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A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
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2,630523,354 (4.42)149
Recently added byLolcutus, RTDDale, NU2UBooks, codewell, celtickris, private library
  1. 60
    Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (PhoenixFalls)
    PhoenixFalls: A Civil Campaign is Lois McMaster Bujold's attempt to replicate Gaudy Night -- with an infusion of Georgette Heyer -- in her long-running Vorkosigan Saga.
  2. 40
    The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Enyonam)
    Enyonam: Even though it's a young adult novel, The King of Attolia deals with some fairly mature themes, and has a protagonist who has a lot in common with Miles Vorkosigan.
  3. 20
    The Agent Gambit by Sharon Lee (CatherineCl)
  4. 01
    Knight Errant by K. D. Sarge (BeaconsBright)
    BeaconsBright: More great action-y space opera
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» See also 149 mentions

English (51)  Italian (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I’m really not sure about this book. My friend recommended it to me as “a Regency Romance in space”, which sounded like fun. Unfortunately, the book starts out as Friendzone: The Novel, which is not very appealing. The main character hires his love interest for the job of her dreams so he has an excuse to spend time with her and “secretly” court her (as in, it's a secret from her). Frankly I spent most of the book hoping they wouldn’t end up together, because he was such an ass.

I did find the last half or third of the book a lot more entertaining, but everything seemed to move pretty quickly and the end wasn’t quite satisfying to me. Some of that is probably because I (deliberately) didn’t read the book leading up to this one, however.

(Added later: Having now read the preceding book, it didn't help, and in fact possibly made it worse.)

I may be done with Vorkosigan books, except maybe for the one or two more there are about Cordelia. I tried, because my friend really loves the series, but I just can’t get into it.

Content Warnings: fatphobia, eating disorder, weightloss, ableism, gender reassignment for political reasons, bugs, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia
  bluesalamanders | Dec 31, 2018 |
Did you think that Miles was the definitive example of how far the Vor will go to be Vor? You were wrong. Someone else has Miles beat by, um, miles. But that's okay; Miles, as usual, has his own problems. There's his brother Mark's new business venture, which involves some rather unattractive bugs, currently stashed in an old laundry room in Vorkosigan House. There's convincing Ekaterin that the fact that she made a mistake in marrying Tien at twenty doesn't mean that she's forever incapable of making good marital choices. There's convincing Ekaterin that he's not trying to manipulate her, which is tough, because he is. He's Miles, after all; it's easier for him to skip breathing for a few days than to skip manipulating people for a similar period. There's Miles' old friend Count René Vorbretten, whose unfortunate and previously unsuspected Cetagandan ancestry is endangering his possession of the countship--and risks turning that vote in the Council of Counts over to the Conservative Party. There's the rumors going around that Miles murdered Ekaterin's first husband. There's the other countship that's in dispute, with one of the putative heirs trying to blackmail Miles to force the Vorkosigans to support him when the Council of Counts votes on who's the real Count. There's the most disastrous dinner party in, possibly, the history of Barrayar. (Well, perhaps not. Nobody dies, after all. It's just that some people wish they had.)

And he can't even run away to be Admiral Naismith anymore. Aside from the fact that Admiral Naismith is dead and everyone knows it, his uniform doesn't even fit anymore.

No one has time to give him any sympathy; everyone has their own problems. Ekaterin has persistent unwanted suitors, and annoyingly helpful relatives and in-laws. Mark has his business partner Enrique, and his on-again off-again romance with Kareen Koudelka, and Kou and Drou's reaction when they find out. Ivan has been formally assigned as an aide to Lady Alys, while she manages the arrangements for Gregor and Laisa's wedding. And then there's the startling discovery he's made about his old love, Lady Donna Vorrutyer...

