The newest book in the Vorkosigan series! A very different tale from the others in the series; not an adventure and not a mystery. There’s no action plot.
Publication year: 2016
Spoilers for those who don’t want to know anything about the book!
I bought the electronic ARC of the book but didn’t end up reading it until now. I’m a huge fan of the Vorkosigan series and I’m on the Bujold mailing list where I read a couple of spoilers. That turned out to be a good thing because I needed to chew them over before reading the book itself. Of course I needed to become comfortable with reading a Vorkosigan book without Aral in it (Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is set four years before Aral’s death). Aral is one of my favorite literary characters ever. Reading about the rest of the familiar cast without him felt daunting. Also, Cordelia is one of my favorite characters ever, too, and reading about her after Aral’s death made me hesitate a bit. Then there was the idea that their marriage had a third person included (without cheating on anyone!)… I needed some time to get used to that. Not to the idea of three-person marriage, of course, but the idea of Aral and Cordelia with someone else. The third person in question, Oliver Jole, has been a very minor character whom I didn’t remember at all before the Bujold list discussions.
But it all turned out great! Oliver is a sweet-heart (of course! Whom else Aral was going to pick? And don’t say Ges!) and I ended up liking him a lot.
The book starts three years after Aral’s death. Cordelia and Aral ran together a whole planet, Sergyar, which is part of the Barrayaran empire. Now, Cordelia governs alone. Oliver Jole is the Admiral of the Sergyar’s space fleet. Oliver was Aral’s long-time lover but Cordelia and Oliver were never a couple so they have drifted apart, each grieving alone. But now Cordelia has decided to make her long-time dream come true: she will have more children. Of course, she’s past her biological childbearing age but thanks to the technological wonders of this universe, she can still have them from eggs and sperm which were stored much earlier. She also offers Oliver the chance to have his and Aral’s children with her eggs.
A career military man, Oliver has never seriously considered raising a family, especially after his relationship with Aral started. At first he’s is stunned but the more he thinks about it, the more appealing it becomes. And when he spends time with Cordelia, their mutual attraction flares and grows.
The story is centered on family and moving on from grief. This was a great conclusion to the saga, if it, indeed, will be the conclusion.