Young Miles (Vorkosigan Saga)

Young Miles (Vorkosigan Saga)

by Lois McMaster Bujold


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Washed out of the Barrayaran Military Academy for being overly fragile, Miles Vorkosigan's natural--if unorthodox--leadership qualities quickly allow him to acquire a fleet of ships and 3,000 troops, all unswervingly loyal to him. In short order, he foils a plot against his father, returns to and graduates from the academy, solves a murder, thwarts an interstellar invasion, and rescues the Barrayaran Emperor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671877828
Publisher: Baen
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.99(d)

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

Young Miles

By Lois McMaster Bujold

Baen Books

ISBN: 0-7434-3616-4

Chapter One

The tall and dour non-com wore Imperial dress greens and carried his communications panel like a field marshall's baton. He slapped it absently against his thigh and raked the group of young men before him with a gaze of dry contempt. Challenging.

All part of the game, Miles told himself. He stood in the crisp autumn breeze and tried not to shiver in his shorts and running shoes. Nothing to put you off balance like being nearly naked when all about you look ready for one of Emperor Gregor's reviews-although, in all fairness, the majority here were dressed the same as himself. The noncom proctoring the tests merely seemed like a one-man crowd. Miles measured him, wondering what conscious or unconscious tricks of body language he used to achieve that air of icy competence. Something to be learned there ...

"You will run in pairs," the non-com instructed. He did not seem to raise his voice, but somehow it was pitched to carry to the ends of the lines. Another effective trick, Miles thought; it reminded him of that habit of his father's, of dropping his voice to a whisper when speaking in a rage. It locked attention.

"The timing of the five-kilometer run begins immediately upon completion of the last phase of the obstacle course; remember it." The non-com began counting off pairs.

The eliminations for officers' candidacy in the Barrayaran Imperial Military Service took a grueling week. Five days of written and oral examinations were behind Miles now. The hardest part was over, everybody said. There was almost an air of relaxation among the young men around him. There was more talking and joking in the group, exaggerated complaints about the difficulty of the exams, the withering wit of the examining officers, the poor food, interrupted sleep, surprise distractions during the testing. Self-congratulatory complaints, these, among the survivors. They looked forward to the physical tests as a game. Recess, perhaps. The hardest part was over-for everyone but Miles.

He stood to his full height, such as it was, and stretched, as if to pull his crooked spine out straight by force of will. He gave a little upward jerk of his chin, as if balancing his too-large head, a head meant for a man over six feet, on his just-under-five-foot frame, and narrowed his eyes at the obstacle course. It began with a concrete wall, five meters high, topped with iron spikes. Climbing it would be no problem, there was nothing wrong with his muscles, it was the coming down that worried him. The bones, always the damn bones ...

"Kosigan, Kostolitz," the noncom called, passing in front of him. Miles's brows snapped down and he gave the non-com a sharp upward glance, then controlled his gaze to a blank straightness. The omission of the honorific before his name was policy, not insult. All classes stood equal in the Emperor's service now. A good policy. His own father endorsed it.

Grandfather bitched, to be sure, but that unreconstructed old man had begun his Imperial service when its principal arm was horse cavalry and each officer trained his own military apprentices. To have addressed him in those days as Kosigan, without the Vor, might have resulted in a duel. Now his grandson sought entrance to a military academy, off planet style, and training in the tactics of energy weapons, wormhole exits, and planetary defense. And stood shoulder to shoulder with boys who would not have been permitted to polish his sword in the old days.

Not quite shoulder to shoulder, Miles reflected dryly, stealing a sidelong glance up at the candidates on either side of him. The one he had been paired with for the obstacle course, what's his name, Kostolitz, caught the glance and looked back down with ill-concealed curiosity. Miles's eye level gave him a fine opportunity to study the fellow's excellent biceps. The non-com signalled fall out for those not running the obstacle course immediately. Miles and his companion sat on the ground.

"I've been seeing you around all week," offered Kostolitz. "What the hell is that thing on your leg?"

Miles controlled his irritation with the ease of long practice. God knew he did stand out in a crowd, particularly this crowd. At least Kostolitz did not make hex signs at him, like a certain decrepit old countrywoman down at Vorkosigan Surleau. In some of the more remote and undeveloped regions on Barrayar, such as deep in the Dendarii Mountains in the Vorkosigans' own district, infanticide was still practiced for defects as mild as a harelip, despite sporadic efforts from the more enlightened centers of authority to stamp it out. He glanced down at the pair of gleaming metal rods paralleling his left leg between knee and ankle that had remained secretly beneath his trouser leg until this day.

