Political intrigue, culture clash and romance make a stirring mix in this award-winning follow-up novel to the acclaimed Shards of Honor.
In the wake of interplanetary war, former commander Cordelia Naismith has deserted her own planet to marry the leader of the defeated enemy, Aral Vorkosigan. On his home planet of Barrayar, two rival factions are eyeing the recently vacated throne, and Aral, recently appointed Regent of Barrayar by the Emperor on his deathbed, must stand between them.
Lord and Lady Vorkosigan, Aral and Cordelia struggle to establish stability in a fragile government thrown into confusion by the transition of power and the threat of civil war. When a palace coup endangers the government, their lives, and her unborn son, Cordelia takes action to secure the safety of her new family and new home.
Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.
©1991 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Another entertaining Bujold novel (I expect no less). Barrayar won the Hugo Award. This books shows us the culture in Barrayar, the Vorkosigan home planet, and explains how Miles, the protagonist of most of the VORKOSIGAN books, became deformed.
I am listening to the Vorkosigan books in order, as many recommend. So this is my second one, after Shards of Honor. I enjoyed the first book, and like the second one even more.
While listening to this book on my way to work and back home, I often find myself drive slower or even stay parked in the driveway to hear how the story develops. Particularly the latter part of this book (I won't spoil anything) keeps you on the edge of your seat as the pace picks up and tension mounts to the climax. And then you are still left wondering what happened to certain crucial characters in the book.
So, the book has plenty of action. Fine and well worth reading for that. Where it exceeds a normal action book is the depth of its characters: Aral, Cordelia and to a lesser extent Piotr, Bothari, Kou and Drou can be understood and up to a point empathise with. The star of course is Cordelia, who almost always seem to keep her nerve and never rises to pure emotional reactions.
This is maybe the only drawback of this book, and that is where I give it 4 instead of 5 stars. Aral and Cordelia are a bit too perfect for me. Sure, they get mad, and make emotional decisions. But they seem to never be overwhelmed, or too upset to think clearly, even when the world around them is in total chaos. This makes the book a bit too predictable at critical times, because you feel what the right decision would be (for A or C) and that is also what they do in the story.
Nonetheless, thoroughly enjoyable for readers of soft SF (no robots or aliens) who are also interested in character development.
Grover Gardner is a fine reader.
This is the one that explains Miles' physical limitations to us all, for the books to come. It also gives us a good look into Barrayaran politics, which is important to understanding the "why" of most of what happens later.
These books are ALL wonderful, and you can't go wrong reading, um, listening to them.
This is like a prequel to the Miles Vorkosigan series. It was enjoyable to get to know Miles parents and what they went through to bring Miles into this world. Their personalities are funny as well as courageous and down-to-earth inspite of their high standing in their world. I read A Civil Campaign first, which is like almost the last one in the Miles Vorkosigan series and then this book. So, now I guess I need to read in between some.... Funny, romantic, dramatic, adventurous -- it's all there.
Life-long reader, 10 years listening
Last summer when I listened to the end of "Shards of Honor" I immediately began anticipating the release of the rest of Cordelia's story in "Barrayar". Grover Gardner's voice once again brought the characters to life, and made the story even better than reading it does. I found new insights and new questions about the story and the interactions between the characters. Well done!!
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
An excellent back-fill of Miles' origins. I really liked how characters that play a big role later in Miles' life are introduced and developed here. Cordelia is also interesting as a character on her own - trying to make it in a world very different from her home planet.
There is no confusion as to what political stance Bujold holds, but it isn't overwhelming or condescending. There's enough action and suspense to keep the story moving forward, but the book has a huge character and society development component to it. After the denouement there is still quite a bit of "story" to read - there is no action or suspense in this part, but it's very interesting if you really want to know how Miles (and his compatriots) came to be.
The narrator is the same as in the rest of the Miles' books - he does a good job but, since the main character is Cordelia, it was a bit odd to hear the voice I associated with Miles in the other books when Cordelia was talking.
A lover of good music, good stories and intelligent non-fiction.
A can't-put-down follow-up to the 1st book in the series. It features a strong, intelligent lead character who has a great sense of humor, palace and political intrigue and a civil war.
Really well written. I can't wait to start on the next book in the series.
Lois McMaster Bujold is a talented writer. I love all her books. Her Vorkosigan Series is most enjoyable. This particular is based mainly on Miles Vorkosigan's parents, Aral and Cordelia.
Both have very strong characters. The politics in Barayar caused a lot of upheavals. There was a rival staging a coup, luckily Aral have loyal allies and good prevailed. A plot full of suspense and action. A very good series to follow.
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