Cordelia's Honor (Vorkosigan Saga)

Cordelia's Honor (Vorkosigan Saga)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

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In her first trial by fire, Cordelia Naismith captained a throwaway ship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she was forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Aral Vorkosigan—he who was called "The Butcher of Komarr"—and would consequently become an outcast on her own planet and the Lady Vorkosigan on his.

Sick of combat and betrayal, she was ready to settle down to a quiet life, interrupted only by the occasional ceremonial appearances required of the Lady Vorkosigan. But when the Emperor died, Aral became guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar—and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war that was reminscent of Earth's Middle Ages, but fought with up-to-the-minute biowar technology. Neither Aral nor Cordelia guessed the part that their cell-damaged unborn would play in Barrayari's bloody legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671578282
Publisher: Baen
Publication date: 09/28/1999
Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

A science fiction legend, Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most highly regarded speculative fiction writers of all time. She has won three Nebula Awards and six Hugo Awards, four for Best Novel, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record. The majority of Bujold's works comprise three separate book series: the Miles Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion Series, and the Sharing Knife Series. The mother of two, Ms. Bujold lives in Minneapolis.

Read an Excerpt

Cordelia's Honor

By Lois McMaster Bujold

Baen Books

ISBN: 0-671-57828-6

Chapter One

A sea of mist drifted through the cloud forest: soft, grey, luminescent. On the high ridges the fog showed brighter as the morning sun began to warm and lift the moisture, although in the ravine a cool, soundless dimness still counterfeited a pre-dawn twilight.

Commander Cordelia Naismith glanced at her team botanist and adjusted the straps of her biological collecting equipment a bit more comfortably before continuing her breathless climb. She pushed a long tendril of fog-dampened copper hair out of her eyes, clawing it impatiently toward the clasp at the nape of her neck. Their next survey area would definitely be at a lower altitude. The gravity of this planet was slightly lower than their home world of Beta Colony, but it did not quite make up for the physiological strain imposed by the thin mountain air.

Denser vegetation marked the upper boundary of the forest patch. Following the splashy path of the ravine's brook, they bent and scrambled through the living tunnel, then broke into the open air.

A morning breeze was ribboning away the last of the fog on the golden uplands. They stretched endlessly, rise after rise, culminating at last in the great grey shoulders of a central peak crowned by glittering ice. This world's sun shone in the deep turquoise sky giving an overwhelming richness to the golden grasses, tiny flowers, tussocks of a silvery plant like powdered lace dotted everywhere. The two explorers gazed entranced at the mountain above, enveloped by the silence.

The botanist, Ensign Dubauer, grinned over his shoulder at Cordelia and fell to his knees beside one of the silvery tussocks. She strolled to the nearest rise for a look at the panorama behind them. The patchy forest grew denser down the gentle slopes. Five hundred meters below, banks of clouds stretched like a white sea to the horizon. Far to the west, their mountain's smaller sister just broke through the updraft-curdled tops.

Cordelia was just wishing herself on the plains below, to see the novelty of water falling from the sky, when she was jarred from her reverie. "Now what the devil can Rosemont be burning to make a stink like that?" she murmured.

An oily black column of smoke was rising beyond the next spur of the mountain slope, to be smudged, thinned, and dissipated by the upper breezes. It certainly appeared to be coming from the location of their base camp. She studied it intently.

A distant whining, rising to a howl, pierced the silence. Their planetary shuttle burst from behind the ridge and boomed across the sky above them, leaving a sparkling trail of ionized gases.

"What a takeoff!" cried Dubauer, his attention wrenched skyward.

Cordelia keyed her short-range wrist communicator and spoke into it. "Naismith to Base One. Come in, please."

A small, empty hiss was her sole reply. She called again, twice, with the same result. Ensign Dubauer hovered anxiously at her elbow.

"Try yours," she said. But his luck was no better. "Pack up your stuff, we're going back to camp," she ordered. "Double time."

They struggled toward the next ridge at a gasping jog, and plunged back into the forest. The spindly bearded trees at this altitude were often fallen, tangled. They had seemed artistically wild on the way up; on the way down they made a menacing obstacle course. Cordelia's mind ratcheted over a dozen possible disasters, each more bizarre than the last. So the unknown breeds dragons in map margins, she reflected, and suppressed her panic.

They slid down through the last patch of woods for their first clear view of the large glade selected for their primary base camp. Cordelia gaped, shocked. Reality had surpassed imagination.

