Publication year: 2004
Format: Audio
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Running Time: 2 hrs, 31 m

This is a novella set between A Civil Campaign and Diplomatic Immunity. It’s part of Bujold’s space opera Vorkosigan series and a treat for fans but I don’t think a new reader should start here. I recommend starting with the ”Cordelia’s Honor” omnibus.

The Winterfair festival is approaching and with it the wedding. The only POV character is Roic, Miles’ youngest and newest armsman. Most armsmen are former soldiers but Roic is ”just” a former municipal guard and he has an inferiority complex because of it. Also, in ACC he was involved in the butterbug incident so senior Armsman Pym is keeping a close eye on Roic. He is usually on night duty but now he’s greeting Miles’ galactic guests who are arriving for Miles and Ekaterin’s wedding. Roic has never gone off-planet so he has some surprises in store. He knows that Miles has galactic friends, though, and thinks he’s prepared to greet them. Then he meets Taura, the genetically engineered super soldier and current mercenary who towers over him and looks rather scary. Oh, and she’s female.

This is a fun little story with most of the familiar cast in it. Yet, because Roic is the POV character, we see them from the outside and this keeps the story fresh. We also get to see how Ekaterin and Miles ”work” together and they seem well suited to each other.

I also enjoyed Taura a lot. Especially the scene where she meets Alys is great.

Plot is rather thin, though, this is clearly a character piece. And that’s not a complaint but an observation because I adore these characters.