Review: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Published by: Baen Books
ISBN 13: 9781625794802
Published: February 2016
Pages: 352
Format reviewed: mobi
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: Reading Challenge: Vorkosigan Saga Project

This was the first book I got to see released in the series, and how everyone reacted to the surprise there would be another to read – at this point I’d been meaning to read the series for at least a few years. I still regret I wasn’t there for the ride, but also slightly glad I didn’t have to pay for an eARC copy.

Spoilers lie ahead.

But back to the story. So we’re back with Cordelia – just as we started the series, which is quite fitting. She’s made the decision to stay on the planet that changed her life and we get to learn a lot more about what kept her busy while we’ve been chasing her son Miles all around the galaxy. Also, who was keeping her busy, as it wasn’t just Aral in her life… we see the progressive side of Beta Colony again as she was more than happy to be in a poly relationship with Aral’s senior aide – Admiral Jole.

At this point in the series Aral passed away three years ago. His death had an understandably profound effect on nearly everyone, and we see that while Cordelia was kept as busy as possible as still being Vicereine of Sergyar we also see that she’s only just coming from her time of mourning, and able to look to her own future with more consideration. To which she plans to retire her position and go off and raise some more kids; all thanks to the wonderful science she’s been bringing with her from Beta Colony to everywhere she’s laid down her lightflyer. Even though she’s in her 70s that’s not that old by Betan standards (and also why it’s been so hard to lose Aral), and so now she’s going to have some daughters. And she also plans to stay on Sergyar – and not return to Barrayar.

And she offers the same future to the other important person in Aral’s life. Oliver Jole. And though before when Aral was around they were close, they were entirely there for Aral. It’s taken until now and for the hurt to fade for them to look again, and they find each other quite suitable, and Jole is offered the technology and ability to have a child of his own, even as he approaches his 50th birthday.

There’s not much action and adventure in this book at all. It’s all about Cordelia being brilliant and sorting the rest of her life out, although the main character of this book really is Jole… and he’s interesting, and there’s something excellent about highly capable people… but Cordelia is the draw card here. And how personal decisions do affect those around you and their very human reactions to things – such as Miles never really knowing about his father’s personal interests, and what he thinks about his mother having more children in her 70s, and so on. And how through respect and discussion anyone can really come through to understanding. Which is a good message to leave us on, I think.

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