Smoke was rising from five slagged and lumpy black mounds, formerly a neat ring of tents. A smouldering scar was burned in the grasses where the shuttle had been parked, opposite the camp from the ravine. Smashed equipment was scattered everywhere. Their bacteriologically sealed sanitary facilities had been just downslope; yes, she saw, even the privy had been torched.

"My God," breathed Ensign Dubauer, and started forward like a sleepwalker. Cordelia collared him.

"Get down and cover me," she ordered, then walked cautiously toward the silent ruins.

The grass all around the camp was trampled and churned. Her stunned mind struggled to account for the carnage. Previously undetected aborigines? No, nothing short of a plasma arc could have melted the fabric of their tents. The long-looked-for but still undiscovered advanced aliens? Perhaps some unexpected disease outbreak, not forestalled by their monthlong robotic microbiological survey and immunizations-could it have been an attempt at sterilization? An attack by some other planetary government? Their attackers could scarcely have come through the same wormhole exit they had discovered, still, they had only mapped about ten percent of the volume of space within a light-month of this system. Aliens?

She was miserably conscious of her mind coming full circle, like one of her team zoologist's captive animals racing frantically in an exercise wheel. She poked grimly through the rubbish for some clue.

She found it in the high grass halfway to the ravine. The long body in the baggy tan fatigues of the Betan Astronomical Survey was stretched out full length, arms and legs askew, as though hit while running for the shelter of the forest. Her breath drew inward in pain of recognition. She turned him over gently.

It was the conscientious Lieutenant Rosemont. His eyes were glazed and fixed and somehow worried, as though they still held a mirror to his spirit. She closed them for him.

She searched him for the cause of his death. No blood, no burns, no broken bones-her long white fingers probed his scalp. The skin beneath his blond hair was blistered, the telltale signature of a nerve disruptor. That let out aliens. She cradled his head in her lap a moment, stroking his familiar features helplessly, like a blind woman. No time now for mourning.

She returned to the blackened ring on her hands and knees, and began to search through the mess for comm equipment. The attackers had been quite thorough in that department, the twisted lumps of plastic and metal she found testified. Much valuable equipment seemed to be missing altogether.

There was a rustle in the grass. She snapped her stun gun to the aim and froze. The tense face of Ensign Dubauer pushed through the straw-colored vegetation.

"It's me, don't shoot," he called in a strangled tone meant to be a whisper.

"I almost did. Why didn't you stay put?" she hissed back. "Never mind, help me look for a comm unit that can reach the ship. And stay down, they could come back at any time."

"Who could? Who did this?"

"Multiple choice, take your pick-Nuovo Brasilians, Barrayarans, Cetagandans, could be any of that crowd. Reg Rosemont's dead. Nerve disruptor."

Cordelia crawled over to the mound of the specimen tent and carefully considered its lumps. "Hand me that pole over there," she whispered.

She poked tentatively at the most probable hump. The tents had stopped smoking, but waves of heat still rose from them to beat upon her face like the summer sun of home. The tortured fabric flaked away like charred paper. She hooked the pole over a half-melted cabinet and dragged it into the open. The bottom drawer was unmelted, but badly warped and, as she found when she wrapped her shirttail around her hand and pulled, tightly stuck.

A few minutes more search turned up some dubious substitutes for a hammer and chisel: a flat shard of metal and a heavy lump she recognized sadly as having once been a delicate and very expensive meterological recorder. With these caveman's tools and some brute force from Dubauer, they wrenched the drawer open with a noise like a pistol shot that made them both jump.

"Jackpot!" said Dubauer.

"Let's take it over by the ravine to try out," said Cordelia. "My skin is crawling. Anybody upslope could see us."

Still crouching, they made quickly for cover, past Rosemont's body. Dubauer stared back at it as they scuttled by, ill at ease, angry. "Whoever did that is damn well going to pay for it." Cordelia just shook her head.

They knelt down in the bracken-like undergrowth to try the comm link. The machine produced some static and sad whining hoots, went dead, then coughed out the audio half of its signal when tapped and shaken. She found the right frequency and began the blind call.

"Commander Naismith to Survey Ship Rene Magritte. Acknowledge, please." After an agony of waiting, the faint, static-scrambled reply wavered in.

"Lieutenant Stuben here. Are you all right, Captain?"

Cordelia breathed again. "All right for now. What's your status? What happened?"