Great fun. And I don't recommend that you annoy any Lady Vorkosigan, present or future; it seems to be bad for your career prospects. ( )
1 vote LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
I have been away from Miles for a long time. I am glad I picked this book up and returned to the world. As I remembered the books are funny and intricately plotted. I think I stopped reading them way back when because I had read a bunch in a row and the last few had been a little serious. It was great to jump back into the quick witted world of Miles Vorkosigan. With all the science fiction and fantasy shows getting turned into series this one certainly deserves a shot. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
(Thirteenth of 17 (I suppose): Vorkosigan saga (chronological order). Science fiction / fantasy/ Regency romance)

Emperor Gregor's long-awaited marriage is finally here and, as well as intergalactic diplomats, Miles's friends and family are all returning to Vorbarr Sultana for the festivities. Romance and political manoeuvring are in the air.

Miles's chosen lady, however, has just been released from a toxic marriage and has declared she will have nothing more to do with the institution now she has finally been given the chance to find herself. So Miles decides to keep his wooing secret. From her - although he somehow manages to let it slip to everyone else. His cousin Ivan realises that, for the first time in his life, Miles is unsure of himself.

But Miles had so few humilities, it seemed almost a sin to take this one away from him. Bad for his soul, eh.

Mark knows his chosen lady loves him, but after their return to parochial Barrayar after their stint on infamously liberal Beta Colony, she's not sure if she can make her family see that they belong together. But don't underestimate Mark; despite appearances, he does seem to have inherited his family's acumen.

Ivan is, well - Ivan. He is seconded to his mother (who leads a platoon of tradition-defending matriarchs) for the duration of the wedding celebrations and the run-up to them and, for once, doesn't seem to be having much luck with ladies.

"...It's like working in an office with an entire boatload of mothers-in-law-to-be with pre-wedding nerves, every one of them a flaming control freak. I don't know where Mama found that many Vor dragons. You usually only meet them one at a time, surrounded by an entire family to terrorise..."

And speaking of ladies, we get introduced to Dr. Borgos's butter bugs. I leave it to your delighted imagination to investigate further ;0)

Things come to a head when Miles hosts a memorably disastrous dinner for his lady, just before his parents are due to return to Barrayar. Add to the mix some political wrangling where the rights of succession of some of the Counts are called into question and we have a thoroughly engaging novel.

This is a delightful blend of sci-if and fantasy; there are some anachronisms, left over, presumably, from the Time of Isolation - ancient piles with suspect drains like Vorkosigan House and Vorhartung Castle are compared to modern edifices like Vorbretten House and we get to see the glorious display of the banners of the Council of Counts in session as well as their colourful House liveries. We get to rummage around in the attics of Vorkosigan House and attend a session of the Council of Counts as well as see Gregor and Cordelia in action again. I like Bujold's plotting and I love her sense of humour (although I must confess I'm still working out the Vorrutyers in this book).

Did I mention that I really enjoyed the book? Bujold (as usual) interweaves the politics and romantic entanglements while maintaining the humour; I laughed out loud several times. The dedication at the front reads 'For Jane, Charlotte, Georgette and Dorothy - long may they rule' and the book is a delightful compliment.

I suppose this could have been a finishing point for the series, with Gregor safely married at last and other happy endings nicely wrapped up, but thankfully it's not and I'm really looking forward to continuing reading about Miles & Co. Absolutely delicious!

5***** ( )
2 vote humouress | Sep 5, 2017 |
This is part of Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. Although it can be read as a standalone book, it's far better read as part of the series, particularly after reading Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga), immediately after which A Civil Campaign is set.

Miles Vorkosigan, Imperial Auditor, Count's heir, and ex-secret-military-hero is in love. Unfortunately, the lady upon whom he has set his heart has just been widowed (in cirumstances in which Miles was intimately involved) and her experience of marriage has left her violently allergic.

Miles, with his customary verve and elan, therefore embarks on a secret courtship. Not secret from the population in general - just in secret from the lady herself.

