A Civil Campaign


Miles and Ekaterin are back from Komar and she's living at her aunt's while she and her son come to terms with her husband's death.

Never one to leave anything to chance, Miles offers Ekaterin a chance to redesign a piece of waste ground next to Vorkosigan House into a native Barrayaran style garden. This means that he gets a chance to see her on a daily basis and while he would never be so unsubtle as to actually ask her to marry him so close to the loss of Tien he certainly makes sure that Nikki is made welcome in Vorkosigan House and his secret weapon is Ma Kosti - still with him despite determined efforts to separate her from the staff.

Unfortunately for Miles, his cousin Ivan decides that he's acting far too slowly so in order to speed things up he mentions to a couple of his associates in Ops that there is an unattached woman running round the capital. With the Vor having gone male-mad there is a vast over preponderance of males to females so the wasps rapidly concentrate round this unexpected honey pot despite the extreme unwillingness of the honey pot!  But Miles stays calm. He even fails to do serious harm to Ivan when he realises what his cousin has done.

Meanwhile, term's over on Beta Colony and lord Mark, Miles's clone brother, and Kareen Koudelka, his girlfriend, return to the welcome of their respective families. Mark's welcome is a trifle cool - after all, there's only Miles at home and Miles is in two minds over Mark. Mark's colleague from Escobar is an unknown and when Miles finds out what's going on in the basements of Vorkosigan house his hostly feelings are almost completely shattered. It's not just that the butterbugs were disgusting to look at but what they did was utterly gross.

At a grand evening party that Miles had set up to try and impress Ekaterin all the parties are happily ensconced in the Grand Dining room and the wine flowed freely. Too freely. First Mark's colleague had subverted Ma Kosti so all the foods being served were products of the butterbugs and then in a misguided attempt to gain Miles's acceptance, Enrique has bio-engineered some of his bugs with the Vorkosigan crest.

It was not a success!

The wine continued flowing.

Then Simon Illyan, knowing Miles is keen on Ekaterin asked when the wedding is to be.

Ekaterin runs off, crashing through the returning Count and Countess's party on her way out.

Enrique, a citizen of Escobar, reveals what Mark and Kareen had been doing on Beta Colony.

Exit the Family Koudelka with Kareen being dragged from Vorkosigan House finger by finger and Mark's Black Gang making a bid for freedom.

Not the most successful of dinner parties!

No major fighting. Virtually no one dies, and Ivan even proves that he has a great deal of native intelligence. Despite this, this novel is very close to beating Memory as my book of the decade story! Try it for yourself!

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Buy 'A Civil Campaign' from Amazon.com

Buy 'A Civil Campaign' from Amazon.co.uk