Shards of Honor

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (3,068 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. And Captain Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Expeditionary Force would be forced into a separate peace with her enemy, Lord Vorkosigan.

Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the science-fiction world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Naismith. From this beginning the author has created a multigenerational saga spanning time as well as space.

Bujold is generally recognized as the current exemplar of the character-based science-fiction adventure story.

©1986 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Bujold] gives [her] characters enough emotional depth, and enough sense, to raise their story beyond cliché." ( Locus)

What listeners say about Shards of Honor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

First story in the Miles Vorkosigan series

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading the Miles Vorkosigan books, this is the first in the series, which introduces Miles' parents, Cordelia Naismith of the planet Beta and Aral Vorkosigan of the planet Barrayar. I originally read "Shards of Honor" and the second book in the series, "Barrayar," in a compilation book called, "Cordelia's Honor." Reading these two books as one made more sense, as "Shards of Honor" is a reasonably good story that builds to a whale of a good story in "Barrayar." Have patience with the slower pace of "Shards of Honor" (and Bujold's early writing skills). They are critical to your enjoyment of the full impact of "Barrayar," which the publisher's website states will be released in audiobook on 11/1/09. "Shards of Honor" is the only book in the Vorkosigan series which isn't the best of the best. However, you will enjoy the series all the more if you understand how Miles came to be. Look at the number of high-starred reviews Audible listeners have given to the Miles Vorkosigan series, which has also won a number of Hugo and Nebula awards.

56 people found this helpful

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

I'm Hooked! A marvelous series!!

This book sat on my Wish List for a while based on the recommendation of an Audible listener whose reviews I follow; I'd never encountered Bujold's books and was in no hurry, it was in the "maybe I'll try it" category. Then Audible put it on sale, which pushed me to take the plunge. Listened to the whole thing in two gulps. Loved it. Now have to get the sequel ("Barrayar") and then apparently have an entire series featuring Cordelia and Aral's son Miles Vorkosigan to look forward to. From the sound of the reviews the series only gets better. UPDATE as of 2020: Having gotten hooked, I have now listened to all the books in this series, most of them more than once. I can reaffirm that it's one of the greats. Repeating some words from my review of "Barrayar" that apply to this book: Even though most of the books feature Miles Vorkosigan as the protagonist, his parents Cordelia Naismith and Count Aral Vorkosigan are always at the heart of the saga, even when they aren't on stage. Their story is told in "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar." Although Audible lists "Barrayar" as Book 3 in the series, it's actually Book 2. "Falling Free," listed as Book 1, is a standalone prequel that bears little if any relationship to the rest of the series. The story really starts with "Shards of Honor," a science fiction-military action-conspiracy-political thriller "space opera" that is also one of the great love stories of all time. Yes, it's from early in Bujold's career and has some weak spots. But it's fantastic. Listen to it first, and then dive right into "Barrayar," which picks up pretty much where "Shards" leaves off. The whole series is marvelous!

22 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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An Indiana Jones type of adventure with love

Two people from very different backgrounds and home worlds are thrown together in an Indiana Jones type space adventure. Aral Vorkosigan is an unrefined military leader from an "uncivilised" world called Barrayar while Cordelia Naismith comes from Beta Colony, a place that seems civilised and technologically advanced.

In a time of war, Cordelia must choose between love or patriotism, truth or fame, an uncertain future or celebrity status. Woven through these choices are a quest for true honour that might just be masked as shame.

Lois McMaster Bujold draws you into an enjoyable adventure where you are kept on the edge of your seat - boy meets girl, but are they really going to live happily ever after?
As this novel introduce the parents of Miles Vorkosigan - but not yet Miles - even the final answer stays tentative.

Again Grover Gardner can be congratulated for a solid performance.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and heartily recommends it to anyone looking for a true Indiana Jones type space adventure!

