The Vor Game
by Lois McMaster Bujold
A pleasant, predictable, and largely unobjectionable space opera in the Hornblower tradition. Ensign Miles graduates from the Academy, receives an unpopular assignment that proves even more unpleasant than he expected, is assigned to Intelligence, and then ends up at the very center of an unexpected space battle. A good time is had by his friends, his enemies enjoy themselves rather less. The neocon militarism that sometimes leaks into recent American space opera (and to which current British space opera reacts) is not much in evidence here, beyond the familiar longing for feudalism that generically suffuses space opera.
But Bujold's space operas were warmly praised that morning a few weeks ago that we spent at the sunny breakfast table, once again discussing books with old college friends (now Professors and Commissioners and leaders of Foundations). Very warmly praised: I wonder whether I picked up the wrong volume, or part of the wrong series....