"Leg brace," he replied, polite but unencouraging.

Kostolitz continued to stare. "What for?"

"Temporary. I have a couple of brittle bones there. Keeps me from breaking them, until the surgeon's quite sure I'm done growing. Then I get them replaced with synthetics."

"That's weird," commented Kostolitz. "Is it a disease, or what?" Under the guise of shifting his weight, he moved just slightly farther from Miles.

Unclean, unclean, thought Miles wildly; should I ring a bell? I ought to tell him it's contagious-I was six-foot-four this time last year ... He sighed away the temptation. "My mother was exposed to a poison gas when she was pregnant with me. She pulled through all right, but it wrecked my bone growth."

"Huh. Didn't they give you any medical treatment?"

"Oh, sure. I've had an Inquisition's worth. That's why I can walk around today, instead of being carried in a bucket."

Kostolitz looked mildly revolted, but stopped trying to sidle subtly upwind. "How did you ever get past the medicals? I thought there was a minimum height rule."

"It was waived, pending my test results."

"Oh." Kostolitz digested this.

Miles returned his attention to the test ahead. He should be able to pick up some time on that belly-crawl under the laser fire; good, he would need it on the five-kilometer run. Lack of height, and a permanent limp from a left leg shorter, after more fractures than he could remember, by a good four centimeters than his right, would slow him down. No help for it. Tomorrow would be better; tomorrow was the endurance phase. The herd of long-legged gangling boys around him could unquestionably beat him on the sprint. He fully expected to be anchor man on the first 25-kilometer leg tomorrow, probably the second as well, but after 75 kilometers most would be flagging as the real pain mounted. I am a professional of pain, Kostolitz, he thought to his rival. Tomorrow, after about kilometer 100, I'll ask you to repeat those questions of yours-if you have the breath to spare....

Bloody hell, let's pay attention to business, not this dink. A five-meter drop-perhaps it would be better to go around, take a zero on that part. But his overall score was bound to be relatively poor. He hated to part with a single point unnecessarily, and at the very beginning, too. He was going to need every one of them. Skipping the wall would cut into his narrow safety margin-

"You really expect to pass the physicals?" asked Kostolitz, looking around. "I mean, above the 50th percentile?"


Kostolitz looked baffled. "Then what the hell's the point?"

"I don't have to pass it; just make something near a decent score."

Kostolitz's eyebrows rose. "Whose ass do you have to kiss to get a deal like that? Gregor Vorbarra's?"

There was an undercurrent of incipient jealousy in his tone, class-conscious suspicion. Miles's jaw clamped. Let us not bring up the subject of fathers ...

"How do you plan to get in without passing?" Kostolitz persisted, eyes narrowing. His nostrils flared at the scent of privilege, like an animal alert for blood.

Practice politics, Miles told himself. That too should be in your blood, like war. "I petitioned," Miles explained patiently, "to have my scores averaged instead of taken separately. I expect my writtens to bring up my physicals."

"That far up? You'd need a damn near perfect score!"

"That's right," Miles snarled.

"Kosigan, Kostolitz," another uniformed proctor called. They entered the starting area.

"It's a little hard on me, you know," Kostolitz complained.

"Why? It hasn't got a thing to do with you. None of your business at all," Miles added pointedly.

"We're put in pairs to pace each other. How will I know how I'm doing?"

"Oh, don't feel you have to keep up with me," Miles purred.

Kostolitz's brows lowered with annoyance.

They were chivvied into place. Miles glanced across the parade ground at a distant knot of men waiting and watching; a few military relatives, and the liveried retainers of the handful of Counts' sons present today. There was a pair of hard-looking men in the blue and gold of the Vorpatrils; his cousin Ivan must be around here somewhere.

And there was Bothari, tall as a mountain and lean as a knife, in the brown and silver of the Vorkosigans. Miles raised his chin in a barely perceptible salute. Bothari, 100 meters away, caught the gesture and changed his stance from at ease to a silent parade rest in acknowledgment.

A couple of testing officers, the noncom, and a pair of proctors from the course were huddled together at a distance. Some gesticulations, a look in Miles's direction; a debate, it seemed. It concluded. The proctors returned to their stations, one of the officers started the next pair of boys over the course, and the noncom approached Miles and his companion. He looked uneasy. Miles schooled his features to cool attention.

