"Study, mostly." The vivacity his rebuff had so brutally suppressed began to leak back into her face. "Countess Vorkosigan has promised me, if I keep my class standing she'll send me to school on Beta Colony next year!" The light in her eyes focused to a laser-scalpel's edge. "And I can. I'll show them. If Miles can do what he does, I can do this."
―Mark's first meeting with Kareen[src]

A member of the Koudelka family on Barrayar, Kareen Koudelka (kah-REEN koo-DEHL-kuh) was the youngest and, at about five feet nine inches in height, the shortest of four daughters of Kou and Drou.[1]

At age eighteen, she received a scholarship from Cordelia Vorkosigan to spend a year studying at Beta Colony. While she was there, she became romantically involved with Mark Vorkosigan, with whom she forged a lasting partnership.

The two of them spent some of their time on Escobar, and more on Barrayar, though they traveled widely to scout out interesting financial deals to invest in.

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

"Her face was equally rewarding to the eye: electric blue eyes, curving lips. Short loose ash-blonde curls wreathed her head."
―Mark meets Kareen[src]
"Everybody enjoys Kareen. It seems to be her personal superpower."
―Cordelia comments on Kareen's popularity[src]

Kareen was a studious and very friendly young woman with a natural gift for sales. She spent her first year at Beta Colony doing very well in fourteen completely unrelated classes. She partnered extraordinarily well with Mark Vorkosigan, finding top talent aid for his butter bugs venture (food products designed by Ma Kosti and artwork by Ekaterin Vorkosigan) and helping serve as a buffer between his dangerous aura and his clients.[2] Nevertheless, not all from her was sweetness and light: "The pair had the good-cop-bad-cop routine down to an art, Miles thought with admiration, and it would be a naïve observer who concluded that all the bad-cop ideas came from Mark—or the good-cop ones from his partner, for that matter."[3]

Kareen received psycho-therapy training on Beta that assisted her in dealing with Mark's complex psyche. Unlike the Betan therapists she wasn't bothered at all by 'Killer'; 'Howl', on the other hand, creeped her out.

Tributes[edit | edit source]

Kareen Koudelka was named for Princess Kareen Vorbarra, who her mother served as last-person-standing.

Notes and References[edit | edit source]

  1. A Civil Campaign chapter 17
  2. A Civil Campaign, particularly chapter 14
  3. Cryoburn chapter 18
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