Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
As a clone, Mark Vorkosigan looks like his “brother” Miles. He pretends to be Miles’ alternate identity, Admiral Naismith, to take a troop of mercenaries to Jackson Whole, one of the most corrupt planets in the galaxy. It’s the only planet where cloning is allowed – and where he grew up until he was taken to become a weapon to kill Miles’ (and his) father. Fortunately, he has been released from that vendetta. Now he has to learn who he is. In the meantime, he has decided to release some of the clones. He knows they are only alive long enough to donate their bodies for rich peoples’ brain implants. So Mark boards one of Miles’ Dendarii fleet ships, calls in a troop, and takes off for Jackson Whole.
Things don’t go quite as well as Mark hopes. By the time he is on Jackson Whole, Miles and the rest of the Dendarii troop is right behind them. When Mark’s group comes under fire in the escape, Miles and more troops arrive to help them get out. In the escape, Miles is killed. They quickly prepare his body and put him in a cryochamber. Most of the Denarii troops get out of Jackson Whole with almost all of the clones Mark rescued. Miles’ cryochamber doesn’t, though. It disappeared in all the confusion.
Mark has to face the music – on Barrayar. He finally has to meet Count Vorkosigan, the man he was supposed to assassinate, and his wife Lady Vorkosigan. He can’t believe they’re accepting him as family. He hasn’t counted on Cordelia Vorkosigan’s Betayan upbringing and her acceptance of clones. It’s harder for the count to accept him, but he also does. Mark is starting to believe that perhaps he belongs to this family after all. But it’s missing Miles. He has to find his progenitor – his…brother.
Lois McMaster Bujold has a group of fun, light space opera novels in her Vorkosigan series. Despite the shoot em’ fun of these stories, Bujold infuses so much more. Mirror Dance is one of those novels that catches the reader by surprise. It is so much more.
Mirror Dance is great as a rollicking, busy space opera. It’s also a study of acceptance and racism. It’s also a study in self-acceptance. It’s also a study in family and societal changes. Most of the story focuses on Mark and how he is different from Miles despite how he was raised to be a Miles replacement. Bujold builds in nuances without ever seeming to.
The reader can enjoy the top story Bujold provides. It’s the underneath story in Mirror Dance from good to excellent.
Notice: Graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations