Miles has a cunning plan, which, of course, has to be worked out in between District succession scandals and plans for the emperor's wedding. And if no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, just imagine what all Miles' friends and relatives can do to his romantic strategy.
Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.
©1999 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"The latest Miles Vorkosigan adventure has him campaigning in four plots....Bujold weaves all four actions into a seamless whole that her faithful readers may rank among the best books in an outstanding series." (Booklist)
"Bujold successfully mixes quirky humor with just enough action, a dab of feminist social commentary, and her usual superb character development in a sprightly SF romance that her many fans will find enormously satisfying." (Publishers Weekly)
My favourite novel in my favourite series. Miles has set his heart on Ekaterin Vorsoisson but finds serious obstacles in his path to matrimonial bliss, not least his own tendency to try to orchestrate the lives of others.
In some ways it's rather a change of pace from earlier Vorkosigan novels: the cast has broadened out considerably, the perspective from which the story is told changes regularly, and the emphasis is more social and less military. But Bujold still combines gripping plot development with light comedy, while also writing very movingly at points. It's the kind of audiobook that gets me funny looks on the bus as I alternately snort with laughter and look pained and concerned.
I listened to this book because of the glowing reviews. I'm not normally a sci-fi fan and I have to admit I gave up after the first hour. About a week later I came back to it and then I couldn't stop listening! The characters, particularly the hero, Miles, really come across well, the story isn't a space opera and it's all done with a lightness of touch that is spiked with moments of real tension. I will now be downloading the others in the series and am delighted there are so many!
Besides taking place at the far on of the wormhole nexus the books not filled with a lot of Science Fiction but it's still a masterclass in character and story.
I would make the villains more dangerous and make more happen.
Nothing that exciting happens really - I mean the bad guys aren't around much and they do little damage. Everything is too hunky dory most of the time and all a bit 'safe' - hence the title of this review, "If you like period dramas..." - these are like this too.
The big dinner at the end is laugh out loud funny.
This book inspired me to audiobooks a bit more carefully in future, and also that a book might be a completely different style to the section in which it resides in book stores.
"Comedy and a Romp with Characters You Love"
After a serious turn over the last few books of the series (Memory, Komarr), this book returns to the lighter fare and faster pace of some of the earlier novels of the series. Built like a Restoration comedy crossed with a modern sitcom, it features spurned lovers, switched genders, slapstick, and politics done with Bujold's deft touch. Expect less brooding and more action, although it is all political and romantic this time - no gunfights or spacebattles in this adventure.
If you have followed the Miles series from the beginning this is an hugely entertaining novel, and it goes by incredibly fast. If you haven't read the previous series in order: the Vor Game, Cetaganda, Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, Memory, and Komarr (or at least Mirror Dance, Memory, and Komarr), you might want to start the series from an earlier point, as I imagine that the evolution in the characters that creates much of the comedy will be entirely lost.
"Bujold does Jane Austen--nicely"
The dinner party alone is worth reading the whole book. Vorkosigan helpless and inept in the throes of passion. All the wit and plotting brilliance we have come to expect of Bujold but this time in the service of comedy of manners. Bravo! And, as a bonus, an homage to tribbles.
Grover Gardner's narration makes this story. I find myself looking at short men in a different way. I read and enjoyed the entire series years ago, but Grover makes the characters come alive. It is easy to listen A Civil Campaign and the other Vorkosigian audiobooks more than once. They are fun and addictive. For the richest experience, start at the beginning of the saga with A Warriors Apprentice.
A Civil Campaign is just as great as the first book. Just don't listen to this audiobook in the dentist chair, you might get hurt when you laugh.
"My favorite Bujold book"
This is my favorite Lois McMaster Bujold book. It's incredibly rich in characters and situations. It's not as much an action book as some of her previous in the series but it's the richest, I think, in drama and humor.
I think this could be a first read book in the series with great enjoyment. But, after reading a bunch of the earlier books, the tapestry becomes fully woven, here.
This book is about Miles' courtship of Ekaterin amid a BUNCH of difficulties, starting with her being repulsed by the idea of ever marrying again after her failed previous marriage which ended in the death of her husband just weeks before But Miles has no doubt SHE is the one he wants to marry and his intentions . . . leak to everyone he knows.
I'm struck by wishing I could be friends with a bunch of the main characters of this book. People you get to know and like.
Grover Gardner has again done an excellent job of reading a Bujold book, if anything, better than before.
"Still going strong!"
