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Return of the Dendarii
on 3 January 2012
This is pretty much a sequel to The Warrior's Game, and I recommend reading that excellent novel first. For those familiar with the earlier adventure of Miles Vorkosigan, it's good to see him up to his old tricks again.
This is very much a books of three acts. The first sees Miles assigned to a frozen base in an attempt to prove his humility and ability to serve within the military. How he struggles with this, and the various scrapes he gets into at the base, are enjoyable but merely a prelude to his confrontation with a ruthless commander, one that will have lasting ramifications for his career.
His actions lead into the second act, which is largely a tale of intrigue as Miles has to pose as an arms dealer for Barrayar's intelligence service. It's a job that will introduce him to both a frightening adversary and to his friend and emperor Gregor, who has problems of his own. This section is full of close shaves and twists, and allows Bujold to further develop her protagonist as he struggles to survive.
The third and finest act sees a welcome return to the Dendarii Mercenaries, the group Miles inadvertently formed in the earlier story. It's nice to see characters like Elena again, and sees an upshift to full military space action as Miles and his allies have to stop a dastardly scheme that spells trouble for all.
Bujold seems to impress more with each installment of the Vorkosigan saga. Her facility with her characters and the intricate plots she weaves for them are refreshing in these days of shallow protagonists and simplistic narratives.