"Kosigan," the noncom began, voice carefully neutral. "You're going to have to take off the leg brace. Artificial aids not permitted for the test."

A dozen counter-arguments sprang up in Miles's mind. He tightened his lips on them. This noncom was in a sense his commanding officer; Miles knew for certain that more than physical performance was being evaluated today. "Yes, sir." The noncom looked faintly relieved.

"May I give it to my man?" asked Miles. He threatened the noncom with his eyes-if not, I'm going to stick you with it, and you'll have to cart it around the rest of the day-see how conspicuous it makes you feel ...

"Certainly, sir," said the noncom. The "sir" was a slip; the non-com knew who he was, of course. A small wolfish smile slid across Miles's mouth, and vanished. Miles gave Bothari a high sign, and the liveried bodyguard trotted over obediently. "You may not converse with him," the noncom warned.

"Yes, sir," acknowledged Miles. He sat on the ground and unclipped the much-loathed apparatus. Good; a kilo less to carry. He tossed it up to Bothari, who caught it one-handed, and squirmed back to his feet. Bothari, correctly, offered him no hand up.

Seeing his bodyguard and the noncom together, the noncom suddenly bothered Miles less. The proctor looked shorter, somehow, and younger; even a little soft. Bothari was taller, leaner, much older, a lot uglier, and considerably meaner-looking. But then, Bothari had been a noncom himself when this proctor had been a toddler.

Narrow jaw, hooked beak of a nose, eyes of a nondescript color set too close together; Miles looked up at his liveried retainer's face with a loving pride of possession. He glanced toward the obstacle course and let his eyes pass over Bothari's. Bothari glanced at it too, pursed his lips, tucked the brace firmly under his arm, and gave a slight shake of his head directed, apparently, at the middle distance. Miles's mouth twitched. Bothari sighed, and trotted back to the waiting area.

So Bothari advised caution. But then, Bothari's job was to keep him intact, not advance his career-no, unfair, Miles chided himself. No one had been of more service in the preparations for this frantic week than Bothari. He'd spent endless time on training, pushing Miles's body to its too-soon-found limits, unflaggingly devoted to his charge's passionate obsession. My first command, thought Miles. My private army.

Kostolitz stared after Bothari. He identified the livery at last, it seemed, for he looked back at Miles in startled illumination.

"So, that's who you are," he said, with a jealous awe. "No wonder you got a deal on the tests."

Miles smiled tightly at the implied insult. The tension crawled up his back. He groped for some suitably scathing retort, but they were being motioned to the starting mark.

Kostolitz's deductive faculty crunched on, it seemed, for he added sardonically, "And so that's why the Lord Regent never made the bid for the Imperium!"

"Time mark," said the proctor, "now!"

And they were off. Kostolitz sprinted ahead of Miles instantly. You'd better run, you witless bastard, because if I can catch you, I'm going to kill you-Miles galloped after him, feeling like a cow in a horse race.

The wall, the bloody wall-Kostolitz was grunting halfway up it when Miles arrived. At least he could show this working-class hero how to climb. He swarmed up it as if the tiny toe and finger holds were great steps, his muscles powered-over-powered-by his fury. To his satisfaction, he reached the top ahead of Kostolitz. He looked down, and stopped abruptly, perched gingerly among the spikes.

The proctor was watching closely. Kostolitz caught up with Miles, his face suffused with effort. "A Vor, scared of heights?" Kostolitz gasped, with a grinning glare over his shoulder. He flung himself off, hit the sand with an authoritative impact, recovered his balance, and dashed off.

Precious seconds would be wasted climbing down like some arthritic little old lady-perhaps if he hit the ground rolling-the proctor was staring-Kostolitz had already reached the next obstacle-Miles jumped.

Time seemed to stretch itself, as he plummeted toward the sand, especially to allow him the full sick savor of his mistake. He hit the sand with the familiar shattering crack.

And sat, blinking stupidly at the pain. He would not cry out-at least, the detached observer in the back of his brain commented sardonically, you can't blame it on the brace-this time you've managed to break both of them.

His legs began to swell and discolor, mottled white and flushed. He pulled himself along until they were stretched out straight, and bent over a moment, hiding his face in his knees. Face buried, he permitted himself one silent rictus scream. He did not swear. The vilest terms he knew seemed wholly inadequate to the occasion.

