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Publisher's Summary

When the Cetagandan empress dies, Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan are sent to Cetaganda for her funeral as diplomatic representatives of Barrayar. Upon arrival, the two men are inexplicably attacked by a servant of the late empress. When the same servant turns up dead the next day, Miles and Ivan find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Miles tries to play detective in a strange, complicated, and deceptively alien culture, while lascivious Ivan manages to get himself involved with several noble females at the same time, a diplomatic no-no of the first order. As the plot thickens, it becomes clear that it's up to Miles to save the empire.
With her usual skill, Bujold addresses timeless issues of human identity through the personal dramas of her characters.
©1996 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Set in a vividly realized world where Machiavellian intrigues are played out behind a facade of aristocratic discretion, this novel, like its predecessors, blends high adventure with wry commentary on the seemingly unbridgeable gulf between human ideals and political realities." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Even] readers who normally eschew science fiction will delight in Bujold's intriguing plots, appealing characters, and wry humor." (Library Journal)
"As witty and well-handled as is usual for Bujold....In the wake of Bujold's new Hugo, even greater swarms of readers will flock to this book and swell even more the number of her fans, which is only what she richly deserves." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Bronwyn Soell on 02-16-12

Miles and Ivan on a mission!

This is not one of my favorite Vorkosigan novels, but as always, Bujold's writing is so excellent and funny and her characters so humorous and well-drawn, that it is entertaining all the way through. Miles and his decorative cousin Ivan are sent to Cetaganda, their own planet's long time enemy, as representatives of the royal family to the funeral of the Cetagandian Empress.

It is supposed to be a strictly diplomatic mission- just show up, stand where you're told, drop off the ceremonial gift and don't embarrass us! But of course things start to go wrong almost from the start and pretty soon Miles finds a mystery on his hands that he cannot resist looking into and is talking Ivan into covering for him... and wacky hi-jinks ensue!

This is one of the lighter of the Vorkosigan books. In many ways Bujold's writing is at its best when drawing light and hope out of horrible and tragic circumstances. But in between some of the 'heavier' events of Miles' life, it is nice to take a little break and this book not only accomplishes that, but also serves the longer plot arc of the entire series- something Bujold is also very good at. There are small references back to events in this book that show up later in the series and will provoke a chuckle or a 'ha!' from those in the know :)

Anyway, it's a Vorkosigan novel, which already means it's probably better written, funnier and more likely to grab and keep you wanting more than about 90% of the science fiction out there :)

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By DJ on 09-10-06

Miles will be Miles!

If you're at all familiar with the Miles Vorkosigan saga you will be drawn into this audiobook immediately and recognize the Machiavellian intrigue and humor Lois Bujold breaths into her stories. Having read the excellent novel, this audio edition holds up extremely well. The reader, Grover Gardner, brings nuance to the characters and expression to the story to make for an enjoyable listen. This is classic adventure story telling at its best. The pace is brisk. Miles is a reluctant hero, at times arrogant, who drags himself and those close to him through near fatal scrapes and adventures. As always, he must overcome his physical handicaps, convince others to follow him, and solve some tough puzzles to win the day. Yes, he does talk to himself frequently...this insight into his psyche is both humorous and enlightening. Frankly, I think this helps endear him to his fans. Audible should make the entire Miles Vorkosigan series available so listeners can hear them in sequence and fully appreciate this fantastic universe Lois Bujold has created.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 09-29-06


I've enjoyed everything that Louis McMaster Bujold has published, and I think that Miles Vorkosigan is one of the great comic/dramatic heroes of recent literature. Nevertheless, Cetaganda was never my favourite of his adventures. That has changed since hearing this reading of it. The narrator brings out all the dry comedy of narrative, and the detective elements unfold very effectively. Overall, this is a superb reading of an excellent story (but if you're going to buy it, it probably makes sense to start with 'Warrior's Apprentice' which is the first Vorkosigan novel available from Audible).

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By M. Atkinson on 11-12-16

Classic, fun sci-fi

I'm such a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold I find it hard to believe her books need recommending to anyone, as they ought to recommend themselves. This is part of the Vorkosigan saga, but can be read independently. Smart, funny, with a central mystery that pulls you along, and a reader who, you can tell, loves his job.

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