Bujold, Lois McMaster: (110) Cetaganda

My major impression upon re-reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cetaganda is that this book might just as well have been titled Diplomatic Immunity as the current book (which could have been called, I don’t know, Graf Station). Miles and Ivan, in their callow-lieutenant phase, are sent to Eta Ceta for the funeral of the Dowager Empress, to acquire some diplomatic polish and to stay out of trouble. Which, Miles being Miles, is not terribly likely.

Part of the trouble is a dead body lying in a pool of blood; wondering about the forensic investigation, Miles thinks, “Damn, I wish I could have been in charge of this, just now.” Be careful what you wish for, else you might find yourself investigating a pool of blood (sans body) on Graf Station ten years later . . . (At least the present-day Miles is somewhat easier on the people around him—boy, he was really awful to Ivan, wasn’t he?)

One or two of the Cetagandan bits in Diplomatic Immunity feel like the Author Had A Better Idea (or a more fully developed one) between Cetaganda and DI; there are spots in Cetaganda that would have been perfect for setting up some of DI, but make use of the opportunity only obliquely or in passing. And just how many Empresses does Cetaganda have, anyway, and how does it work? I don’t think that’s ever been explained.

Anyway, still a fun book, even if it doesn’t mesh with Diplomatic Immunity perfectly.

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