The proctor, awakening to the fact that he was not going to stand up, started toward him. Miles pulled himself across the sand, out of the path of the next pair of candidates, and waited patiently for Bothari.


Excerpted from Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold Excerpted by permission.
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Young Miles (Vorkosigan Saga) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an omnibus edition consisting of three tales. The first novel, "The Warrior's Apprentice," is where I officially fell in love with Miles, who sure isn't the usual square-jawed, bicep bulging sci-fi hero, and he's what made me go and seek out more of the series. It's rare I can say I fall in love with a character in a book, but I fell hard for Miles Vorkosigan, which is why this book gets five stars. Not because it's mind-expanding or has amazing prose--but because I loved the character so much. The first two books in the series, among the first things Bujold ever wrote, focus on Miles' parents--this is the one where he comes into his own. Miles is born a "Vor"--into an aristocratic family in a very traditional, military culture on the planet of Barrayar. That society had for a long time practiced infanticide--killing any child born in any way disabled. Due to an attack before he was born, Miles is short in stature and has various physical problems--particularly very brittle bones. His grandfather wanted him killed--in fact at a certain point tried to kill him. Miles has had to fight hard for a measure of acceptance in his society and worked hard to earn the right to enter the planet's military academy--but couldn't pass the final physical tests--and then proceeds to form a path his own.One could see there part of why I love Miles--not conventionally handsome, handicapped, someone who has to work so hard. But it's more than that. I've always had a weakness for the kind of character not only with gifts of leadership, but a certain kind of cleverness. Whether Homer's Odysseus, CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower or Roddenbury's Captain Kirk of Star Trek. Miles has that quality in abundance--of turning defeat into a fighting chance to survive. In the two novels that bookend this volume you'll find plenty of action--enough to satisfy any fan of space opera. But above all I liked how Miles thinks and talks his way out his problems.
flemmily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This reminded me of a weightier, more literary version of The Stainless Steel Rat series, which I adored when I was younger. Miles is a fascinating character, one of the more multidimensional I've come across in a long while.
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Omnibus edition, contains The Warrior's Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning (short story) and The Vor Game.Plot: Fast-paced, with twists and turns right to the ends. Apprentice is more an adventure story, while Vor Game is heavier on the military side and on double-crossing. Both are composed well, with good timing and structured story arcs.Characters: Miles is just stunning as a character and drives the entire story. This is characterization and character development at its best. Side characters pale in comparison, though they're also well done and well matched to their roles. Style: The narrative doesn't shy away from failures or attempts perfection, which shouldn't be as rare as it is when it comes to fiction. Confident prose, very tongue-in-cheek writing that matches Miles as a character. Plus: The dizzying speed of the plot. Miles. Irony galore.Minus: Some of the schemes are done too quickly and are hard to appreciate because they're over too soon. Summary: An absolute must-read in the genre.
superant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Young Miles is a book that entertains on many levels. Bujold is my new favorite author. I would say Weber with the Honor Harrington series was my favorite before I discovered the Vorkosigan saga. I have now read two of the Omnibus books, Cordelia's Honor and Young Miles. Young Miles includes the separately written stories of the "The Warrior's Apprentice", "The Mountains of Mourning", and "The Vor Game". I, like other reviewers, have difficulty expressing how enjoyable this writing is. I am 56 years old and have been reading sci-fi books since my teens. I am surprised I never opened a Vorkosigan story before this year. I believe Bujold finished her first Cordelia book in 1985. My excuse is that the cover art, on the paperback in the bookstores, never pulled me in. Well, I have discovered them now. I breezed through the 618 pages of Young Miles over 3 days of hotel room, airports, plane and shuttle rides. I am worried that I will finish the last Vorkosigan story too soon! Young Miles contains an interesting plot arc and great characters. The stories relate Miles' experience being washed out of Military Academy because of his physical defects and later becoming the accidental admiral of a mercenary fleet. Several different storyline are carried out in this omnibus covering the roughly late teens to early twenties of Miles' life. As wild as the events in the life of the young man, I actually did not feel I was suspending disbelief very much. Sometimes people are looking for leaders in difficult situations. Sometimes your despicable half-insane bodyguard can be useful in dangerous violent encounters. Sometimes the hero does not get the love of his life. Sometimes the success of a military encounter is achieved by the group that makes the least number of mistakes and pulls off a least number of stupid decisions. Too many times in our lives, the