Dr. Ullery's voice came on, senior officer in the survey party after Rosemont. "A Barrayaran military patrol surrounded the camp, demanding surrender. Said they claimed the place by right of prior discovery. Then some trigger-happy loon on their side fired a plasma arc, and all hell broke loose. Reg drew them off with his stunner, and the rest of us made it to the shuttle. There's a Barrayaran ship of the General class up here we're playing hide-and-seek with, if you know what I mean-"

"Remember, you're broadcasting in the clear," Cordelia reminded her sharply.

Dr. Ullery hesitated, then went on. "Right. They're still demanding surrender. Do you know if they captured Reg?"

"Dubauer's with me. Is everybody else accounted for?"

"All but Reg."

"Reg is dead."

A crackle of static hissed across Stuben's swearing.

"Stu, you're in command," Cordelia cut in on him. "Listen closely. Those twitchy militarists are not, repeat not, to be trusted. On no account surrender the ship. I've seen the secret reports on the General cruisers. You're out-gunned, out-armored, and out-manned, but you've got at least twice the legs. So get out of his range and stay there. Retreat all the way back to Beta Colony if you have to, but take no chances with my people. Got that?"

"We can't leave you, Captain!"

"You can't launch a shuttle for a pickup unless you get the Barrayarans off your neck. And if we are captured, the chances are better for getting us home through political channels than through some harebrained rescue stunt, but only if you make it home to complain, is that absolutely clear? Acknowledge!" she demanded.

"Acknowledged," he replied reluctantly. "But Captain-how long do you really think you can keep away from those crazy bastards? They're bound to get you in the end, with 'scopes."

"As long as possible. As for you-get going!" She had occasionally imagined her ship functioning without herself; never without Rosemont. Got to keep Stuben from trying to play soldier, she thought. The Barrayarans aren't amateurs. "There are fifty-six lives depending on you up there. You can count. Fifty-six is more than two. Keep it in mind, all right? Naismith out."

"Cordelia... Good luck. Stuben out."

Cordelia sat back and stared at the little communicator. "Whew. What a peculiar business."

Ensign Dubauer snorted. "That's an understatement."

"It's an exact statement. I don't know if you noticed-"

A movement in the mottled shade caught her eye. She started to her feet, hand moving toward her stunner. The tall, hatchet-faced Barrayaran soldier in the green and grey splotched camouflage fatigues moved even faster. Dubauer moved faster still, shoving her blindly behind him. She heard the crackle of a nerve disruptor as she pitched backward into the ravine, stunner and comm link flying from her hands. Forest, earth, stream, and sky spun wildly around her, her head struck something with a sickening, starry crack, and darkness swallowed her.

* * *

The forest mold pressed against Cordelia's cheek. The damp earthy smell tickled her nostrils. She breathed deeper, filling her mouth and lungs, and then the odor of decay wrung her stomach. She turned her face from the muck. Pain exploded through her head in radiating lines.

She groaned inarticulately. Dark sparkling whorls curtained her vision, then cleared. She forced her eyes to focus on the nearest object, about half a meter to the right of her head.

Heavy black boots, sunk in the mud and topped by green and grey splotched camouflage trousers, encased legs spread apart in a patient parade rest. She suppressed a weary whimper. Very gently she laid her head back in the black ooze, and rolled cautiously onto her side for a better view of the Barrayaran officer.

Her stunner! She stared into the little rectangle of its business end, held steadily in a broad and heavy hand. Her eyes searched anxiously for his nerve disruptor. The officer's belt hung heavy with equipment, but the disruptor holster on his right hip was empty, as was the plasma arc holster on his left.

He was barely taller than herself, but stocky and powerful. Untidy dark hair touched with grey, cold intent grey eyes-in fact, his whole appearance was untidy by the strict Barrayaran military standards. His fatigues were almost as rumpled and muddy and stained with plant juices as her own, and he had a raw contusion across his right cheekbone. Looks like he's had a rotten day too, she thought muzzily. Then the sparkly black whirlpools expanded and drowned her again.

When her vision cleared again the boots were gone-no. There he was, seated comfortably on a log. She tried to focus on something other than her rebellious belly, but her belly won control in a wrenching rush.

The enemy captain stirred involuntarily as she vomited, but remained sitting. She crawled the few meters to the little stream at the bottom of the ravine, and washed out her mouth and face in its icy water. Feeling relatively better, she sat up and croaked, "Well?"

The officer inclined his head in a shadow of courtesy. "I am Captain Aral Vorkosigan, commanding the Barrayaran Imperial war cruiser General Vorkraft. Identify yourself, please." His voice was baritone, his speech barely accented.

"Commander Cordelia Naismith. Betan Astronomical Survey. We are a scientific party," she emphasized accusingly. "Non-combatants."

