A Civil Campaign
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Cover of the first edition
|Author||Lois McMaster Bujold|
|Audio read by||Grover Gardner|
|Cover artist||Patrick Turner|
|Published||1999 (Baen Books)|
|Followed by||Diplomatic Immunity|
A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in September 1999. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the thirteenth full-length novel in publication order. It is included in the 2008 omnibus Miles in Love. The title is an homage to the Georgette Heyer novel A Civil Contract and, like Heyer's historical romances, the novel focuses on romance, comedy, and courtship. It is dedicated to "Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy", likely the novelists Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Georgette Heyer, and Dorothy L. Sayers or Dorothy Dunnett.
Miles Vorkosigan is trying to woo the recently widowed Ekaterin Vorsoisson, but fearing that an open approach would drive her away, he tries an indirect approach: to get to see her frequently and knowing of her ambition to become a gardener, he hires her to design a garden for Vorkosigan House.
His clone brother Mark also has romance problems. He and Kareen Koudelka became lovers in Beta Colony, but the sexual mores of conservative Barrayar are much stricter, and she keeps their relationship a secret from her family.
A significant subplot involves Mark's first entrepreneurial venture: funding research on a genetically engineered insect called the "butter bug," capable of eating all kinds of waste vegetation and regurgitating as a nutritious, edible goo that Miles baptizes as "bug vomit".
Meanwhile, two seats on the powerful Council of Counts are up for grabs, one because the current Count Vorbretten has been found to be part Cetagandan, dating back to the days of the Cetagandan occupation of Barrayar. The vacant countship of the late Pierre Vorrutyer is contested by a distant cousin, Richars, and Pierre's sister, Donna, who has undergone gender reassignment surgery, becoming a fully functional man in order to improve his chances at the title. Lord Dono, who as Donna had an affair with Ivan Vorpatril and her cousin Byerly, turns to Ivan for assistance and advice.
As his father's proxy, Miles is courted by both sides. After Richars tries to blackmail him to gain his vote, Miles throws his support behind Dono. He also suggests Dono and Count Vorbretten team up.
When Miles hosts a dinner party to introduce Ekaterin to his family and friends, Simon Illyan inadvertently blurts out Miles intentions, at the point known to all guests but Ekaterin herself. She leaves hastily after he panics and asks her to marry him. Also, Kareen's parents find about her relationship with Mark and forbid her to have any contact with him.
The events at the dinner party become widely known and contribute to rumours about Miles's part on the death of Ekaterin's husband. Due to security reasons, Miles is unable to defend himself. Another suitor of Ekaterin makes the rumors known to Ekaterin's family, who forbid her to see or talk to Miles under the threat of withdrawing custody of Nikki, Ekaterin's son. Prevented from seeing Miles, Ekaterin begins to realize that she may love him.
Mark turns for help to his mother Cordelia, who manages to convince Kareen's parents to give their approval to his relationship with Kareen. Kareen enlists the help of Ekaterin to make the butter bugs aesthetically appealing, and the help of Miles' cook to devise recipes based on the butter, to create marketable products.
Dono is attacked by thugs hired by Richars who attempt to castrate him, to reverse his sex change, but he manages to escape thanks to the help of Ivan and Kareen's sister Olivia. In a tumultuous Council session, they expose Richars. When Richars attempts to deflect attention to the support given by Miles to Dono and accuses Miles of killing Ekaterin's husband, Ekaterin steps in and publicly proposes marriage to Miles. At the end, Dono gains the countship and Richars is arrested, and Count Vorbretten also retains his seat.
A little later the imperial wedding takes place, with Miles and Ekaterin attending as a couple, and Mark and Kareen presenting their first bug butter product to great success. Count and Countess Vorbretten announce they're expecting their first child, and Dono announces he's engaged to Olivia.
Like its predecessor, this novel tells its story from the viewpoints of both Miles and Ekaterin, on occasion switching from one to the other during a given scene. There are also the viewpoints of Mark, Kareen Koudelka, and even Ivan Vorpatril, whose interior life had not been described at all before.
A Civil Campaign was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards in 2000.
- Walton, Jo (15 April 2009). "She's getting away! Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign". Tor.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- David Langford (August 2003). Up Through an Empty House of Stars. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 263–4. ISBN 978-1-59224-055-5.
- John Lennard (1 January 2010). Of Sex and Faerie: Further Essays on Genre Fiction. Humanities-Ebooks. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-1-84760-171-1.
- "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-02-07.