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.
one picky reader!
This is the second part of the omnibus novelization of her books Shards of Honor and Barryar (since released in one title as the book "Cordelia's Honor") and if you haven't read Shards of Honor yet, you have to start there. Cordelia (and in later books her son Miles) are some of the best protagonists in all of fiction, not just sci-fi. Science fiction as a whole is notoriously littered with books that have really nifty aliens and spaceships.... and really wooden characters spouting ridiculous dialogue. This is one of those rare gems that gets every part of the writing RIGHT. Yes, there's space travel and fascinating outer-space-worlds-of-the-future to explore here, and the world-building is top notch: but this would be an outstanding book in ANY genre; on depth of characterization alone. Cordelia is blazingly smart, warm-hearted, loyal, and very witty (by the second chapter you'll feel like you've always known her, because Bujold's just that darn good), and she has one adventure and/or crisis to handle after another in this great book: and every beat of the story plays out as absolutely REAL; every character is fully fleshed out and multi-dimensional, the fallout from every decision is realistically portrayed. It's a mash-up of the best possible space opera, the best possible soap opera, and the best possible character studies out there - just hurry and download this thing; you can thank me later!
As a longtime reader of Bujold's, I was delighted to discover Grover Gardner's terrific audio versions of all of her books- but where was Barrayar???
At last it is available and it is well worth the wait. Whether you are a first time listener to the Vorkosigan saga, or have been reading the adventures of Miles and his family, you will absolutely enjoy hearing this one read aloud. Gardner's characterizations are dead-on as always, and it was wonderful to hear Bothari, Cordelia, Aral, Drou and Kou and all these memorable characters brought so vividly to life.
Gardner does a great job of going 'back in time' with these characters. Other books in the series (other than 'Shards of Honor' the earliest written and probably the weakest of the entire group) take place later in time, so I really have to say how subtly and believably Gardner uses his voice to make all the characters younger, and different from their older incarnations in other books.
It doesn't matter if you are new to Bujold and the series or an old fan. Barrayar will suck you in and keep you listening. After hearing it, I immediately went back and listened to the whole series again.
Finally available at Audible! One of the best in the Vorkosigan saga, and Cordelia remains one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. The phrase
'going shopping' takes on an entirely different meaning by the end of the book.
I've been waiting for a long time for Audible to offer this audiobook, which I think of as the second half of the book started in "Shards of Honor." "Barrayar" is everything that makes for good listening--a fascinating plot and great characters. In this book, Cordelia must protect both the child emperor and her unborn son while her husband, as the new Regent of Barrayar, struggles to end a Pretender's civil war to take control of the throne.
While these older books in the saga aren't necessary to understand the newer books which feature Miles, they do add a lot of depth. It's great to understand the background and motivations of the characters that take secondary roles in the later books.
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers with sarcasm are my favorites.
It is amazing how many credits you can blow through when you find an incredible writer & series (or multiple series). I haven't found anything of LMB's that I haven't enjoyed.
This is book 2 about Miles' extraordinary parents and friends. I absolutely adore Cordelia. She is the type of woman that many of us wish to be, honest, strong in will, determined, and she has great taste in mates & friends. Aral Vorkosigan is a man looking for something and someone to live for and Cordelia is the one who helps guide him as well as love & understand him.
I love the back stories of other major characters in the series: Bothari, Illyan, Kuo, Drou, Gregor Vorbarra....
I enjoyed this book. I was new to the author and the series. The characters and the background to the culture are developed as a byproduct of the story which I like. This allows action to be intertwined with narrative. Well narrated.
The first, “Shards of Honor,” introduced Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Barrayar. You wouldn’t have to read/listen to it prior to this one, though I strongly suggest you do. This book tells of their first year together on Barrayar. It’s a rough one. I loved the first book—great sic-fi romance. This one was even better, though less of a romance and more anthropological/socialogical sci-fi. Cordelia’s wry humor worked well with the political intrigue and the difficulties of learning to negotiate a different culture. The writing is finely done without overwhelming or slowing the story down. There’s enough action with the intrigue to keep the pace moving, but it’s the characters who make the story. The ending immensely satisfying, while still setting up for more books in the series (which I can’t wait to hear). Though most of the book is from Cordelia’s perspective, the (male) narrator on the audio book did a wonderful job capturing her “voice.”
I had read (and listened to) the rest of the Vorkosigan series (starting with Warrior's Apprentice) twice when I finally got around to this book. I'm actually glad I read it in this order. I think this book would have been enjoyable if read in the proper sequence. But I thoroughly enjoyed learning where and how my favorite characters came to be. I love this series and this book certainly makes a great addition (or start)---I need to work back to Shards of Honor next.
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.
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