learned Magal, a sorcerer. 

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And Call It a Weasel

A Civil Campaign  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 10)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

21 Sep, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

7 comments

A Civil Campaign is almost certainly the 10th volume in the Miles Vorkosigan series, unless you’re one of those people who think that the Cordelia Naismith books are part of the series, in which case this book is the 12th. As far as I am concerned it’s the 10th. It’s reasonable to consider Cordelia’s adventures as prequel, right? Like Ethan of Athos, related but independent? 

I don’t know why I get requests at work not to overthink things. 

The affair of the Komarran mirror successfully concluded, Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan is back on Barrayar. With no immediate Imperial business demanding his attention, Miles is free to invest all of his intellect and energy on one goal: winning the heart of the recently widowed Ekaterin Vorsoisson. 

He has a cunning plan. 

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I’ve Just Seen a Face

Komarr  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 9)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

17 Aug, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

16 comments

1998’s Komarr is the ninth volume in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series. 

Barrayaran-conquered Komarr depends on its soletta array, which concentrates the feeble output of its sun, for marginal habitability and slowly progressing terraforming. When half the array is wrecked by a colliding spacecraft, it’s up to Imperial Auditor Georg Vorthys to determine whether this was a tragic mishap or deliberate sabotage. 

Accompanying Vorthys is the most junior Imperial Auditor, Miles Vorkosigan. 

Ahoy! Spoilers ahead! 

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The Blackest Day

Memory  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 8)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

20 Jul, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

3 comments

Memory is the eighth1 book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series. 

Killed by an enemy grenade in a previous book, Miles turned out to be only mostly dead. After an extended recovery (and some complications) he returned to his role as Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii Mercenaries. But there were lingering health effects from his injuries. Simple prudence should have kept Miles off battlefields. It didn’t.

One day Miles wakes from a seizure to discover that he had inadvertently lopped off the legs of the man his team was trying to rescue. Unwilling to admit to error or damaged health, Miles compounds his error by writing a false report on the incident and sending it to his boss, spymaster and ImpSec Chief Simon Illyan. 

The consequences are immediate and dire. 

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Fools To Make War

Brothers in Arms  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 4)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

15 Jun, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

6 comments

1989’s Brothers in Arms is the fourth book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. 

Admiral Miles Naismith’s Dendarii Mercenaries have a secret advantage; they are subsidized by the planet Barrayar. Naismith is also Miles Vorkosigan, son of Barrayar’s Lord Regent. 

Miles and the Dendarii put in at Earth to collect desperately needed funds. The funds should be waiting for them. They are not. 

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A Life of Danger

Ethan of Athos

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

18 May, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

14 comments

1986’s Ethan of Athos is a standalone SF novel, set in the same universe and time as the Cordelia and Miles Vorkosigan novels. Ethan shares one character with the Miles books, but is otherwise independent. 

Settled by misogynist religious fanatics centuries earlier, Athos is an isolationist world populated entirely by men. Happily for the he-man woman-haters of Athos, reproductive technology in the form of uterine replicators has allowed Athosians to perpetuate themselves. 

Permitted, past-tense. 

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Just Another Manic Monday

The Vor Game  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 2)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

19 Apr, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

8 comments

1990’s The Vor Game is the second of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan novels.

Four years after the events of The Warrior’s Apprentice, Miles graduates from the Academy. Given his personal history and family connections, one might expect him to be given some cushy assignment. Instead he is dispatched to serve as weatherman on Kyril Island, whose isolation is matched only by the region’s unfitness for human habitation. 

Still, how much trouble could one fresh graduate get into a place so sparsely peopled as Kyril Island?

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