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Publisher's Summary

Miles Vorkosigan makes his debut in this frenetic coming-of-age tale. At age 17, Miles is allowed to take the entrance exams to the elite military academy; he passes the written but manages, through miscalculation in a moment of anger, to break both his legs on the obstacle course, washing out before he begins. His aged grandfather dies in his sleep shortly after, for which Miles blames himself. Miles is sent to visit his grandmother Naismith on distant Beta Colony, accompanied by his bodyguard, Sergeant Bothari and Bothari's daughter, Elena. Miles passes himself off as a mercenary leader as he picks up a ragtag crew, and soon Miles' father Aral is under political attack back home as garbled rumors of Miles' mercenary operations trickle back. Miles must abandon his new fleet and dash back to Barrayar to stop the plot.
©1986 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"The pace is breathless, the characterization thoughtful and emotionally powerful....Highly recommended." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • D
  • corona, ca United States
  • 08-25-08

worth it!

The warrior's Apprentice is the start of the Vorkosigan Saga in audio. Louis McMaster Bujold has created a fasinating new universe of diverse worlds and an endearing character in Miles Vorkosigan. I have listened to all the audio books in this series and found each to be very entertaining.Each book is complete, not like some series books where you have to wait for the next book to see what happens. Yet, I found I couldn't wait to listen to the next one. At first, I questioned the tone narrator, Grover Gardner used to portray Miles, but as you learn about Miles, Grover Gardner's narration is spot on; He truly is one of the great narrators. This is one of the best sci-fi series ever written.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

What a great character!

The author creates a futuristic world based on a medieval class structure filled with fully developed and very likable characters. Miles is a character you laugh with, empathize with and become his friend. The series captured my imagination and kept me listening for hours at a time. If you are looking for a series that you can become engrossed in, then start here. Have fun! JWP

Here are the Miles' books in audible in order (MY thanks to other reviewers!):

- The Warrior's Apprentice
- The Vor Game
- Cetaganda
- Brothers in Arms
- Mirror Dance (1994)
- Memory (1996)
- Komarr (1998)
- A Civil Campaign
- Winterfair Gifts
- Diplomatic Immunity

58 of 65 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruce
  • Knoxville, MD, United States
  • 04-01-16

Great Fun Regardless Of The Order.

I listened to this after jumping into the series at "Mirror Dance." I am glad I read "Shards of Honor" first but it would not have mattered. These novels are always old friends and Entertaining in any order. That says a great deal about the writing and narration. No complaints or problems. It is nice to buy an audiobook knowing it will * at least* be worth my time. These books are always that.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 01-30-08

You are in for a treat!

Oh these books are so damn good! So funny that I find myself laughing out loud, and at times so touching that I have to listen to passages over a few times. Bujolds' character development is just fabulous, rich, realistic, and so alive you think you know them.

The other great thing about these books is the amazing plot development, I often scratch my head and wonder how Bujold comes up with this stuff, just great! You can tell the author really had fun writing these books!

The science fiction is fun, but not really the main feature of these books. They are just great stories, incredibly well thought out, and so well written!

You are in for a fun read for sure, and the great thing is, there are more of them!


16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Great forward momentum!

The first Miles Vorkosigan book. It's hard to believe that a 17 year old could get in as much trouble as this kid without getting killed. Living on Barrayar must make you mature fast. Or maybe he just is that much of genius.

I really love Miles, but I do wish I'd seen more of his mother, Cordelia.

This book just throws you into it. Intrigue, machinations, actions scenes. What fun! Miles is a great character. But an incredibly unique one. 4 foot 9, a twisted spine, hunchback in a society that hates mutants. Of course, Miles is not a genetic mutant - and is more than happy tell you that! He is arrogant and proud but not so much to make him unlikable. His arrogance and pride are great strengths and great weaknesses.

In some ways, Miles reminds me of Peter Parker (except Peter has a lot more trouble paying his rent). Miles also questions himself constantly. He is also very endearing because of how he wants to experience love.

Another great part of this book is the humor. I would get the giggles at several points in this book. Miles is just such a manipulator and is always several moves ahead of his opponents (and allies for that matter).

