Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Three spaceships in orbit in a red/orange space sceneWhy I read it:  This is one from my own TBL.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station, in distant Quaddiespace, after a bloody incident on the station docks involving a security officer from the convoy’s Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar’s Emperor Gregor, Miles, Gregor’s youngest Imperial Auditor (a special high-level troubleshooter) has no choice but to answer.

Waiting on Graf Station are diplomatic snarls, tangled loyalties, old friends, new enemies, racial tensions, lies and deceptions, mysterious disappearances, and a lethal secret with wider consequences than even Miles anticipates: a race with time for life against death in horrifying new forms.

The downside of being a troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back . . .

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  A year and a half has passed since Miles and Ekaterin wed in A Civil Campaign. They are enjoying the tail-end of a belated honeymoon and are planning to return to Barrayar in plenty of time for the birth of their twins – Aral Alexander and Helen Natalia – gestating away in uterine replicators. However the plan goes awyr, as Miles’s plans often do, when Emperor Gregor calls upon Miles to sort out a diplomatic disaster in Quaddie Space. (I first learned about quaddies in Falling Free and those who have read or listened to the book will recognise some of the names mentioned here. Falling Free takes place hundreds of years before Diplomatic Immunity and quaddies and downsiders from the first book have now become part of the quaddie cultural heritage.)

Moonshadow by Thea Harrison, narrated by Sophie Eastlake

hot guy in dark suit with white shirt mostly open, in front of an eerie blue/green city scapeWhy I read it:  I’m a fan of the series. I made a smart decision to pre-order the ebook for $2.99 and then I got the audio version on a Whispersync special for $1.99 which on any view is an absolute bargain.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the UK to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love….

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Other than that the book is set in the UK and follows the European Elder Races, I knew nothing much about the book before starting it. I’ve enjoyed the previous books enough to know that I was going to like it to one degree or another and sometimes it’s fun to see where a story takes me with no expectations (beyond enjoyment) whatsoever.

Moonshadow is book 10 of the Elder Races and book 1 of the Moonshadow series. It becomes apparent throughout the story that the Moonshadow series arc (which I understand will comprise of three books) is about defeating Queen Isabeau of the European Light Fae Court and restoring King Oberon of the European Dark Fae Court to health and, presumably, his rightful place on Earth. Moonshadow, however focuses closely on Sophie Ross and Nikolas Sevigny and restoring a crossover pathway from Lyonesse, the seat of the Dark Court, to England/the Earth.

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