A hilarious comedy of manners and morals,
This review is from: A Civil Campaign (Vorkosigan Saga Book 12) (Kindle Edition)
This is part of Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. Although it can be read as a standalone book, it's far better read as part of the series, particularly after reading Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga ), immediately after which A Civil Campaign is set.
Miles Vorkosigan, Imperial Auditor, Count's heir, and ex-secret-military-hero is in love. Unfortunately, the lady upon whom he has set his heart has just been widowed (in cirumstances in which Miles was intimately involved) and her experience of marriage has left her violently allergic.
Miles, with his customary verve and elan, therefore embarks on a secret courtship. Not secret from the population in general - just in secret from the lady herself.
Also involved in this story are Miles' clone-brother Mark and his girlfriend, and Mark's mad-scientist protege who has made discovery in genetic engineering that could be extremely useful to Barrayar but which has... problems. Emperor Gregor also has problems; Barrayar is now connected to the rest of the galaxy again - galactic medical technology is available on (or off) Barrayar, but the political, legal and ethical framework to deal with the issues this throws up is not - so the problem of sorting this out is given to Miles (whose job, as an Imperial Auditor is, as he reflects, "Anything You Say, Gregor.") You get to watch Miles getting himself in deeper and deeper trouble as he tries to manipulate those around him in typical Miles-fashion, only to find that other people have their own plans that might not mesh well with his own.
This book is a classic example of taking a situation to its logical extreme - and then kicking it when it's down. It's one of the most laugh-out-loud funny books I've ever read (as other reviewers have commented, the Dinner Party Scene is priceless). It's not slapstick humour - this is clever, and witty. And even when you think that everything has been sorted out with the kind of elegance that only a master storyteller can manage, Bujold has one more surprise in store just to finish them whole thing off in style.