Sometimes, the last few pages overshadow the rest of a book - even when those pages have nothing to do with the rest of the story.
In "Cryoburn", Lois McMaster Bujold continues the adventure of Miles Vorkosigan, the diminutive galactic Lord and Imperial Auditor.
After being drugged and kidnapped while investigating corruption on the planet Kibou-daini, Miles awakens in a semi-abandoned building to discover a plot to cover up corporate bungling that will result in the death of thousands. He is rescued by Jin, an orphan and runaway, who is hiding in an underground operation that uses technology to "freeze" the terminally ill until a cure for their disease can be found.
McMaster takes us on a fun journey as Miles tries to unravel the conspiracy on this planet. He is assisted by Jin and by armsman Roic, Miles's right-hand man.
Although Miles is the focus of much of the story, the point of view switches mostly between Jin and Roic. The narrative is in the third person, but the language changes depending on the point of view. Most notably, Roic, refers to Miles as m'lord, while Jin calls him Miles-san.
This is the first time I remember an ethnicity or culture from Earth influencing the story, but it is clear from the names and the language that Kibou-daini is populated by the descendants of the people of Japan.
Bujold drops a bombshell at the end of the story that probably deserves more buildup; but her technique mirrors the random ways that major life events often strike in our lives, so it works.
"Cryoburn" works as a detective story, an adventure story, a science fiction story, and a story of corruption and class struggles.
But it is the final chapter that stays with me.