This time Admiral Miles Naismith of the Denadarii mercenaries/ Lieutenant Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar has ended up on Earth because his mercenary fleet needs repairs. Miles himself takes the opportunity to check in to the Barrayaran Embassy to give his report and receive his next orders as well as the payroll for their previous job. The unfortunate commander of the Embassy, Captain Duv Galeni, doesn’t know anything about Miles’ cover identity.

Galeni orders Miles to stay at the Embassy doing his duties as a Lieutenant. This doesn’t help Miles’ burgeoning romance with the Dendarii mercenary Commander Elli Quinn who is also Miles’ bodyguard. Miles sighs and does his boring social duties as an escort to older ladies. His cousin Ivan has also been assigned to the Embassy doing the same duties. Except that because Ivan is of a junior rank, he gets to escort the young women…

Miles has decided to lay low because now both of his personas are clearly on the same planet and even in the same city, London. Unfortunately, his underlings don’t have the same inhibitions. When a group of drunken Dendarii barricade themselves into a liquor shop with a hostage, Miles has no choice but to try to sort things out – in front of television cameras. Things take a turn to even worse when Miles’ orders and payroll fail to arrive as expected. Then Miles is busy trying to spin lies to inquisitive reporters and dodging assassins sent after him. Meanwhile, Miles is trying to keep himself together when he has to change quickly from his Vorkosigan persona to his Naismith persona.

Miles tries to get to the bottom of everything and finds an adversary who has been planning for revenge for a very long time.

Brothers in Arms is yet again a fast paced space adventure, although set this time on old, civilized Earth so there aren’t actual space fighting. At the same time, the book touches on questions of loyalty, humanity, obsession, and fanaticism.

This book sets up the next one, Mirror Dance, and the rest of the series very well and manages to be very intriguing and entertaining at the same time. Miles wrestles with his issues of who he really is. The loyal subject of Emperor Gregor who will nevertheless never be really accepted by his peers, the Counts? Or a famous mercenary admiral? Miles is also very loyal to his troops, the Dendarii even though other Barrayarans consider them to be little more than cannon fodder, not really Imperial subjects.