decisions we face give us no ideal solution. We are faced with choosing among undesired outcomes.I love the characters in the book. I care about the major characters including Miles, his mother Coredia, his father Count Vorkosigan and Emperor Gregor. I cared about minor characters Elena, bodyguards like Overholt, technicians and pilots. references to cleaning drains and sewer lines.This was probably the book that had more Someone has to do that work! I even cared about what the future held for villains including Oser, Cavilo and others. I wouldn't say I felt sympathy for the evil people, but I cared enough about the details of their lives to never be bored with hearing about them.As I was reading this book, I sometimes had a hard time controlling my laughter, so people around me would not be shocked, and I had times of having tears well up in my eyes for moments of sadness. For example what Miles promises for the memory of Raina is still moving. The stories had the virtue of being very light and fun at times, with moments of tension and almost terror and some sitting on the edge of your seat eager to find how characters would survive a dangerous moment. I recommend Young Miles. For me I was glad I read the Cordelia stories first. It was clear because of the experiences of his mother where Miles got his weaknesses and strengths. A bonus in this omnibus is the author's afterward which is 8 pages of relating her experiences writing the stories and getting them published. This alone might make the cost of the book worth it for people interested in the art of writing. Again, I recommend this book higher than any other science fiction novel.
humouress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Young Miles' consists of three novellas: 'The Warrior's Apprentice', 'The Mountains of Mourning' and 'The Vor Game'.1- The Warrior's ApprenticeMiles Naismith Vorkosigan, the son of Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan of [Cordelia's Honour], is determined to live up to his father's and grandfather's formidable reputations and (despite physical handicaps) gain entry into the Imperial Military Academy. However, things don't go as planned, and Miles goes off-planet to visit his Betan grandmother, with his bodyguard, Sergeant Bothari and his daughter Elena, Miles's childhood friend, on whom he has a secret crush.Almost as soon as they land on Beta Colony, Miles manages to acquire a jump-ship and a liegeman. But to pay off the mortgage on the ship, he and his followers have to deliver a cargo - to a war zone, where they promptly get involved in the war ... and Miles eventually ends up acquiring over 3,000 troops and a fleet of 19 ships of war (which he names the Dendarii Free Mercenaries). Which then gets him in trouble back at home, on Barrayar, where he has to face the Council of Counts and the Emperor ...I do like this novella for, well, several reasons; it's well written, Miles always manages to find an unorthodox way out of every corner he's backed into (though don't ask me to explain the twists and turns of the plot), and I like the splashes of humour and the interactions between father and son, because I can see the deep love and respect they have for each other - in spite of Miles's stated hang up of having to live up to his father's legendary reputation.2- The Mountains of MourningBack on Barrayar, Miles has newly graduated from the Imperial Military Academy and is spending time at the Vorkosigan country seat, which he will eventually inherit. When a case of infanticide, because of physical deformities at birth, is brought before his father, Miles is chosen to investigate the matter and mete out justice. As Prime Minister, and a 'progressive' with intergalactic experience, Aral Vorkosigan wants to stamp out these age old beliefs, where 'mutants' are considered anathema. Miles, with his obvious deformities, is to be both messenger and message.Unlike most of the other Vorkosigan saga stories that I've read, which focus on interstellar adventures and / or political manoeuverings at the Barrayaran capital of Vorbarr Sultana, this is a story about back-country Barrayar and the long-held prejudices that modern technology hasn't managed to erase. It has a different pace and atmosphere (dare I say, bucolic?) to it, which I rather like; but it still has Miles thinking on his feet. 3- The Vor GameEnsign Vorkosigan, hoping for spaceship duty, is assigned to his first posting at Lazkowski Base, on the edge of the arctic circle. Disappointed, he learns that there are bigger things in store for him - if he can prove he can survive 'Camp Permafrost'. Then there is a mutiny on the base, and Miles has to choose between witnessing a massacre or joining the mutiny...... In limbo at Imperial Security HQ, to avoid a charge of high treason (again), Miles is offered a reconnaissance mission to the Hegen Hub (a wormhole nexus, connecting four adjoining regions of local space to the greater galactic web) where there has been a sudden increase in military activity. The Dendarii Merecenaries are also currently stationed there. The mission (as often happens with Miles) goes awry, and then he learns that the Emperor of Barrayar has gone missing. Miles, tumbling from one situation to another, has to rescue the Emperor and prevent an interstellar invasion.As ever, Miles finds himself in the thick of things, and with a lot of luck (both good and bad) has to find the solutions to tricky situations; this time while juggling three personas. This novella is fast-paced; it kept me turning pages, even though I've read it before. I like the humour and the touches of humanity; the description of Prime Minister Vorkosigan, who inspires awe even away from Barrayar
