Diplomatic Immunity: The honeymoon is over

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDiplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster BujoldDiplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

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.

The Vorkosigan Saga — (1986- ) Omnibus and audio versions are available. The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and short stories set in a common fictional universe. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including five Hugo award wins including one for Best Series. The point of view characters include women (Cordelia in Shards of Honor and Barrayar; Ekaterin in Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and The Flowers of Vashnoi), a gay man (Ethan of Athos), a pair of brothers, one of whom is physically handicapped and the other a clone (Miles and Mark Vorkosigan), and their cousin (Ivan Vorpatril), together with some minor characters (e.g., Miles’ bodyguard Roic and the runaway lad Jin). The various forms of society and government Bujold presents often reflect contemporary politics. In many novels, there is a contrast between the technology-rich egalitarian Beta Colony (or more generally, galactic society) and the heroic, militaristic, hierarchical society of Barrayar, where personal relationships must ensure societal continuity. Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of most of the series, is the son of a Betan mother and a Barrayaran aristocrat. Below we present the author’s preferred reading order which is in order of plot chronology, not publication.

Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan Falling Free, The Borders of Infinity, Brothers in ArmsShards of HonorBarrayar by Lois McMaster BujoldThe Warrior's Apprentice 30th Anniversary Edition (Vorkosigan Saga) Paperback – Deluxe Edition, May 3, 2016 by Lois McMaster Bujold (Author)The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster BujoldScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignLois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan Saga 1. Shards of Honor 2. Barrayar 3. The Warrior's Apprentice 4. Ethan of AthosBorders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga) Paperback – January 3, 2017 by Lois McMaster Bujold (Author)Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan Falling Free, The Borders of Infinity, Brothers in ArmsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaignfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaignfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaign, CryoburnThe Flowers of Vashnoi: Vorkosigan Saga Kindle Edition by Lois McMaster Bujold  (Author)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE VORKOSIGAN STORIES.


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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One comment

  1. Allan /

    can not help but think of lethal weapon 2 when i saw this title…. diplomatic immunity! (South African accent)

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