Bujold dedicates her new novel to the Bront's, Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Sayers, which gives a pretty good indication of the territory she's staked out in this well-done addition to her popular Miles Vorkosigan series. Miles, forced by ill heath to give up his military career and having embarked on a second career as an Imperial Auditor (a kind of peripatetic judge and ambassador), is madly in love with the beautiful and brilliant Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Unfortunately, Ekaterin is the recent widow of a crooked government official whose death Miles holds himself partially responsible for. Their courtship is made even more difficult by a series of interrelated events. First, Emperor Gregor is getting married, and Miles, like everyone else in the government, is caught up in the complex social and diplomatic whirl surrounding the impending nuptials. Second, Miles's disaster-prone clone brother, Mark, has concocted a scheme to make a fortune marketing "butter bugs," unattractive, cockroachlike creatures that secrete a bland tofulike food product. Worse, Mark has set up his laboratory in Vorkosigan House, the bugs have gotten loose and Miles's parents, Lord Aral and Lady Cordelia, are due home any second. And then there's the dirty infighting going on in the Council of Counts over who should inherit two vacant districts, plus an attempt to frame Miles for murder. Through all these often hilarious and occasionally dangerous incidents, Miles strives heroically to keep his eye on the prize -- the winning of Ekaterin's hand in marriage. Bujold successfully mixes quirky humor with just enough action, a dab of feminist social commentary and her usual superb character development in a sprightly SF romance that her many fans will find enormously satisfying.