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A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Aug 2000


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reprint edition (1 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671578855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578855
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 933,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

If you relish costume adventure in an intergalactic society starring strong, convincing male and female characters, you'll adore the Vorkosigan Series. If you haven't met Miles Vorkosigan, whose brilliance, manic energy, and unstoppable determination make him a larger-than-life hero despite his dwarfish stature, pick up Komarr and A Civil Campaign. Read them, and then go back and catch the previous nine books (10 if you count Ethan of Athos, which features not Miles but his partner, Ellie Quinn); or read the series in order, starting with the romance of Miles's parents in Shards of Honor.

A Civil Campaign opens where Komarr ends with Miles determined to court Ekaterin. Unfortunately, his approach is described as "General Romeo Vorkosigan, the one-man strike force" by his father. The potential for comic disaster increases when Miles' clone brother Mark arrives. He has brought a brilliant but scatterbrained scientist who has created a bug producing a perfect food: bug butter. They set up a lab in the basement of Vorkosigan House. Mark has also found a nice Barrayaran girl--she even likes the bugs--with whom he got together on the sexually liberated world of Beta. But now Kareen's living at home. Naturally, disaster strikes, repeatedly and on all fronts.

Bujold unfolds her comedy of manners while continuing to explore familiar themes: the difficulties in becoming a strong adult woman in a patriarchy; the need for trust and honesty in relationships between the sexes; the difference between appearance and identity; and the impact of advanced biotechnologies on society. A Civil Campaign is a sure-fire Hugo and Nebula award nominee, likely to add another statue to Bujold's already full shelf. It's charming, touching, and quite funny too. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 24 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Miles Vorkosigan is at it again, merrily planning (and attempting to execute) a very exacting military campaign. The only trouble is, the military objective is inducing his new-found lady love Ekaterin to marry him. His plan includes notable pieces of strategy: not to be too obvious about it, as she is still in mourning for her late husband (see the earlier book Komarr for details); keep other suitors well away; make sure there are frequent opportunities for the two to be in each other's presence; ensure that she becomes aware of all the niceties that would entail from marrying into one of the noblest families on Barrayar. Each piece of his plan, though, runs into one minefield after another, and as he puts emergency stop-losses in place, his situation continuously deteriorates, culminating in a dinner where absolutely everything goes wrong.
The dinner may be the high point of this book - the person who can read this section and not fall over laughing, cringing, and crying all at the same time isn't a real human being. For this book is not about military action, political plots, or single-handed world-saving, but is rather a very witty comedy. The picture of Miles making just about every mistake a lovelorn suitor can is both marvelously funny and very believable, and the picture of Barrayaran society is solidly fleshed out, making the whole a perfect environment in which to play out such a comedy of manners. As usual, Bujold keeps several plot threads spinning at once, whose resolution, while (for once) not at all earth-shaking, makes for a nicely unified wholeness to the basic story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Aug 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Miles Vorkosigan series of adventures is probably the most amusing comedy science fiction series ever written. This is the ninth Miles Vorkosigan adventure, and in my opinion the funniest book in the series.

It is slightly different from the other ten books in the series - the first eight and the last two all have elements of action adventure, mystery and detection. This one, on the other hand, can best be understood as a regency romantic farce set several hundred years in the future on a planet which in some ways is used to high technology and in others is a quasi-feudal militaristic Empire.

The Miles Vorkosigan stories, and four other books set in the the same future universe, can stand on their own. However, a number of them, of which this is one, will give you something extra if you have previously read some of Bujold's books set earlier on the same timeline.

If you have not previously met Lord Miles Vorkosigan, he is

1) a brilliant intriguer who at one stage was juggling at least three identities;
2) physically very small, having been injured in his mother's womb by poison gas;
3) a former spy for Imperial Barrayan security, former mercenary admiral and present "Imperial Auditor";
4) desperately trying to find a wife; and
5) hysterically funny to read about.

The book is set in the run-up to the wedding of Miles' cousin the Emperor. Several other people are thinking about love and marriage, including Miles himself, who is very much in love with Ekaterin who he met in the previous book, "Komarr".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By neglet on 17 Dec 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Readers of previous Vorkosigan books will know how Bujold has been able to combine a cracking adventure yarn with serious issues (as in the best in the series, Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance). Even as Miles has retired from his mercenary fleet, Bujold has kept the series fresh by involving him in the fascinating political scheming of Barrayar and its neighboring worlds (in Memory and Komarr). While A Civil Campaign might seem to be a throwaway volume, focusing on the imperial wedding and Miles's own romantic frustrations, Bujold has managed to fill it with still more political intrigue, interesting ideas on gender issues, and more character development for Miles, as his romantic hopes can only be fulfilled by using strategies different to those which have brought him success in the past. His love interest, Ekaterin, is also a fully developed character, and clone brother Mark and his friend Kareen get much attention as well. Then there's the comic scenes--Bujold has hinted at a skill for these in the past, but the chapters on Miles's first dinner party are classic! While A Civil Campaign is different in tone from other books in the series, it's still written to as high a standard. I hate waiting for the next volume!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Topping on 22 Feb 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is quite simply a great book. Even allowing for the fact that I am a “fan” of Bujold’s work this one and ‘Memory’ stand out from all the others. Where ‘Memory’ felt plot driven ‘A Civil Campaign’ carries as compelling a plot but through words which are worth reading and re-reading time and again. This is the only book I will open just to read a favourite paragraph, whether it be “Lately I’ve come to realise that the principle difference between heaven and hell is the company you keep there” or “The only way you win that war is to start with unconditional surrender.”
As for the plot, well it’s not one which brings huge surprises, boy meets girls etc. but in this case it’s padded out with a number of complications and satisfyingly complex subplots and additional characters. Bujold re-introduces a new major character whose point of view we are given and fleshes out some of the minor characters we’ve grown used to. Of course for Bujold a minor character seems to have the care and attention other authors can’t even get for their major characters.
Readers used to Miles’ adventures will enjoy this hugely, bringing one stage of Miles’ life to a significant point and to some extent marking him reaching his adulthood. I can’t help feeling though that to enjoy it as much as I did readers would benefit from having read all the previous books. That’s not a criticism, simply an observation which I believe is true of many long running series. Considering what a joy that is I strongly suggest you turn on 1-click and get ordering, especially as the first two books are now collected into a single volume and you won’t have to wait a year for the next instalment!
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