"So I noticed," he said dryly. "What happened to your party?"

Cordelia's eyes narrowed. "Weren't you there? I was up on the mountain, assisting my team botanist." And more urgently, "Have you seen my botanist-my ensign? He pushed me into the ravine when we were ambushed-"

He glanced up to the rim of the gorge at the point where she had toppled in-how long ago? "Was he a brown-haired boy?"

Her heart sank in sick anticipation. "Yes."

"There's nothing you can do for him now."

"That was murder! All he had was a stunner!" Her eyes burned the Barrayaran. "Why were my people attacked?"

He tapped her stunner thoughtfully in his palm.


Excerpted from Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Cordelia's Honor 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
gust More than 1 year ago
DNWilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Cordelia's Honor' reveals where Miles' got his strength. Along with his manic personality. Cordelia and Aral's romance is anything but typical, as to be expected. And Cordelia's introduction to Barrayar is about what you'd expect, what with the coup and civil war and beheading. Bujold's ability to weave events and characters together is amazing. She never fails to deliver.
timelord117 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first venture into the writings of Bujold since she was recommended to me earlier this year. The book was "OK", and yet I have to say I LOVED it.The character's were fun, even if some where a little flat in the beginning, but towards part two the secondary characters get a pit more fleshed out. I have to say the plot was very diverting and I enjoyed getting lost in Barrayar. It moved along at a brisk pace, and I never felt it drag, or the need to skip pages.There were some spots of humor that caught me completely off guard, esp. when Cordelia "mimed" a conversation her husband and Koudelka were having across the room... *giggles* Not as well written as I was expecting from Bujold's reputation, That being said, I went out and bought the next book (Young Miles) and will continue to read and enjoy the Vorkosigan Saga.
flemmily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So good! I love when all of a sudden the main character does something awesome which is totally unexpected. Really gripping.
CeridwynR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So this is why so many people like the Vorkosigan books. Very easy to read, page-turning politics and some interesting ideas. Some dodgy ideas though and a little too cold-blooded in places for me. They live in an interesting light sci-fi place that feels very old fashioned and fun.When I have time I imagine I'll read the other books though I probably won't buy them.
dkmoore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't judge a book by its cover. Bujold's books w/ Baen all have these bizarre romance novel looking covers that don't really represent the books' content very well. I really liked this book, even though I didn't like the follow-on books about the protagonist's son all that much. The character development is very good, the plot moves along with decent suspense and some nice twists that aren't easily predictable, and does a good job exploring the tensions between two very dissimilar cultures via the main characters. Like much good sci-fi (IMHO), this is character-driven not technology-driven.
iftyzaidi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an omnibus of two books - the first, 'Cordelia's Honor' is an excellent blend of romance and science fiction which touch on some interesting feminist themes during Cordelia's personal journey from a member of a progressive, equitable society to a more regressive, heirarchical and militaristic one. The second book is slightly weaker. It starts off on a strong note, and it widens the cast and sets up the world of Barrayar which will be familiar to people who have read other works in the Vorkosigan universe, but is slightly uneven in pace and tone in its later part. Its still eminently readable though. Overall this is a book worth pursuing, even if, like me, you have not really delved into the miles corkosigan universe.
argusscoopski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series. It has such great flow.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
***** Shards of Honor. Commander Cordelia Naismith of the Beta Colony is on a scientific expedition on an alien planet when she and an ensign return to find their camp destroyed and the crew that didn't escape to their ship killed by the Barrayarans. They're attacked, Cordelia falls into a ravine, and wakes up to find herself a prisoner of "the Butcher of Komarr," Captain Aral Vorkosigan. Turns out, he's not the bloodthirsty villain he's been portrayed as, and he's in as much danger from at least some of his own people as she is. They get to know each other--and fall in love--as they work together to bury the dead, care for the ensign (who'd been hit with a nerve disruptor), survive in unfamiliar terrain, and eventually recover his command. I didn't entirely believe the romance, but had to take it as given. I did, however, believe the respect and admiration between them, and that was enough. Shards of Honor was appropriately titled, as so much of the conflict for both of them has to do with honor. They're a wonderful couple of star-crossed lovers, both strong and honorable, and in impossible situations. There are intriguing characters and hair-raising adventures, as well as painful and emotional decisions. I was very pleased with my introduction to All Things Bujold.