I love this series and this book clearly marks a different era of the series. In the previous novel, Memory, Miles’s career as a covert military admiral reporting back to his home planet’s imperial security agency comes to an end. He has taken up the post of imperial auditor, an investigative role similar to an inspector general or head of a fact-finding mission with blanket authority. That temporary post led to a new ImpSec head and a permanent posting as auditor.
So now we begin the start of MilesVorkosigan, Space Detective! These detective novels (and there’s three of them so far — Komarr, Diplomatic Immunity, and Cryoburn) are different in tone — more somber and serious, adventurous, sarcastic, but they’re still very strong.
Here, Miles comes to Komarr, site of a centuries-long terraforming project in media res. People live in domes and are quite territorial, and Miles and his family name are infamous as his father is (unfairly) known as the Butcher of Komarr for not quite stopping a massacre as well as Komarrans would have liked (his role was actually more secretive, but they don’t seem to care).
Miles is investigating the destruction of a mirror array that was used to strengthen the weak star in Komarr’s solar system — was it accident, suicide, sabotage?
Miles stays with fellow auditor Vorthys and his married niece, her husbands — a tech engineer, and their young son.
So it goes from there. What becomes obvious from the start is Miles’s developing attraction for Ekaterin, whose marriage is clearly emotionally abusive.