I loved this book, the party scene was the funnies thing I have read in ages! The narration is impecable too :) Quick! We need more of Miles Vorkosigan books!
"Grover Gardner brings this to life"
I had listened to several of the novels in the series and when I finished Komarr it was the chronologically last one available at Audible. So I purchased A Civil Campaign in paperback. For some reason I was unable to get through it and put it down after around 50 pages. Then, when it finally was offered by Audible I downloaded it and listened with total enjoyment. Apparently for me at least these novels are better heard than read. I think that Grover Gardner's masterful reading style really brings out the humor in these novels. He also does a very fine job with the female characters, not often easy for a male reader. Bravo Lois and Grover!
"Space Opera Spectacular"
This is my hands-down favourite book in the Vorkosiverse so far.
Miles continues the head first fall into adorable, militarised, obsessive love after tripping over Madame Ekaterin Vorsoisson in the novel Komarr. The Vorcrusty set are affronted by the attempts by one of Lord Ivan's ex-lady loves to claim a countship and some rather dirty and intriguing governmental and gender politics ensue. The delightful all-girl Team Koudelka is getting into everything, much to the dismay and bemusement of their parents, Lord Mark's balancing act on top of the pyramid that is the Black Gang teeters and Killer threatens to be loosed. The dinner party to shame all dinner parties erupts at Vorkosigan House and for once Miles does not delight in the melodrama. As Emperor Gregor sits back and watches what happens, the sparks struck at the dinner party hit the tinder that is the disgruntled Vorcrusty and the threat of potential civil war looms over two of the most important decisions the Council of Counts has faced since before the the Butcher of Komarr became Regent, and it may actually fall to That Idiot Ivan to save the day. (Yes, Ivan is forced to stop hiding his light, and it glows like Vorkosigan Vashnoi at night. It's fantastic.)
This book is hysterically funny, melodramatic and heartwarming, as always LMB's characters are fully fleshed and incredibly lovable despite their foibles and flaws, and the different story lines twine together like the cords of a fuse, encountering ordinance simultaneously for exponential explosions of riotous action, cringeworthy humiliation and hilarity.
I have listened to this book about five times over the past year, it is my go when I need a laugh or want to feel some lovely warm, fuzzy feelings. If this is not enough to adequately express my love and adoration for this story, let me say this: the love I feel for this story is equal to or greater than the love I would feel for a fuzzy grey puppy with big floppy ears, an unusual attachment to polka-dots, a tendency to lick your toes if you sit still and happen to leave your feet within 8 centimetres of the ground, the name of Ivan, and a habit of greeting you with ecstatically squirming enthusiasm if you are ever out of sight for more than five minutes.
"Jane Austen - In Space"
I've read most of the books in the Vorkosigan saga now and I have to say this is by far my favourite, with "Warrior's Apprentice" a close second. Reading/listening to this book reminded me somewhat of the romantic comedies of Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde. For those not familiar with the Vorksigan saga I would recommend reading the others in the series just to get a general background to the characters, as I'm sure it could be a little confusing.
Definitely worth it for hardcore Miles fans!
"A Glorious Climax"
Too often science fiction writers try to focus on what is important to planets and lose track of what is important to people. Lois McMaster Bujold never loses track of her characters. All of her created persons are rich and complex while still being active and lively.
Miles Vorkosigan, the books principle, or at least most famous, character is science-fiction's most unlikely Romeo. He is a strategist and tactician on both military and political battlefields, a man who eats his homeworld's powerful enemies for breakfast and washes them down with a swig of political panache. He has faced crippling birth defects, social prejudice, battlefield capture, torture, amnesia, baroque plots involving clones, insane superiors, charges of high treason, and worst of all, Simon Illyan's paperwork, and emerged victorious if not unscathed.
Only one thing in the universe holds terror for him right now, and her name is Ekatarin Vorsoisson. She is the beautiful widow of a man recently murdered during the course of one of Mile's investigation, and she is now the focus of all Mile's romantic hopes.
Unable to bear the thought of rejection, miles approaches courtship the only way he knows how, like a covert-ops mission. What he thinks he cannot ever be given, he will attempt, through guile, to steal, with predictably disastrous results.
Add in a few political scandals, a very buggy biological experiment, and the planetary emperor's upcoming wedding and the stage is set for an incomparable comedy of biology and manners.
"I laughed out loud"
I enjoyed this story so much. what a surprise and joy to find this story. A must read.
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