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Cryoburn: A New Miles Vorkosigan Novel    by Lois McMaster Bujold order for
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

At this stage in Lois McMaster Bujold's highly entertaining Vorkosigan Saga, Miles Vorkosigan is happily married to Ekaterin and the father of four young children. He is also an Imperial Auditor. (The author includes a timeline of Miles Vorkosigan/Naismith: His Universe and Times at the back of the book, linking events to books in the series.) In Cryoburn Miles is sent by Emperor Gregor to Kibou-daini, to investigate a cryocorp that is planning an expansion into the Barrayaran Empire.

Miles has personal experience of cryo-freezing and revival - it has left him prone to seizures at awkward moments. Cryoburn opens in the middle of action, only five days after Miles' arrival on Kibou-daini. He has been drugged and kidnapped, has escaped, and has been wandering through miles of Cryocombs underneath the city, addled by drug-induced hallucinations. After fumbling his way out and into a run-down area of the capital, Miles is given refuge by young Jin Sato, a runaway who lives (along with an assortment of critters) in a community of illegal squatters headed by tough old Suze the Secretary. Miles seizes the opportunity for covert investigation.

Meanwhile, the Lord Auditor's bodyguard, Armsman Roic, makes his own escape from their inept kidnappers (New Hope Legacy Liberators) along with Dr. Raven Durona of Escobar. They, and staid members of the small Barrayaran Consulate, are quickly embroiled in Miles' wild and wooly schemes. They soon find themselves participating in a sting; giving political asylum to minors and their exotic pets; snatching a cryo-corpse; and performing an illegal revival on someone who looks just like Snow White (as Miles comments, 'with just one dwarf'). The arrival on the scene of Miles' brother Mark and Mark's partner Kareen Koudelka further complicates matters.

Of course, Miles sorts it all out - both his Emperor's assignment and his own private project - in his usual hair-raising manner. But the book ends with shocking news from home, that will change Miles Vorkosigan's life ever after - I hope that Lois McMaster Bujold shows us how by writing more in this splendidly manic series.

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