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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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