Monday, May 23, 2011

Civil Campaign (Book)

Love. Slander & Dirty Politics. Love. Butter Bug Vomit. Love. Patriarchy & Changing Times. Love.

Civil Campaign, the title of Book 12 in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, refers to Miles Vorkosigan’s strategy to marry the widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. It is a science fiction, romantic comedy with some politics thrown in. It was nominated for various awards, and the chapter where Miles throws a dinner party wins my vote for funniest Bujold chapter ever. (Do not read this chapter while eating because you will be laughing too hard.) It is as though all Miles' mischievous karma comes back to bite him at the same time.

Briefly, while everyone is busy preparing for Emperor Gregor’s wedding, Miles is trying to tactfully woo Ekaterin. His cloned brother Mark, who is head over heels in love with Kareen, brings home a houseguest with an unusual business. In the meantime, interesting political maneuvers are going on in the council, the unexpected results of Barrayar’s patriarchal government. Chaos ensues. Some unusual romantic pairings are also made.

When I first began to read the books in the Vorkosigan Saga, I didn’t understand why it had so many fans. Now, I have a hard time putting the books down. I am realizing that reading a series is a different experience from reading an isolated book or reading books loosely related because their stories are set in a common world. On another note, lately I have been paying attention to the cadence of Bujold’s plot development. It seems to me that she creates a lot more hills and valleys, giving the reader more chance to breathe. This adds to my enjoyment of her books.

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