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Diplomatic Immunity    by Lois McMaster Bujold order for
Diplomatic Immunity
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

Miles Vorkosigan is returning from a belated honeymoon with Ekaterin (for details of their budding romance read Komarr and A Civil Campaign) and happily watching baby pictures of their twins coming to term in a replicator back on Barrayar. This scene of domestic felicity is interrupted rudely by a summons from Emperor Gregor.

A large Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station, which is in Quaddiespace (for information on the bred-for-space Quaddies with four arms and no legs read Falling Free). Security officers from the merchant fleet's Barrayaran military escort have been arrested by Graf Station police after brawls between the two forces, and a bloody incident which has left a Barrayaran missing and possibly dead.

Gregor calls on his youngest Imperial Auditor to find out what is happening and make it stop. Since Gregor has just married into one of the largest trade families of Komarr, and is cautiously optimistic about more amicable future relations between the two worlds, the problem has significant diplomatic implications. This, of course, is immediately obvious to Miles. What he does not know, and spends lavishly of sweat, tears, and even blood to find out, is that Interstellar War may result without a prompt solution to this apparently small problem.

Luckily, Miles meets one old friend at Graf Station. This is Bel Thorne, the Betan hermaphrodite first met in The Warrior's Apprentice, and subsequently as a high ranking captain in the Dendarii Mercenaries. Miles has also met one of the Quaddies before.

As well as all these characters from previous novels in the series, there are references all the way through to incidents such as Miles' cryo-freezing and near death. This may be a little puzzling to first-time readers, but I firmly believe it can only encourage them to start at the very beginning of the series. How I envy them!

Diplomatic Immunity is top-notch as always for this author - perhaps not quite up to the exceptionally high level of Komarr and A Civil Campaign, but close.

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