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Lois McMaster Bujold

barrayar and beyond

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Bujold currently writes the best space opera around. Most of her books involve the Barrayaran Empire, and a particular fellow named Miles Vorkosigan. Miles is the son of Count Aral Vorkosigan, arguably the most powerful man in the empire after the emperor himself; for a good bit of the series, in fact, the emperor is underage, and Aral is the Regent. Aral is also an extremely competent admiral in the Barrayaran space navy; Miles' grandfather, Piotr, was just as a good a general. (Military prowess is an important part of life on Barrayar). Now, due to a gas attack on Mile's parents while he was in utero, Miles is small; fragile; somewhat misshapen. An easy fall can easily break one or more of his bones. But he is also ambitious, honorable, brilliant, quick-thinking (though not always far-seeing), and refuses to let his handicaps slow him down.

In the first book about Miles, The Warrior's Apprentice, he washes out of the Barrayaran navy, and is sent to his mother's home planet of Beta Colony to go to school. Instead, in one of the funniest rollercoaster rides I've ever read, step-by-logical-step, he ends up admiral of an entire mercenary fleet. Other books about Miles include (in no particular order) The Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, Cetaganda, The Borders of Infinity, Mirror Dance, and Memory. Bujold has also written two books about Mile's parents, entitled Shards of Honor and Barrayar; these have recently been republished in a single volume entitled Cordelia's Honor.

I've read many of these books aloud to Jane with great delight. While not overly graphic, I wouldn't recommend them for children.

Vorkosigan Novels (in approximate series order)

Shards of Honor
Reviews: 1 July 1999, 1 January 2002
Reviews: 1 July 1999, 1 January 2002
Cordelia's Honor
Omnibus edition containing the full text of Shards of Honor and Barrayar.
The Warrior's Apprentice
Reviews: 1 July 1999, 1 January 2002
The Vor Game
Reviews: 1 January 2002, 1 October 2002
The Borders of Infinity
Reviews: 1 January 2002
Young Miles
Omnibus edition containing The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game, and "The Mountains of Mourning" from The Borders of Infinity.
Reviews: 1 January 2002, 1 October 2002
Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem
Omnibus edition containing Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, and "Labyrinth" from The Borders of Infinity.
Brothers in Arms
Reviews: 1 January 2002
Mirror Dance
Reviews: 1 May 1998, 1 January 2002
Reviews: 1 January 1997, 1 May 1998, 1 January 2002
Reviews: 1 June 1998, 1 December 2001
A Civil Campaign
Reviews: 1 September 1999, 1 December 2001, 1 November 2002
Diplomatic Immunity
Reviews: 1 July 2002


This is a fantasy series which takes place in a fantasy world somewhat reminiscent of Spain on the eve of the Reconquista. One could also think of it as theological science fiction.

The Curse of Chalion
Reviews: 1 October 2001, 1 November 2003, 1 January 2004
Paladin of Souls
Reviews: 1 November 2003

Other Books

Falling Free
Ethan of Athos
Reviews: 1 January 2002, 1 October 2002
The Spirit Ring
Dreamweaver's Dilemma
Reviews: 1 June 1999

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