Unlike many Sci-Fi authors, Bujold does not burden her readers with complex societal histories or baffle them with technobabble. Set in the indeterminately distant future where Earth seems to have been abandoned and humans inhabit a range of differing worlds (some inhabited by non-humans) linked by wormholes, Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series are simple and accessible without detracting from sophisticated plotting and excellent characterisation. In this particular novel, Miles, by now in the Imperial Service (though soon to be disgraced), becomes caught up in an increasingly dangerous heightening of interstellar tensions. Quite where the pressure is coming from, or rather, who is planning to attack who, remains unclear, and Bujold's plotting is first-rate as the reader is kept guessing along with Miles. Characters carry over from her previous Vorkosigan tale, The Warrior's Apprentice, which adds extra depth to the already well-portrayed characters, but, as I've said before, part of the beauty her writing is that you could quite happily read her novels as one-offs, without losing a great deal; conversely, to read them in order is a real treat. Intriguing and exciting stuff.