There are less interesting info dumps on the biology, technology of the ‘verse as well as summaries, timelines, genealogy, a basic star map and an encyclopaedia.
This is a nice tie-in to the shelf of any Lois McMaster Bujold fan. It would be nice if her ‘Sharing Knife’ and ‘Chalion’ books got similar guides someday.
It does herald another major change in the Vorkosigan universe and tells an interesting tale about death and the cheating of and or acceptance thereof. ‘Cyroburn’ just has no spark and Miles’ domestic life has become almost as tiresome as his idiot pack of pet mercenaries did earlier in the series.
The royal family have been torn apart and thrown down by betrayal and ambition. Now they have to pick themselves back up again as the saga continues.
The dumb as dirt kingsdaughter Piro is a slave serving the murderers of her family. She must scheme to survive and forge a new destiny as the old one has been swept away.
Her brother Fyn plots and schemes to help their elder brother Byrne reclaim the land but Fyn keeps falling into conspiracies and plots which test his familial loyalty.
As for the put upon Byren he is now the uncrowned king but his throne is occupied by his cousin the traitorous (and ludicrously named) Cobalt. Byren fights to take what he never really wanted: the crown.
Everyone keeps secrets, withholds information and pursues their own selfish agenda thus ensuring the Chronicles Of King Rolen’s Kin will fill many, many more books. This is good but Byren is still too trusting after all he has been through. His parents turned against him and his twin brother tried to kill him on numerous occasions. Still this saga is addictive. So where is Book Four?