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23 October 2011

Baen paperback, published October 2011, reviewed by Lyn McConchie.

It’s been far too long since there was a new “Miles Vorcosigan’ book out, this is it, and worth the wait. I found this series a long time ago and quite by accident.I’d seen the original publication of Shards of Honor and decided that it probably wasn’t something I’d like. I couldn’t buy every SF/F book published – although if I ever win lotto I’ll probably try – and some books have to be left on the bookshop shelf. But when I was at our National SF Convention about five years later, I saw a copy of ‘Shards’ for less than half-price. I bought it, read it that night and in the morning descended on the hucksters room tables to buy the series up to date – another three books. Since then I’ve bought every one as it is published – two even in hardcover – and while some are better than others, (Shards, Ceteganda, Memory) all are very good.
Cryoburn, like the gap in real time, starts seven years after the previous book. Miles is 39, he’s been happily married for that period, has several small children, and continues with the job he was given in Memory, as an Imperial Auditor. The planet Kibou-daini has an obsession with cryogenics, they are about to move into Mile’s homeworld with that and Gregor the Emperor would like to be sure that all is on the level – which, of course, it isn’t. Miles goes to Kibou-daini, is drugged (and he’s allergic) dumped in a supposedly abandoned facility (it isn’t) and is aided by a young runaway boy (with a very odd collection of pets.) Meanwhile his embassy are running in circles, the villains are confused, and Miles is doing his best – which may not be good enough because it tyurns out that there’s a glitch in the cryo-system.
The book was as good as any in the series, and, while I tend to dislike books that run to over 400 pages, this one had enough always going on to keep me solidly involved. With this series I recommend that you start from the first book and read forwards, but if you buy this one as a first, you won’t do so badly. I recommend the series very strongly if you like mysteries and SF. The author produces an excellent combination – and a fascinating character with Miles.

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