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Start of a GREAT series

This is the first in the Vorkosigan series. The writing here is good but not as good as the later books. Nevertheless it is still better than most Sci Fi and well worth reading to set the tone and history of the continuing characters. This is very light Sci-Fi and more like fantasy. The later books become a bit more Sci Fi oriented. This is one of my favorite series in Sci Fi. The series has lots of action, really great characters, lots of fun, interesting concepts, and stories that really hang together well. This first book is a little slow but I recommend it as it adds richness and depth to the later novels.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

This is the first book in the saga of Miles Vorkosigan, the story of how his parents met and fell in love. It's not at all a typical love story, but it is one you will want to listen to again and again. Cordelia has incredibly difficult choices to make, driven by her personal code of honor. She is well-matched by Aral, who has his own struggles of conscience and loyalty.

I've been a fan for years, and I was thrilled when the books began coming out in audiobook format. Grover Gardner does a fine job and I'm so glad that he has read all the Vorkosigan books, since he is now the only voice of Miles for me.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Go Bujold!

I have this series in ebook, paper and audio. Wonderful and generally engrossing. Mr Gardner is his excellent best.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A great beginning to a great series in novels!

I loved this one. I can't wait for another.
Bujold is an excellent writer and holds her audience in every book and keeps the reader on course (informed on the characters and situations) no matter which one you start to read first.
I love the narrator! Don't change him!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Shows you what to look forward to in later books!

This is Bujold's first and definitely weakest novel. That said, if you are a fan of the Vorkosigan clan or Ms. Bujold in general, don't miss this. Despite a clunky plot and a writer who is learning to flesh out her worldview, I found myself entranced by the younger versions of characters and a world I had come to know and love in the later series. They foreshadow themselves, and make you want to go back and listen to all the later novels again! Grover Gardner's reading is superb as always, and even if you haven't read her other books, I think this might intrigue you enough to try the next one. But really, this is a treat for people who already know Cordelia and Aral. You'll enjoy seeing their younger, clumsier selves.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Book -- seemed too short

I loved the book. It was different than many Sci-Fi books with a great depth of character(s). I really enjoyed book immensely to the point I listened to it twice. The story is good, but really the characters moved it along. If you are a Sci-Fi Fan or even just a Drama fan, this book is definitely worth a credit.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous!

I became hooked on LMB when I first read this book many years ago. It is just as good on audiobook and the narrator does a great job. Now if Audible would only do the sequel, Barayarar

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin
  • 03-06-12

Good start

2nd in the Vorkosigan saga. Entertaining & shows promise but smacks at times of wish fulfillment & romance cliches which occasionally overwhelm a pretty good story. Starts off with you thinking its going to be another 'Enemy Mine' type with enemies banding together against common odds but then cycles through a whole range of other tropes. The characters are great & no wonder it they (or in many cases their descendants) were picked up for later instalments. The next one is 'Barrayar' (which won all kinds of awards) & the two after that so there's something there :-)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 04-03-17

One of my favourites.

Whenever I'm feeling in need of cheering up, this (and the even better sequel) are my go to books. I love the developing relationship between Cordelia and Aral. The art of falling in love with the "bad" guy, making concessions for a relationship and knowing when to draw the line.

While all the Vorkosigan books are good, for my money they reach great when the characters from these two books turn up to make Mile's life difficult.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Naomi Barrett
  • 04-13-13

A great audio book and start to a brilliant series

I really loved this book. Still probably my favourite of the whole series. Characters are developed really well. It's interesting, the plot has a good pace to it and the romance side of it isn't in your face at all! My only criticism would be that, as a British person, it took a while to get used to the accent of the narrator, but once I was used to it, it actually fits the tone of the book really well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anthony M.
  • 08-05-20

Worthwhile Sci fi romance

It's strangely readable even though it would be more geared for a female audience IMHO

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  • Carol Baker
  • 12-14-13

Excellent story line could not switch off!!

What did you like most about Shards of Honor?

Adventurer and love story all rolled into one - the characters were believable and the pace was fast and kept me interested!!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cordelia Naismith - a strong sensible woman, bold brave and all the attributes of a heroine

Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favourite?

