This is an excellent fast-paced romantic adventure comedy. I sped through it in two days and kept giggling to myself. It just leaps from one ludicrous situation to another and yet, the plot still tracks beautifully. I can see why and how these situations came about, and I can also see why and how these characters managed to get themselves into these situations, even if I want to slap them upside the head for doing some of the things they do.
Interestingly, it takes place prior to Cryoburn, which might explain why Cryoburn made so few references to off-planet events in general, less to avoid spoilers than to avoid a sense of WTF?.
There’s an elopement with the use of a box of instant groats, a 100-year-old buried treasure, a 30-year-old hidden bomb, a handful of beautiful ladies (all of whom are extremely wily), a handful of wily men (many of whom are extremely beautiful), cross cultural laws and smuggling rings and bounty hunters. And, in the middle of all of this, is Ivan Vorpatril, who has, much to his dismay, lots of experience regarding such insanity.
In previous books in this series, Ivan generally gets drawn into his cousin Miles’ crazier plots despite his own efforts to remain an innocent bystander. In this book, though, Miles appears in only a quick cameo, and Ivan manages to get involved in a crazy plot all on his own. The book also develops a few other secondary characters from the series, showing more of Byerly Vorrutyer and Simon Illyan than we’ve gotten previously.
While it’s more than a bit self-indulgent, the book maintains its self-indulgence with aplomb and delivers an immensely fun roller-coaster of a story that I enjoyed immensely.