***** Barrayar. This book comes next chronologically, but was published several years after Shards of Honor, and after other books in the same series. Cordelia and Aral are now married, living on Barrayar, and expecting their first child. All is well, despite some culture shock on Cordelia's part, until the emperor dies and Aral is named Regent for the child emperor, and they're plunged into political intrigue and danger. An attempt to poison them affects the growth of their unborn child and leaves Aral sterile. Cordelia opts to use the Betan technology left behind--a uterine replicator--to continue the pregnancy outside her body, and hires a medical scientist to perform experimental treatments on the baby, now named Miles, to save him. The rest of the story is one page-turning adventure after another, as a pretender attempts to sieze the throne, kill Aral, and kill or kidnap the young emperor. But when Miles in his uterine replicator is taken and held hostage, Cordelia can't afford to play politics any longer. All the great characters from Shards of Honor are back, and there's a lovely secondary romance--not a simple or easy one, of course. There's more worldbuilding, in the form of Cordelia's complaints and observations about the differences between Barrayar and the Beta Colony. Mostly, though, it's just en engrossing story full of adventure and characters I cared about.
Capfox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having let this book languish on my shelf for years and years, I sorta regret not reading it sooner; mostly, I did it because a friend lent me the second omnibus, and I felt I should read the one I owned first. I do think it helps to start at the chronological beginning in many cases, if you can.The plot arc goes over the two novels in this edition, anyway, so reading them together in the omnibus worked quite well; I find space opera usually works best read in rapid succession, anyway. The first book, Shards of Honor, follows a Betan survey captain over the course of a couple of missions that don't go quite the way they're supposed to, and her meetings with an enemy captain/admiral that have a lot of impact on her life. The second, Barrayar, has much more in the way of political machinations and such on that planet, with rich themes of becoming a parent and views of romance underneath.The two books weren't written back to back, and it shows; the writing isn't as crisp in Shards of Honor, nor is the plotting quite as tight, but the characters are already very strong, and it was still a quite enjoyable read. Barrayar was a delightful fast read, though; the characters there really drew me in, and the story was very interesting. I like machinations quite a lot, really.Anyway, this is worth reading, I'd say, if you enjoy the genre at all. It's the start of a fairly long series, but these are self-contained enough, you could stop here if you wanted and not feel left out.
sunny_jim9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel I've ever read from Lois McMaster Bujold. I decided to go at the highly recommended Vorkosigan saga in chronological order beginning with Miles' parents. Wow! Cordelia is one great heroine. I'm looking forward to getting to know Miles, but I'm almost sad at this point in time that the rest of the series isn't about Cordelia. All the characters and the world really stayed with me. Cordelia is a tough and courageous leader without being "male". I laughed out loud at a couple of scenes... that moment when Cordelia does the voice-over for Aral and Kou while they're conferencing to let Drou enter an all male practice martial arts tournament... or when Cordelia acts as a go between for Kou and Drou... hysterical! The scene towards the end of "Barrayar" when Cordelia barges into the war council room and says she "went shopping"... and Cordelia standing toe to toe with Count Piotr over Miles... all of it made for an incredible ending. Really satisfying! I'm sold on this series and this writer!
rpuchalsky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bujold's first try at the Vorkosigan universe, a set of two connected novels. Unfortunately, there are repeating elements that make me wish that they'd been unconnected, or, better, that an editor had gotten Bujold to toss most of the first half. But most of the elements that make this series so popular are there, minus the masochistic fantasy of Miles Vorkosigan's breakability.
lalawe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is actually a omnibus of two books - Shards of Honor and Barrayar. Shards was the author's first book, and it shows sometimes in the predictable plot and rote characters. However, this doesn't stop it from being a highly enjoyable read. Barrayar revolves more around political intrigue and moral issues, though it doesn't take away from the core issue of the relationship between Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith. In an afterword, the author states that she intended the book to revolve around the theme of parenthood. How far should you go to protect your child? Is it right to bring a child into a world full of death?
Coelacanth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I had picked up this book in a bookstore, rather than coming to it via a friend¿s recommendation, I¿d never have bought it. It has the ugliest, most ridiculous cover ever seen. Though filled with wild, operatic action, this is a character driven story of the best sort. I will definitely be buying more of her books (despite the covers).
patitaylor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A gift from a wonderful friend, I am enjoying this light, serious, funny series immensely.
