Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
An Enjoyable Vorkosigan Side Trip
on 23 April 2012
Now this is interesting; although this is most definitely a story in the Vorkosigan universe, we are not with our usual protagonist or situation; this is a side jaunt, if you will. In fact, readers who have picked up Bujold's 'Falling Free' will find a similar feeling with this novel.
This time around, our main character is the titular doctor, a member of a male-only society that reproduces using cloned ovarian tissues. When their stocks of female material become unviable, Ethan is chosen to go out into the universe to retrieve some more in order to vouchsafe the future of his planet.
As opposed to the self-assured, charismatic Miles Vorkosigan, Ethan is an endearingly timid and naive protagonist, who finds himself hopelessly out of his depth on a strange space station. When his mission goes drastically wrong, and he finds himself caught up in something much bigger, he is even forced to accept the help of... A WOMAN.
Said woman is Elli Quinn, a minor character from Miles's early career, now a fully-realised and delightfully snarky presence. She manages to aid the hapless Ethan while exasperating and confounding him; their interplay is frankly the highlight of the book, and makes what could be quite a flimsy plot into a highly enjoyable journey.
Ethan of Athos might not be a particularly important installment in the overall Vorkosigan saga, but it is a touching and well-written self-contained story in its own right.