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Memory

[Memory] Memory
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks, 2007
Amazon.com: audio CD, MP3 CD, audio cassette
Amazon.ca: auido CD, MP3 CD, audio cassette
Amazon.co.uk: MP3 CD
Recommended by: Greg Slade

Miles is at the height of his career as "Admiral Naismith." He knows the Dendarii fleet inside and out, he knows how to run covert operations well, and he is recovered from the ghastly events he went through in Mirror Dance. (Well, mostly recovered, anyway.) Then, in typical Miles fashion, he does something supremely stupid, and messes everything up. So, he has to try and fix his mistakes so he can get back to what he loves. The question is, just how much is he willing to sacrifice?

Mirror Dance was pretty dark, so in some ways, Memory came as a bit of relief. Yet I feel that it was more of a challenge to Miles. He has to face up to the fact that, sometimes, he is his own worst enemy, and he also faces the irretrievable loss of what he has considered, up to that point, the most important part of his life. We follow him as he thrashes around, trying to find a way to regain his internal balance and carry on, but his famous "forward momentum" isn't much help when he can't figure out which way is "forward." This book is a critical step in Miles' maturation, and the subsequent books (much as I love them) simply don't make as much sense to people who have not read this one. (In fact, I have been told that A Civil Campaign, which is my personal favourite, is hard to understand without the background from previous books.) The climax of the book for me is when Miles faces up to his internal demons, rather than when he solves the mystery which carries the plot for most of the book. I can't escape the feeling that Miles makes an important step in integrating his character which I have yet to make, so I re-read the book about once a year, looking for further insights into the process of growing up. (March, 2003)

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