Book review: A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Webmaster’s note 1/15/2016: This is an old review from the previous version of the site, which we’re bringing in as a post so that it’ll be searchable in the reviews categories with newer content.

A Civil Campaign

A Civil Campaign
by Lois McMaster Bujold
ISBN 0671578278

reviewed by Sylvia Wendell

Miles is in love, and desperate to maneuver his beloved into marriage. Trouble is, he plans it as if it were a military campaign.

This latest chapter in Miles’ history is billed as “A Comedy of Biology and Manners” (Lois even dedicates it to “Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy”). It’s also a slapstick food fight and the laugh-out-loud funniest book she’s ever written.

It is set in the time period immediately after Komarr, and leading up to Emperor Gregor’s wedding. We meet some new characters I sincerely hope to see in future installments. We see Armsman Pym, up till now a walk-on, in fascinating new depth. And Ivan – Ivan! – finally begins to metamorphose into something beyond Miles’ Sancho Panza.

This book contains some of Lois’ finest writing ever. Her skill is of an order that never calls attention to itself. But more than ever, she includes passages of deep truth, dead-on descriptions, and perfect phrasing. Her characters grow and change during the course of the novel, and Lois always shows us rather than telling us.

So, all you Vorkosigonians, rush out and get this one immediately. For you who want an introduction to the series, start here. This one gets four stars out of four.