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.
This is, to some extent, the tale regarding the circumstances around the birth of a baby. It is true the baby is of noble blood and the circumstances are full of treachery and blood, with the heroics of mother outshining the wisdom of generals. It, however, is still his tale and his birth is both a delight and a bitter draught. Born into power and into pain in sorrow, this baby's coming heralds much.
The setting is very interesting with characters from different planets and backgrounds. The characters all have interesting points of view. The story has action and interpersonal relationships. Fun!
Barrayar starts the same day as Bujold’s first Vorkosigan novel, Shards of Honor, leaves off. It fills in the drama that takes place during Cordelia’s pregnancy with Miles that was alluded to in The Warrior’s Apprentice. Written with the typical pace and wit that this series has become known for, this action packed installment won yet another well deserved Hugo Award for Ms. Bujold. If you’ve made it this far into the series, come back to old friends and enjoy the ride.
Cordelia Naismith – now Lady Vorkosigan – takes up the lead role that had been laid down for the future based books about her son. While Miles’ quick thinking and preternatural skill of getting himself into one jam after another can be good reading, it’s a nice change of pace to read how Cordelia solves problems that she did not take part in creating. Her strength and resiliency grounds the story in a way only adults can.
The tale essentially becomes one of survival as civil war breaks out on Barrayar as the old guard of politicians try to keep the newly appointed Regent Aral Vorkosigan out of power following the Emporer’s death. Evading assassination attempts, capture, and betrayal, Cordelia and the faithful Sergeant Bothari must do what they can to remain free – and keep her unborn child Miles alive. The story builds quickly into an all out sprint that doesn’t end until all Barryar has been changed. Yet again, the Vorkosigans are at the middle of events that shake the galaxy. Just a normal tale for this family.
Few authors provide such easy and enjoyable reading as Lois Bujold. Even if you’re not a science fiction reader, these stories are about the inner and outer struggles of life. Plus they’re a whole lot of fun. Highly recommended!
Audible listeners: Grover Gardner is a great reader!
7 stars out of 10
I loved this whole book. Seriously. I liked the previous (chronologically) book but it had a few things that annoyed me. This one, however, was just right. Lots of action, lots of weird cultural things to learn about, both Barrayaran and Betan), further development of a number of characters from the previous book and a few new ones, weird technology, crazy politics and military shenanigans, outdoorsy action, just the whole gamut of interesting plots and places. This book made me laugh and cry and both shocked and amazed me, at times.
By the end of this book, the reader knows quite a bit about Barrayar, its culture and history and so forth. The reader learns along with the protagonist, Cornelia. We also learn about Cornelia's home, the Betan colony, through contrasts in technology, culture, beliefs, and behavior become apparent.
I listened to this book on audible, mostly, and read parts as well. The narrater, Grover Gardner, is excellent.
I can't wait to move on to the next book in the series chronology.
I've read or listened to everyone of the books in this series and know that I will again, and again.
Between the authors writing and the narrators narration you become lost in another world. Isn't that what we read these things for?
Do yourself a favor and get started now.
I am at a loss to explain how much I enjoy her writing. I need her writing talents to give her just praise and adoration, and if I try, I risk sounding like a potential infatuated stalker. I will say if you enjoy science fiction at its most authentic in scale and quality, you will find no better author to follow today.
Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work
This is a later novel in the Vorkosigan Adventure. Story holds together well - bit slow getting started. The ending is pretty good. The performance is good.
it's often surprising, and funny, and gives great insight into the characters, with lots of action, too
great with the voices, the pacing ... making the book even better, without putting his performance in the forefront.
I've read them all, and the audio versions are even better than print.
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