Timothy Rice

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

O loves, take delight in one another. While you can, take delight.

Rating: 3.5/5 – Read if you’ve read the rest of the Vorkosigan Saga.
Read the Vorksigan Saga if you like: Optimistic and character driven science fiction.

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This was an unusual book. It’s almost completely devoid of anything resembling conflict, The greatest moment of tension is one character’s decision whether or not to accept a workplace promotion. instead devoting most of its words to reflection and reminiscence. This is fitting, given its place as the (current) final novel in the Vorkosigan saga Gentleman Jole is more of an extended epilogue than a true standalone entry into the series.

Appropriately Cordelia leads the cast of characters, now settled on the same planet where she first fatefully encountered Aral Vorkosigan 15 novels ago in Shards of Honor. She reprises role as the series’ moral compass, And not-subtly-disguised voice of the author. guiding her family and friends through their struggles towards a more realized life

Parenting – a persistent background topic in the Vorkosigan saga – is called to the forefront in this novel. The series has given me some of my favorite quotes on what it’s like to be a parent and Gentleman Jole adds its own description of the transfiguration all parents endure:

Everybody has it wrong way round. Parents don’t make children—children make parents. They shape our behavior from the first wail. Mold us into what they need. It can be a pretty rough process, too.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Chapter 16

“We become what our circumstances demand of us” is a recurrent message of the Vorkosigan saga. Improving our environment is one of the best ways to improve ourselves, so it our duty to create a better world, for all of us.