The flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Subterranean, 2019. ISBN 9781596068926. 96pg.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Lovers of Bujold's Hugo Award winning Miles Vorkosigan series will rejoice to discover a short stand-alone novel starring Ekaterin, Miles' clever wife who is determined to help Vashnoi exclusion zone that was been devastated by radiation when the Centagandans attacked the planet. With the help of scientist Enrique Borgos, she has attempted to use bioengineered insects to regenerate a region but when checking on the experiment finds that some have been stolen. Further investigation from the air uncovers the fact that there are four individuals living in the area. It is up to her to help them leave Vashnoi for medical treatment.
Ekaterin is clever and empathetic and readers will enjoy getting to know her character and her abilities in this short work. She emerges a formidable woman who is equally as compassionate and intelligent as her husband and is very good at problem solving. The unique science behind the bioengineered insects is also fascinating.
Fans who want to know more about the planet Barrayar and Miles' wife will not be disappointed and readers new to Bujold's work will discover a satisfying short stand-alone read that will have them searching for the Miles Vorkosigan series.
Pat Pledger