This time Miles Vorkosigan is in deep trouble. After the events in the previous book, Mirror Dance, he has seizures which is not good when you’re in the military no matter if that military is the space mercenaries or a planet-bound Barrayaran military. Miles is also afraid that if his boss Illyan finds out about the seizures, he is going to be pulled off his space duties and into a desk job in Barrayar. This would end his career as the mercenary admiral Miles Naismith and also his relationship with Commander Elli Quinn. He doesn’t want to give up either. But when he’s in combat again, a seizure starts and he accidentally shoots one of his own men. Fortunately, the man doesn’t die but Miles is left with dark choices. In the end, he decides to lie in his report about the combat and blame space suit malfunction. So, now he has lied to his superiors about his condition.

His chief surgeon isn’t convinced that the seizures could be cured but Miles clings to that desperate hope. Until Illyan calls him back to Barrayar, tells him about the falsified report, and gives him a chance to resign. Miles has no chance but to accept the offer. He returns to his family house and broods. All he has even wanted was to be in the military and now his life and his dreams have been crushed.

Memory is the model of character-centered fiction. Miles has to face up to what he has done.

Unfortunately, the first part of the book is quite slow with Miles feeling sorry for himself and seeing some of the old stomping grounds and old acquaintances. On the other hand, by this time most of the characters are familiar and it very nice to visit Gregor, Ivan, Aunt Alys, Duv Galeni, and even the folk at Silvy Vale so long-time readers probably won’t mind the slowness. I didn’t the first few times but it starts to be a bit much on rereads.

When the mystery part starts, the plot starts to move much faster but the mystery isn’t the main thing in this book. The main thing is to face the consequences to you actions and growing up.