Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Winterfair Gifts (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #13.1), by Lois McMaster Bujold (author), Grover Gardner (narrator)

Blackstone Publishing, ISBN 9781481539791, July 2008

Winterfair has come to Vorbarr Sultana, and Miles Vorkosigan and Ekaterin Vorsoisson are about to be married. The wedding is planned, the garden is laid out for it (yes, in the winter; Ekaterin designed the garden and Miles is determined to have the wedding there), the gifts are arriving, and so are the guests.

Elli Quinn, Miles' successor as Admiral of the Dendarii Free Mercenaries, is not coming, but has apparently sent two gifts. One is a Cetagandan genetically-engineered living blanket, which purrs. It's accompanied by one of Elli's ribald limericks. The other, arriving separately and a little later, is a beautiful string of pearls, with no limerick. 

When Ekaterin puts on the pearl choker to see how it looks, and decides it will look very good with her wedding dress, all present agree. She doesn't have it on long at this point, because she starts feeling worn out and needs to go lie down. Among those who watch this happening are Sgt. Taura (another of Miles' former Dendarii comrades), and Armsman Roic, who is the newest of the Vorkosigan armsmen.

When Ekaterin doesn't feel well enough to attend the emperor's celebratory dinner for the couple about to be married, it's Taura and Roic who become uneasy about that pearl choker.

Nothing Miles does is ever calm and unexciting, or even particularly safe.

Along the way we have the gracious and terrifying Alys Vorpatril, Taura's first encounter with upperclass Barrayaran women's clothing, and Ivan Vorpatril successfully obeying to the letter the order not to exercise his sense of humor in any way that will disrupt Miles and Ekaterin's wedding. Really, he does not disrupt the wedding. At all. And I grinned; it was very, very Ivan.

Is this novella essential to following the overall Vorkosigan story? No. But it's an enjoyable novella, and the "minor" characters who take leading roles here were very well presented and quite likable. 


I bought this audiobook.

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