I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The latest installment in the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan. Miles and Cousin Ivan travel to Cetaganda to play the part of sprigs of nobility doing their diplomatic duty. But when the Empress of Cetaganda dies naturally, and her lifelong attendant dies unnaturally, Miles and Ivan finds themselves in the thick of it.
Finally, we get to meet the Cetagandians, who have largely featured as kind of a boogey-man enemy for Miles Vorkosigan through the previous volumes. Bujold is great at imagining radically different societies (the Betans, the Barrayarans, and now the Cetagandians) and she gives us a good romp through the upper echelons of Cetagandian society.
Miles Vorkosigan is the Master of Chaos, in that he seems to be able to create it wherever he goes and then surf the chaos waves to an acceptable conclusion. This adventure is no different, as Miles and his handsome cousin Ivan go to represent Barrayar at the Cetegandian Empress’ funeral. What could possibly go wrong?
Plenty, as it turns out, with Miles having to shush Ivan quite a bit and manoeuvre around his superiors as per usual. Ivan manages to becomes extremely popular with the ladies of Cetagandia, and a fair bit of humour is generated through his misfortunes. A very fun romp through the Vorkosigan universe.
Book number 331 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.