Also involved in this story are Miles' clone-brother Mark and his girlfriend, and Mark's mad-scientist protege who has made discovery in genetic engineering that could be extremely useful to Barrayar but which has... problems. Emperor Gregor also has problems; Barrayar is now connected to the rest of the galaxy again - galactic medical technology is available on (or off) Barrayar, but the political, legal and ethical framework to deal with the issues this throws up is not - so the problem of sorting this out is given to Miles (whose job, as an Imperial Auditor is, as he reflects, "Anything You Say, Gregor.") You get to watch Miles getting himself in deeper and deeper trouble as he tries to manipulate those around him in typical Miles-fashion, only to find that other people have their own plans that might not mesh well with his own.

This book is a classic example of taking a situation to its logical extreme - and then kicking it when it's down. It's one of the most laugh-out-loud funny books I've ever read (as other reviewers have commented, the Dinner Party Scene is priceless). It's not slapstick humour - this is clever, and witty. And even when you think that everything has been sorted out with the kind of elegance that only a master storyteller can manage, Bujold has one more surprise in store just to finish them whole thing off in style. ( )
  T_K_Elliott | Mar 12, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gambino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jane, Charlotte, Georgette and Dorothy - long may they rule.
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The big groundcar jerked to a stop centimeters from the vehicle ahead of it, and Armsman Pym, driving, swore under his breath.
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Since the official job description of an Imperial Auditor was, in effect, Whatever You Say, Gregor, Miles could hardly argue with this. (chapter two)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
One cunning plan too many...?

It's spring in Vorbarr Sultana, and a young person's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love...money...bio-genetics...love...lack of money...incompatible sexual mores...love...District succession scandals...the Emperor's wedding...and, of course, love...

Lord Miles Vorkosigan, youngest Imperial Auditor to be appointed by the Emperor since the Time of Isolation, has a problem all his new power can't solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won't do, go to subterfuge. He has a cunning plan...

Lord Mark Vorkosigan has a problem; his love for the sunny Kareen, daughter of Commodore Koudelka, has just become unrequited again. But if all his new money can't solve their dilemma, perhaps a judicious blending of science and entrepreneurial scheming might. He has a cunning plan...

Lord Ivan Vorpatril has a problem: unrequited love in general. True, with the men on Barrayar outnumbering the women five to four, his odds aren't good. But Ivan had never thought the odds applied to him. He too has a cunning plan....

If no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy, just imagine what all Miles's closest friends and relatives can do to his romantic strategy!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671578855, Mass Market Paperback)

If you relish costume adventure in an intergalactic society starring strong, convincing male and female characters, you'll adore the Vorkosigan Series. If you haven't met Miles Vorkosigan, whose brilliance, manic energy, and unstoppable determination make him a larger-than-life hero despite his dwarfish stature, pick up Komarr and A Civil Campaign. Read them, and then go back and catch the previous nine books (10 if you count Ethan of Athos, which features not Miles but his partner, Ellie Quinn); or read the series in order, starting with the romance of Miles's parents in Shards of Honor.

A Civil Campaign opens where Komarr ends, with Miles determined to court Ekaterin. Unfortunately, his approach is described as "General Romeo Vorkosigan, the one-man strike force." By his father. The potential for comic disaster increases when Miles's clone brother Mark arrives. He's brought a brilliant but scatterbrained scientist who's created a bug producing a perfect food: bug butter. They set up a lab in the basement of Vorkosigan House. Mark has also found a nice Barrayaran girl--she even likes the bugs--with whom he got together on the sexually liberated world of Beta. But now Kareen's living at home. Naturally, disaster strikes, repeatedly and on all fronts.

Bujold unfolds her comedy of manners while continuing to explore familiar themes: the difficulties in becoming a strong adult woman in a patriarchy, the need for trust and honesty in relationships between the sexes, the difference between appearance and identity, and the impact of advanced biotechnologies on society. A Civil Campaign is a sure-fire Hugo and Nebula nominee, likely to add another statue to Bujold's already full shelf. It's charming, touching, and quite funny too. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Despite all his power, Lord Miles Vorkosigan can't win the hand of the beautiful Vor widow, Ekaterin Vorsoisson, who is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But as Miles has learned from his career in the galactic covert ops, subterfuge is always an option. So he devises a cunning plan.… (more)

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