Cordelia Naismith

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Even a war and distant planets could not stop their destiny

Any additional comments?

I have now listened to nearly all the series - I had never heard of Lois McMaster Bujold before listening to one of her books on sale - she has captured my imagination

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-20-13

Enjoyable

Would you listen to Shards of Honor again? Why?

Yes I would - the setting is interesting, pitting the scientific rationality of Beta Colony against the less advanced and more brutal world of Barrayar. The characters are engaging and you really care what happens to them, which is always going to make a good story

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  • Aussielee
  • 01-12-20

One of my favourite books ever

This is a re-read. I've decided to finish off a few series I've started. Not sure why I started with this series as it's a lot longer than some others but I was in the mood for some good scifi. Loved this book as much as the first time. I read it in a couple of days; couldn't put it down. My favourite part is still when our heroine, Cordelia, returns to her home planet and they think she's suffering from a type of Stockholm Syndrome from being with our hero, Aral, and it doesn't matter how many times she tries to reassure them that he was not abusive, they do not believe it. This section also highlights how the media and governments can twist events to make you believe whatever they want. Written in 1986, you'd think a lot of the book's content should be dated but it isn't. A lot of the scifi aspects/gadgets are probably more relevant (the environmental issues of Cordelia's planet, for example) and believable in 2019. This book's plot twists were unique and very clever and the romance was as fabulous the second time around as when I read it originally. I tried the audio version and it's okay. I think I would have preferred a woman narrating though. Still a strong 5 out of 5 and on my favourite list. Highly recommend. Original review: I read this book on a friend’s recommendation (that is, she nagged until I relented). I will readily admit that I had never heard of this series of books (which, interestingly, has no official name, but most people call it the Vorkosigan Saga), nor its author (Lois McMaster Bujold) when she first told me to read it. Then, funnily enough, I started seeing it mentioned all over the internet, and came to the conclusion that it has a cult following. I think I can see why after reading the first book. Yes, it’s science fiction. Yes, it has futuristic space settings, battles, and technology. But, like all really good science fiction, the charm of the book is in the characters. They’re characters whose story could still work if it was set in any place or time. This book introduces us to Captain Cordelia Naismith from the Beta Colony. She’s on a scientific study on an uninhabited (by humans) planet when all hell breaks loose, in the form of Commander Aral Vorkosigan and his soldiers from a planet called Barrayar attacking her ship and crew. Betans and Barrayarans have been sworn enemies for eons apparently, but in a typical fiction twist, Cordelia and Aral find themselves stranded on the volatile planet, alone, and have to work together to survive. Cordelia is smart, sassy, and quite handy in a crisis. Aral is not considered good looking by anyone on either colony. He’s known to be bloodthirsty and sadistic. Cordelia’s slow journey of learning none of this is true is so much fun. Yes, the obvious ending is romance, and the obvious plot is conflict between our lead couple. But in between their series of Austen-like misunderstandings and learning to appreciate each other, I believe there is enough political intrigue, fight scenes, and creepy local fauna to keep most readers who dislike romance happy. Bujold does UST very well. It practically crackles up from the page at times. I enjoyed the way the supporting characters see our leads; their ages and looks especially. My favourite part of the book was when Cordelia returned to Beta Colony and how she coped (or doesn’t cope) with her fellow Betans’ opinion of Aral. The ending of the book is not only satisfying, it’s also completely intriguing, and made me straight away purchase the next book to find out what would happen. This is how all books of series should be! (Now, I have to add I’ve gone onto Barrayar, the seventh book published in the series, but the book set second chronologically. The reading order of this series is also a hotly debated subject too, it seems, with the author herself coming out and weighing in on the subject!) Overall, I loved this book. Just proves my friend was right after all. 5/5

1 person found this helpful

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  • gam
  • 03-26-17

The first in a great series

I loved the characters, setting and plot. Highly recommend the book and the series.
Narrator voiced the different characters accents well without interrupting the flow of the story.

1 person found this helpful