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Publisher's Summary

The popular adventures of Miles Vorkosigan, a clever and outlandish science fiction hero for the modern era, continue in these three tales. In The Mountains of Mourning, Miles is dispatched to a back-country region of Barrayar, where he must act as detective, judge, and executioner in a controversial murder case.

In Labyrinth, Miles adopts his alternate persona as Dendarii Mercenary Admiral Naismith for an undercover mission to rescue an important research geneticist from Jackson’s Whole. And in the title story, Miles infiltrates an escape-proof Cetagandan POW camp and plays hero to the most deeply distressed damsel of his colorful career.

Lois McMaster Bujold burst upon the science fiction world in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of the Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has won the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula Award twice. The mother of two, she lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.
©1989 2007 by Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Essential for all sf collections.” ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Melvin
  • Ridgeland, MS, United States
  • 07-10-10

Borders of Infinity

Borders of Infinity is a great stand alone novel for the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan during his early IMSEC missions. As usual, Lois McMaster Bujold is at her best in the world of Barrayar. After enjoying these Heinleinesque adventures of the hyperactive muteeLord Miles, I strongly
recomend them as soon to be Science Fiction Classics, much in the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein and Hal Clement!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 08-29-12

Outstanding Stories - Shows Miles' Motivations

Borders of Infinity is has 3 stories: "The Mountains of Mourning" (winner of a Hugo Award), "Labyrinth", and "The Borders of Infinity". They are strong, well written stories, A must for any fan of the Vorkosigan Series.

Firstly - the connective king narrative is the "weak link" in this book, and I almost wish the author had just produced these as the stories/novellas they are.

Strongly recommended.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Three Strong Novellas, One Weak Frame Story

The Borders of Infinity (1989) collects three novellas from Miles Vorkosigan's early days, connecting them via a framing 'story,' in which Miles is recovering from one of his many surgeries to repair/replace his brittle broken bones, this time in both his arms. Simon Illyan, chief of Barrayaran Imperial Security, visits Miles to get to the bottom of some dodgy accounting for some of Miles' covert operations with the Dendari Mercenaries, for a political enemy of Aral Vorkosigan would like to get at the great man through his son and is working to reveal Miles to be an embezzler of Imperial money. The three novellas, then, are supposedly Miles' explanations of unexplained cost overruns.

The first novella is the painful, moving The Mountains of Mourning (1989). Here 20-year-old Miles is a new ensign on leave after graduating from the Imperial Service Academy when he's assigned by his Count father to solve a case of infanticide and then to administer justice in a backwater hill village of his family district. No matter how difficult, Miles must do the right thing, for his district, for his empire, for his father--and for the dead baby. And it is a personal case because baby Raina's neck was broken for being a 'mutant' (whose 'mutation' was really only a treatable harelip), while Miles is viewed as a 'mutant' by too many Barrayarans (even his own grandfather tried to kill him when he was a baby). Miles finds his raison d'etre: 'Peace to you, small lady, he thought to Raina. You've won a twisted poor modern knight, to wear your favor on his sleeve. But it's a twisted poor world we were both born into, that rejects us without mercy and ejects us without consultation. At least I won't just tilt at windmills for you. I'll send in sappers to mine the twirling suckers, and blast them into the sky.'

Labyrinth (1989), the second novella, presents Miles at 23 in his alter-ego as Admiral Naismith, the leader of the Dendarii Mercenaries (covertly working for the Barrayaran Empire as Miles is really a Lieutenant in Imperial Security). The Dendarii have come to Jackson's Whole, the planet run by crime syndicate Houses (capitalism on steroids). The mission is simple: buy weapons from House Fell, pick up a geneticist defector from House Bharaputra, and quietly leave. Miles being Miles, things get complicated, involving House Ryoval (infamous for producing exotic sex slaves), a quaddie (four-armed) musician, a genetically engineered giant fanged super soldier (who's also a lonely, insecure 16-year-old girl), and Miles' own conflicting senses of chivalry and pragmatics and loyalties to his mercenaries and to his Emperor. Plenty of neat lines like 'God. He remembered sixteen. Sex-obsessed and dying inside every minute.' Plenty of compelling character development like Miles and Taura proving their humanity to each other. My only complaint is that Bujold does the hermaphrodite Dendari Captain Bel Thorne a disservice by--despite the neutral pronoun 'it' used to refer to Bel--making it male when attracted to a woman and female when attracted to a man rather than writing her as an ever exotic 'it' composed equally of both genders or partaking of neither.

