Diplomatic Immunity


Miles and Ekaterin are on a belated honeymoon with their twins gestating nicely in their replicators awaiting their return - you know you're in the future when you can get a line like that from Ekaterin: "…All sorts of men don't make it home for the births of their children. But 'My mother was out of town on the day I was born, so she missed it'..."!

But things don't go smoothly for the couple (indeed, when have they ever!) as a courier ship out from Barrayar intercepts their cruise ship. Once reassured that his father is still alive, Miles listens to the briefing tape from Gregor. It seems that a Barrayaran escorted Komarran trade fleet had managed to get itself impounded at Graf Station. Only trouble was the military commander of the fleet had reported one story back to Barrayar, but an imperial agent on Graf Station had reported a somewhat different version back up their chain of command.

Miles was left with two jobs; get the fleet moving again with regard for reasonable cost and to see who was lying - the commander, or the spy.

Now, Graf Station lies within Quaddie space. The end results of a centuries old attempt to cash in on the booming space station market, the Quaddies were rendered economically undesirable by Beta Colony's invention of anti gravity. After escaping from their creators the Quaddies were now a power in their local space and the route was important to Barrayar's fleets.

Miles and Ekaterin find themselves on Graf Station, where he is startled to find that the Port Master is an old colleague from his days in the Dendari Mercenaries. And Barrayar's agent-in-place. He also finds that he needs to find a missing body as well as rescue a member of the crew who was not too willing to be rescued.

There are deeper plots going on in the background, though, and as Miles peels back the layers, he finds himself risking the futures of two empires when a horrifying cargo is found in the hold of the ships.

This is a nice book, if not quite the best in the series. There is plenty of tension as Miles tries to beat a number of deadly timetables and plenty of referances to earlier books to make the oldest fan of Mrs Bujold happy, while not being so overt that the neophyte would wonder what was going on.

Miles realises that maybe rushing about the galaxy is not necessarily the most sane thing to do with his life, now that he has a wife and children to think about as well.

I fear that this is a gentle hint that Mrs Bujold will be concentrating on other projects for at least a while. But if this is the case then at least she will have ended the series on a high note, not that there are any particularly bad books in the series (in my opinion at least!).

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Buy 'Diplomatic Immunity' from Amazon.com

Buy 'Diplomatic Immunity' from Amazon.co.uk