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Mirror Dance: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel | [Lois McMaster Bujold]

Mirror Dance: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

The dwarfish, fetally damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson's Whole, things get really messy.
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Publisher's Summary

The dwarfish, fetally damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson's Whole, things get really messy.

The mission goes awry, Miles' rescue attempt goes even more wrong, and Miles ends up killed and placed in cryogenic suspension for future resuscitation. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, the cryo-container is lost! Now it is up to the confused, disturbed Mark to either take Miles' place as heir of the Vorkosigan line or redeem himself by finding and saving Miles.

Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.

©1994 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[A]s good a story as ever was offered as science fiction, with Bujold's carefully crafted prose, logical working out of even minor plot points, and inimitable wit all very much in evidence. Deserves the highest recommendation and a hoard of eager readers." (Booklist)
"[An] intricate and rousing new installment of the Vorkosigan adventures....Bujold creates a tapestry of variegated human societies dispersed throughout a colorful galaxy. She peoples it with introspective but genuine heroes who seize the reader's imagination and intellect." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Paul Mc Galey Ireland 08-10-09
    Paul Mc Galey Ireland 08-10-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Excellent book, but needs editing?"

    Love the Vorkosigan series (and particularly Gardners' narrations) and this is one of the best. Looking forward to the release of Barrayar later this year.

    Would definitely recommend finishing some of the earlier titles before starting this one - I would start with "The Warrior's Apprentice" and continue in chronological or publication order but whatever you do, make sure to get through "Brothers in Arms" before this book.

    A very small oddity with this book - it's like they forgot to edit it in places. Gardner occasionally repeats himself, at times with different emphasis or other times where he had got tongue-tied and re-read a sentence. However, this doesn't detract enough from the book for me to give it less than 5 stars. Enjoy!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 02-15-13
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 02-15-13 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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    "Suspenseful and Satisfying Space Opera of Identity"

    To read the first chapter of Lois McMaster Bujold's Mirror Dance (1994) is to receive a stimulating shock. That's because the previous four novels (in internal chronology) in her entertaining, character-driven space opera series featuring Miles Vorkosigan have all been narrated from his point of view, so that when Mirror Dance begins with the perceptions of a 4' 9" tall guy who's self-conscious about his "dwarfish" stature and large head, we assume that it's Miles. But, down to his last chance, he is too malevolent and hates his body too much and has some major identity issues. Wait! It's not Miles but his psychologically damaged and brilliant clone ("brother!") Mark attempting to pass himself off as Miles so as to lead a squad of mercenaries on a quixotic and dangerous mission to rescue fifty cloned kids from their crèche on Jackson's Whole, a planet of crime syndicate houses. Though the clones believe that their parents will come to get them, in fact their brains will be discarded as medical waste to free up their young bodies to house the brains of aged and wealthy clients. Mark desperately wants his gambit to succeed, because he sympathizes with the clones and wants to strike a blow against the clone body harvesting industry and because he needs to prove himself to be as capable as his charismatic and successful older "brother" Miles in order to form his own identity. Thus whenever one of Miles' mercenaries lights up when mistaking him for Miles, Mark's resentment towards his progenitor grows.

    After this disorienting opening, Bujold alternates point of view chapters between the two young men as the clone discovers that leading a Miles-esque mission is not so easy and Miles discovers that cleaning up after his clone ("brother!") is not so easy either. Throughout the novel, Bujold explores identity--through clones (e.g., how a clone feels towards his or her famous progenitor), gender (e.g., how a hermaphrodite receives and resists male or female classifications), torture (e.g., how a person's personality is exposed and fragmented by torture), death (e.g., how people who die and revive may forget who they were), families (e.g., how siblings shape each other's personalities), and roles (e.g., how an emperor plays a simulacrum of an emperor). The book demonstrates how we form our identities by seeing ourselves mirrored in the people around us.

    Despite a few hiccupy-repetitions that should have been edited out, Grover Gardener gives his usual engaging reading of a Miles novel. He is Miles and Mark! His treatment of the slurred speech of Miles and the slow speech of Sergeant Taura is particularly appealing.

    In her Vorkosigan books, Bujold does not write sublime descriptions of nature, space, or artifacts ala Iain Banks or Alistair Sinclair, but her vision of human nature is at times as bracingly dark as theirs, and she is just as good at creating compelling main characters and political situations. Mirror Dance is the most disturbing, moving, and satisfying of the five books featuring Miles that I've read so far (including Warrior's Apprentice, The Vor Game, Cetaganda, and Brothers in Arms). Although it would be best enjoyed and understood in the context of the previous books, it can stand on its own. Bujold is so good at writing believable characters we care about and want to watch in action that she leaves us wanting even more. I'm looking forward to spending time with Miles and Mark in future books in the series.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Hamburg, Germany 06-29-07
    Thomas Hamburg, Germany 06-29-07 Member Since 2006
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    "Don't start the Vorkosigan Saga with this but ..."

    This is one of the Miles Vorkosigan saga which is mainly about his clone brother Mark. As the rest of it, it is read exceedingly well by Grove Gardner. You will most certainly enjoy it as much as the others of the series but even more so if you don't listen to it, before you have a fair idea who Miles is. As probably all the others of the readers/listeners I have been following with a lot of fun the development and adventures of this brilliant hero, who overcomes his physical limitations with brains and wits. His 'idiot clone brother' who has his first appearance in 'Brothers in Arms' where he was quite an irritating but still minor appearance, plays in this book the lead. And believe it or not, you will be coming close to liking him as much as you do like Miles. Nearly as much but of course in a very different way:)

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan Bayfield, CO, United States 03-25-08
    Nathan Bayfield, CO, United States 03-25-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great action, plot, and characters!"