As a side note, this book also has a scene that is still disturbing me. I'm sure there are worse torture scenes in other books. But this one is still making my stomach turn. (Of course, that could be the flu.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Miles @ 17 - His real adventures begin

This Miles adventure takes place just before The Vor Game, which is also available on this site.
If you have not yet purchased The Vor Game, get this one, The Warrior’s Apprentice, first. No doubt you will rush to get The Vor Game soon after hearing the Audible signoff from this one. If, however, you previously purchased The Vor Game I would recommend you re-listen to it immediately after you listen to this one.

You do not need to listen to these adventures in order, you will enjoy each one.

There are many books in this series about the VorKosigan family by Lois McMaster Bujold and each of them stands on its own merit. I sincerely hope Audible will continue to stock up on Ms. McMaster Bujold’s large library of work. Science Fiction is not the central theme of her works; it is only a happenstance (a really well written and smart one.) These books are actually based on men and women of honor, loyalty, family, and character.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • Arroyo Grande, CA, United States
  • 06-27-06

A wonderous talent!

Lois Mcmaster Bujold is a wonderous talent and should be on everyone's to-read list. Her charater developement is superb and the way she pulls things together from what first appears to be a hopelessly tangles skien of yarn simply enjoyable.
"Miles" is a boy born into a fuedal system of government that abhoars mutation of any kind. It just so happens that his father and mother and he in his mother's womb were victims in an attack by a rival faction in a bid to kill his father, the then Prime Minister of the planet Barrayar.
After the attack he is rushed from his mother's womb to a Uterine Replicator where the doctors can do what they can to save the baby.
The result is a boy with chauk for bones who is severly stunted in height. Whoever, he is gifted with a superior intellect.
After breaking both of his legs in the first 2 minutes of the physical trials for entrance to Emperial service he goes to his mother's homeworld of Beta colony to visit his Grandmother Naismith.
Mixed with his desire to serve "something", his abnormal sense of curiosity and eagerness to solve problems he frist becomes a captain owner of a freighter and goes on to the rank of Admiral in a Mercinary fleet where he ends a planetary civil war. After "winning all the marbles", as his cousin Ivan phases it, he realizes that for him to have all the marbles could spell death for him and civil war on his home planet.
Trust me, Bujold is a fabulous talent and her stories flow like water downhill. I wish she would write more and that Audible would get the rest of her titles.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • San Rafael, CA, CA, USA
  • 06-08-07

Fantastic Series

The Miles Vorkosikan (sp?) series is one of the most delightful listening (reading?) experiences I have had in years. Bujold delivers an incredible balance of light-hearted humor, exploration of the soul, and self-discovery. I have listened to the entire series and only wish there were 10 more volumes. Miles is an amazingly accessible character, flawed to his brittle bones. Yet, Bujold creates a sense of hope for even the most "challenged." Yes, it is science-fiction/fantasy, but it is a story that a reader of any genre can relate to.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Leanna
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 05-31-15

Tidy, nail biting plots

Any additional comments?

In this installment of the Vorkosigan Saga, we really meet Miles Naismith Vorkosigan for the first time, and boy, is it an introduction. In this book, Miles accidentally becomes an admiral in a mercenary fleet. As I listened to this book, I felt like Lois McMaster Bujold was committing fully to the quality of this story, because she was. Furthermore, that is how all of her books feel. They are fully realized achievements of sci fi. Don't miss out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 02-27-14

We finally meet Miles

In The Warrior’s Apprentice, we finally get to meet Miles Vorkosigan, one of the most famous characters in all of science fiction. He’s not the kind of hero you’d expect, but he’s tons of fun. Always trying to compensate for his deficiencies makes him little manic and that creates chaos….

The audio here is superb. I love Grover Gardner in this role.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • 04-14-06

The incomparable Miles Vorkosigan

If you like fun sci-fi with great characters, this is for you. Miles Vorkosigan - born crippled to powerful parents on an old-fashioned planet - is a great creation. On the one hand, he's got near-superhuman charm, intelligence and nerve. On the other hand, his over-confidence occasionally leads him to make mistakes that cost him dearly. This is his first adventure, and while I don't think it's the best in the series (for my money that's A Civil Campaign - Audible, how about acquiring that one?) it's pretty darn good.