In the last novella, The Borders of Infinity (1987), young Miles is still living his dual life as Barrayaran ImpSec Lieutenant and Dendarii Admiral Naismith when, in a rather too Captain Kirk-like way he has himself inserted alone into a hellish POW prison camp run by Cetagandans. His mission is to arrange the rescue of a war-hero human colonel, but the prison is inside a hermetically sealed and impermeable dome, the 10,214 prisoners are demoralized and disorganized, and immediately upon entry Miles is beaten and stripped naked by camp thugs. Now he must execute the mission with only his mind and charisma--and an imaginary hat to hide his privates with when dealing with female prisoners! This one is great up till the climax, which could use more cat and mouse between Miles and the Cetagandan wardens and less deus ex machina. The novella does have plenty of neat lines, like 'When you can see the color of the [imaginary hat's] feathers. . . . you'll also understand how you can expand your borders to infinity.'

Audiobook reader Grover Gardner is his usual appealing, professional, Vorkosigan self here. Perfect.

About that frame 'story' . . . it's unnecessary and contrived and skimpy. Nothing really happens in it apart from Miles supposedly telling Simon the three novellas (so as to explain the suspicious accounting) and talking a bit with his mother. I can't believe that formidable ImpSec head Simon wouldn't already have known the complete details by now. And in the first story Miles used his own graduation money instead of Empire funds, so it would seem to have no connection with the accounting business anyway. Furthermore, though Miles is supposedly telling Simon what happened in the three cases, the stories are narrated in the third person, albeit limited to his point of view, because that's how Bujold wrote them before, apparently, thinking to publish them together in this edition.

Because the three stories are fine early Miles fare, I recommend them to fans of Bujold's series--but I wish she'd published them together without the frame.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

B+, A+, B+. Three stories. Two good and one GREAT.

Mountains of mourning: A sad and unexpected story about a infanticide murder investigation in a backwards rural area. Good story, but the Sci-Fi element is non-existent.

Labyrinth: A GREAT story. Funny and action packed, with one of the most unexpectedly endearing characters I've come across in a long time.

Borders of Infinity: Apart from the Sci-Fi setting, this is a fairly normal "brutal prison camp" novel. It's good, but not as enjoyable as Labyrinth was.

Great narration from Grover Gardner as usual.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Audible version does not indicate short story breaks in nav

The story & performance are good. I like GGardner’s reading. Navigation is tough because the chapters are listed only numerically, but the book is a concatenation of 3 short stories. They’re narratively connected as a flashback/incident report, but since each was once an independent publication, the nav shortcuts should reflect that.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

4th time?

this is my fourth time listening to this book at least, it'a that good. I love Admiral Naismith's stories, and these are some of the best

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Gastonia, NC, United States
  • 09-28-17

another great performance of a great book.

Bujold and Grover Gardner are an awesome combination. if you haven't listened to it do so. although don't stray with this one. z start with Baryyar.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Episode. Another Excellent Read

Bujold just keeps on turning out great reads. Well written and well narrated, I got through it in no time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A worthy link between narratives....

One novel and three novellas link with other stories about Miles Vorkosigan early career as an officer in the Barrayran military. All stories well written. Read by the always excellent Grover Gardener. End

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

fun collection

Grover Gardner is fantastic as always, and the novellas were a fun format for me.