    I skipped all the previous novels in this series and picked it up cold from this one. Well this one set the hook. I really loved it! I liked the character development. I liked the action. I found some to detailed torture segments to be too detailed and I admit that on 2 or 3 occasions I fast forwarded because I could not take the hard core torture scenes (and I am an avid 24 series watcher). So that is the only reason I had to give this one 4 stars instead of 5. But all and all I really enjoyed this one and the books after this just got better and better. Love the series! If you like the 'Prince Roger' series by David Weber and John Ringo then you will love these too!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2009

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

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    "One of the best Vorkosigan books"

    Mirror Dance is a wonderfully plotted book with great characters, madcap adventure, tons of tension and plenty of laughs. It won the Hugo Award and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1995. Grover Gardner is amazing.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Howard Coastal Oregon 02-17-10
    Kelly Howard Coastal Oregon 02-17-10 Member Since 2008
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    "another winner from LMB (& GG)"

    Another of Bujold's terrific Miles Vorkosigan books, with another outstanding reading by Grover Gardner. I swear, I wish he read all audiobooks, he does such an excellent job of letting the book come alive without ever getting in the way.
    I love Bujold's sense of humor, and Miles is one of my favorite characters in a long time, a hero without that annoying perfection that plagues so many heros, making them seem inhuman. The introduction of Mark, sort of an anti-Miles, lends extra depth. This plot is a bit more complicated than her others, but not overly so.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 03-30-12
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 03-30-12 Member Since 2009

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "Relaxing Sci-fi Adventure"

    One of the previous reviewers suggested that you should not start the Miles Vorkosigan saga with this book. However after Audible included "Mirror Dance" for the umpteenth time in one of their specials, I succumbed to the temptation to buy it.

    For a newcomer to the Vorkosigans, I must say, I really enjoyed the book. "Mirror Dance" could go through for a stand-alone story. As it is not a stand-alone, I have decided to start at the beginning of the saga and listen to every book.

    What I liked about the book, was that is was a basic adventure story with good character development, but without serious underlying life lessons. Miles Vorkosigan is very much the James Bond of outer-space. In this story there was enough to keep you guessing without giving everything away.

    I thought Grover Gardner did an excellent job in bring the characters to life. I find that it is easy to listen to his voice, I seldom opted out and then for a period of one or two minutes. I could rewind and relisten to the passage. One thing that I picked up that might be a minus, is the fact that Gardner's mistakes were not edited out. While you do get find that a mistaken reading with its re-reading slips in at the best audio books, I stopped counting the unedited re-readings at five.

    If you want to relax and don't want to worry about missing a little detail here and there, needs some action and one or two cunning twists, "Mirror Dance" might just be the book for you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas W. Gleason Minneapolis, MN 03-20-09
    Thomas W. Gleason Minneapolis, MN 03-20-09 Member Since 2006

    Tom Gleason

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    "Vorkosigen Rocks"

    This is one of the best Si-Fi series I have read. The characters are just outstanding, the science is realistic, not crazy, and deals with how genetic manipulation and cloning could affect human relations. But Bujold has wonderful things to say about life and its struggles regardless of the Si-Fi, which she does with a deft, not a heavy hand. The plots are great. If you have read the series in order, this book will grab you and won't let you go. One of the most original plot ideas I have encountered, but if I say why, I will give away the storyline too much.. enjoy the series! The best place to start, available from Audible, is The Warriors Apprentice, but the series actually starts with Shards of Honor, and the universe she creates begins with Falling Free.. here is a link to her web site: http://www.dendarii.com/biblio.html

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Knoxville, MD, United States 01-13-08
    Bruce Knoxville, MD, United States 01-13-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Mirror Dance"

    It took me a couple of seconds to catch my balance when I started Mirror Dance because I had not read any other Vorkosigan novels. I had only read the author’s fantasy novels. I will have to add more Lois McMaster Bujold my to read list. I was quickly able to get my bearings and found Mirror Dance to be full of interesting characters and ideas. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to my catch up Vorkosigan reading. The narrator did an excellent job.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Germanton, NC, USA 06-17-07
    Mary Germanton, NC, USA 06-17-07
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    "Mirror Dance Review"

    This is a book by my favorite author, set in my favorite of her universes. And it lives up to that promise. Mark Vorkosigan (Miles' younger clone-brother) not only wins his battles with the illegal cloning business, he becomes more of a human being in the process. It's a coming-of-age story with exciting action and is well worth reading.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 33 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Catriona
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    1/10/08
    Overall
    "as good as ever"

    Bujold's books are ones I can re and re-read. Grover Gardner's narration adds to the pleasure

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    9/10/07
    Overall
    "Marvellous"

    At the very pinnacle of Miles's career as a mercenary commander, disaster strikes. Bujold does a marvellous job of showing what Miles means to everyone by removing him from the centre of the story for an extended period. Instead, the story is told from the perspective of Miles's clone brother Mark, providing us with another marvellous character and a fresh perspective on Miles himself. It's witty, insightful and poignant by turns.
    Incidentally, the publisher's summary of this novel is a disgrace. It tells far too much of the story and actually gets some facts wrong.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsey
    SuttonUnited Kingdom
    7/28/07
    Overall
    "Engrossing"

    I bought this because it was a Bujold, didn't remember it as being so good. I really enjoyed finding out about Lord Mark and how his personality got so fractured. did all the ironing, vacuumed, walked the dog... really enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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