book reviews by Althea

The Mountains of Mourning – Lois McMaster Bujold *****

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This novella deserves the awards it received.

Miles Vorkosigan, member of the upper echelon of his society, is sent to investigate a case of infanticide in one of the poorest villages under his family’s governance.
Miles suffers from various birth defects – but his privileged status has protected him from the worst of his society’s vicious prejudice against ‘mutants.’
Ironically, neither Miles not the murdered baby, who was born with a cleft palate, were actual ‘mutants,’ but that doesn’t stop people from looking at Miles with disgust, or the majority of the village from dismissing or minimizing the crime committed.

A well-crafted tale, which explores the complexities of prejudice, the difficulties of navigating a changing society, and the nature of justice, all with sensitivity. At the same time, it’s also an exciting and gripping murder-mystery.


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