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Omnibus edition, contains Shards of Honor and BarrayarPlot: Very straightforward for Shards, with a predictable outcome and not too many twists and side plots. Things get a lot more complex in Barrayar, with political maneuvering, society subplots and a lot more tension. Characters: Characterization is a little clumsy in Shards, with quite a few stereotypes sneaking in. It's much smoother in Barrayar, which also has a far larger cast and more complex characters. Interactions are well sketched and nicely done, motivations are in most cases logical. Style: Shards shows that it's a first try, with occasional bumps along the way and the prose not nearly as dense and atmospheric as in Barrayar. Situational humour, some very good one-liners and an almost permanent air of irony in the writing. Fun to read. Plus: Good plots, good prose. Breaking the occasional taboo.Minus: Shards suffers from first-novel-naiveté. Plot progress is quite predictable at times.Summary: Two good stories, told very well, though there is a marked contrast between the two since they were published with quite a few years and other books inbetween them.
allanr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
OK, this was my introduction to Vorkosigan saga and those 'crazy Barrayarans', but not my introduction to Bujold. Regardless of what other sources might tell you, "Barrayar" is the real beginning of the story of Bujold's most unique of heros 'Miles Naismith Vorkosigan'. (if some other bibliography says the first Miles book is "Warrior's Apprentice", they're wrong) An argument can be made that "Shards of Honor" is the first book, but only in the sense that SoH is a prequel to "Barrayar".If you did not know this is an omnibus edition of two previously released books, "Shards of Honor and "Barrayar"
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shards of Honor (Started slow and ended slow. Great action and surprises. Smart/believable answers to delemas. Good character dynamic between the lovers.)-Barrayar (Too mushy and boring. Action was good, characters are good if a bit stereotypical.)
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites of the entire series, brings Cordelia, Mile's mother, to life.
therhoda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Omni-bus is the first two Barrayaran books in one. You meet the family so to speak. Got to love those crazy Barrayarans.
michaelcruse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Contains the previously published Shards of Honor and Barrayar.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plenty of reviews for this, so just my thoughts on "Shards of Honor" which is all I've read at this point. I like Cordelia and Aral, and understand that this was their romance story, but even so, I'm just not that fond of romance. If you have to read one though, this is a good one because Bujold doesn't go into titillating depths of detail. The world is interesting and I look forward to learning more about it.
thesmellofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book (these two books). There are some nice touches and the sense of humanity and compassion is a basic component, which I appreciate.
Dadbrazelton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fairly good book(s). It is actually two books in one. I like the author because he believes that each book in a series should stand on it's own. He states that readers may not encounter the books in order and therefore each book should be complete on it's own. I admire this dedications to his readers, which so many authors obviously lack.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an omnibus edition consisting of the first two novels in the Vorkosigan Saga, Shards of Honor and Barrayar.Shards of Honor is Bujold's first novel, and I think it shows. Her later works are stronger in every particular. I wouldn't have been very impressed had this been the first work of hers I'd ever read. Which is not to say this book is bad--I found it entertaining throughout, and I went on to read every Vorkosigan story I could get a hold of, and found it just got better and better. This first book tells the story of how Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan met. Cordelia is a commander of a scientific survey from Beta--a world I'd describe as liberal/progressive in contemporary terms. An egalitarian, democratic pacifistic welfare state, as we learn in a later novel, girls at 14 get their ears pierced, their hymen surgically removed and a contraceptive device implanted in one office visit. Babies are born through artificial wombs that protect the child from conception to birth and free women from pregnancy and childbirth.In contrast, Aral Vorkosigan is from the aristocracy of the warrior culture of Barrayar--Beta's enemy and in many ways the opposite of that culture. It's the kind of culture which would euthanize anyone with congenital defects or who becomes severely handicapped and highly values discipline and obedience.The reason they meet is that his own crew mutinies and attacks Cordelia's crew down on the planet. Vorkosigan makes Cordelia his prisoner, and she gives her parole and offers to help him if he'll help her get her injured crewman to medical help. They find they both share a sense of honor that gives them more in common than they would have suspected. The novel is a entertaining mix of romance and adventure.*Spoilers for Shards of Honor*In Barrayar Cordelia and Aral have married and she's settled on his world of Barrayar, and the novel deals with her struggle to come to terms with the values of his world as well as the complications and dangers of Byzantine political intrigue which threatens their unborn child--Miles Vorkosigan--who becomes the subject of the later novels--and in my mind that's when things really become interesting and this series distinctive. Like Shards of Honor, this is an entertaining novel from beginning to end.Incidentally, I own this book from the CDROM that came with Cryoburn, the latest Bujold book in this series. I'm not thrilled reading a book this way. Maybe it's because I'm reading it on a MAC, but I didn't find this a user-friendly way to read.