I was surprised when I first heard the audio version of this, because having read it in my own head previously, I was stupidly expecting an English accent. Also, the reader has rather a flat drawl. However, after a few minutes I came to the conclusion that actually the reader is perfect - he captures Miles's voice exactly and gets all of the dry humour out of the narration.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Dowie
  • 03-08-08

A brilliant discovery!

This book is very very good and kept my interest right to the end. I am really looking forward to downloading the other novels in this series. Have no fear - you will enjoy - even if you are not into SF.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew John Rae
  • 01-24-14

A well told story with strong characters

Many of Lois McMaster Bujold's novels are set in the "Vorkosigan" saga following a single family. This is the first Miles Vorkosigan book. Whilst the setting is sci-fi, Bujold plays with a variety of genres. The series so far includes thrillers, murder mysteries, cons/heists and regency romances.

The title "Warrior's Apprentice" is a play on the "Sorceror's Apprentice". Miles is a brittle-boned, physically deformed scion of a famous military family, from a planet that fears mutations and worships military prowess. After failing the physical tests to enter military training, his impulsive actions start a cascade of events where his solutions involve more and more improvised audacity.

One of the charms of these books is that Vorkosigan's saving virtue is his ability to encourage those around him to be bigger better people. This means that the stories are full of interesting characters with their own motives and life directions. No one carries an idiot-ball just to make Miles seem smarter or more heroic, and throughout the series his own character flaws have consequences. He's likeable though, because of his good intentions and who he helps other characters become.

Grover Gardner is a reliably good narrator. Some of the names and places are hard to keep track of (every second character has a surname starting with "Vor") but that's no worse in the audio than it is in the written works.

Each book is self-contained, but I'd recommend reading all the Miles books in Chronological order, starting with this one. Then go back to read about his parents.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Naomi Barrett
  • 04-13-13

First Miles novel and an explosive start character

I loved this book. Miles is just an interesting character to the max. The plot goes from interesting to crazy and beyond! Seriously good book. Well recommended. I would really suggest reading shards of honour and barryar first though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Breakfast
  • 02-08-17

A gleeful adventure

There's something about the way Bujold tells a story that I find irresistible. This is a rollercoaster ride of adventure that maintains forward momentum but carries it with intelligence and insight. The reading is solid and the result is a joy.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-06-16

One of my favorite ever.

Fantastic choice of a hero, not the usual big scary guy but someone I'd follow!

My most appreciated narrator, very best I think.

Plus of course a unique writer. Something truly different from pretty much every author I've ever read/listened to.

I re-listen every year of so. Give this one a try.

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  • Kari
  • 11-12-13

Plot is just too much like Schizophrenic Paranoia.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I bought this book as the Sample of the 5th Book in the series sounded good. After the 1st few chapters of boredom, I forced myself to listen to the rest - maybe it would get better. It did not. Months later I tried the 2nd book and had to return it before the end of Part 1. I have "listened" to other books that I did not find good, but never have I been compelled to return one. Sorry, just not my cup of tea.

Has The Warrior's Apprentice put you off other books in this genre?

No. Just this author

What three words best describe Grover Gardner’s performance?

Articulate, Believable, Good

Do you think The Warrior's Apprentice needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Tried the follow-up. It confimed my feelings on the Saga.

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  • S. Bradshaw
  • 08-25-13

Miles Vorkosigan is a delightful scallywag

This excellent novel is a great entry into the series even though it is not chronologically first. The story of this protagonist keeps you listening and wondering why no-one deals with him properly and puts him out of their misery. It'll hook you and send you looking for the next in the series.

  • Overall
  • CMoon
  • 03-07-11

Bujold Fan

Absolutely fabulous Bujold, love the narrator! Suberb if you are into sci-fi

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  • mike
  • 03-21-16

Fun, but not as convincing as the first

I enjoyed the ride but was struck by some jarring "deus ex" moments. Some great humour mixed in with dark and sad moments. Superb performance by the voice actor.