VVilliam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very fun collection which also has great scifi elements. Miles is an exciting and interesting character and I could see myself returning to this series.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is probably my favorite book of all time. I've read it many times, and just finished reading the whole series again. The characters and the world Bujold creates are outstanding, but what is perhaps the most fascinating is the way she uses those characters and setting to tell so many kinds of stories: classic space opera, murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, and even straight-up comedy of manners, a la Jane Austen. Her themes are universal and tend to at least touch on the theme of the search for identity in all her books. Young Miles is an omnibus of The Warrior's Apprentice (book), The Mountains of Morning (short story), and The Vor Game (book). All are outstanding and belong together in this collection. The writing is elegant, the humor subtle and yet LOL-funny, and the plot satisfyingly original. Her creation of Miles Vorkosigan is a true literary masterpiece, and also I'd like to marry him. Truly, these book are not-to-be-missed.
jaimelesmaths on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This entry into the beginning of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga is gripping, humorous, and profoundly entertaining. The characters (particularly Miles) are very deep and well-maintained. Yes, on some level, the books are about overcoming adversity, but it doesn't necessarily feel that way because you only rarely see Miles as truely disadvantaged. The romantic aspects are especially well-done because they aren't overdone. There's unrequited love, but the angsting is kept to a minimum and is handled well. I got this book on a friend's recommendation, and, though I waited a while to start it, once I did, I couldn't put it down. It blends many different genres of science fiction while not overly relying on any particular one. I recommend it for any science fiction fan or anyone who's looking for a more adult version of Osron Scott Card's Ender's Game.Note: This omnibus collection includes the stories "The Warrior's Apprentice" (truly excellent), "The Mountains of Mourning" (a nice side story that develops Miles's character in an interesting way), and "The Vor Game" (still very good, but had more emphasis on the military side, which is not my preferred sf genre).
SusiB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Science Fiction isn't something I read very often, but Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books were highly recommended, so I decided to give them a try. And I did enjoy reading the book. I liked Miles' character and his adventures. But there are some things that bothered me. First of all, many times I didn't quite understand what was happening when they were maneuvering and fighting in their spaceships. That's because there were a lot of - for me - unknown terms for things that the characters used. Maybe anyone who reads a lot of science fiction would be familiar with them, but I wasn't. My other criticism would be the fact that Miles never really acted the way a guy in his age would. He was supposed to be 17 in the first part of the book, but he acted far too sensible and level-headed for his age. Maybe the way he was brought up partially accounts for this, but still I found it a bit strange. On the other hand, this is fiction - so there's nothing to stop an auther from writing about an extremely sensible, smart and level-headed teenager!
diamondb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though an avid Sci-Fi fan, I had never heard of the Vorkosigan Saga until it was mentioned that Steve Jackson Games was going to make a GURPS sourcebook for it. I noted that I should maybe pick it up, but never got around to it until I needed something to read for my vacation.What was I waiting for! I love the character of Miles Vorkosigan and I believe the author has done a spectacular job of developing him. Admittedly the other characters seem lacking, but frankly the to focus is on Miles and the writing does a great job of reinforcing that focus. What really stands out to me in this book, is the difference in the 3 tales being told about Young Miles. Bujold doesn't just give us military, mercenary science fiction - though I would have enjoyed that just the same - instead she gives us insight into the whole of the once and future Miles. I quite enjoyed this book and look forward to reading others in the series.
Capfox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started reading Bujold because of a friend pressing this book on me, saying that the lead character is a weak guy who plots his way around the rest of the people around him to come to prominence. That's a favored story for me, and this friend's usually pretty good with the predictions, so I did have some expectations for this one, particularly after I read Cordelia's Honor last time.There was some variance in the quality of the two parts; I liked the second book, The Vor Game, better than the first one, The Warrior's Apprentice. The latter had more of that fun, rolling quality some stories have, when each action leads to something bigger and bigger, till events are nicely out of control. The former was more solidly plotted, though, where you could feel things coming together in a way that was more difficult to see coming. The writing style was also better in the second than the first, more polished and such.There's also a novella in here that amounts to a mystery, and while it works for the series arc, I think it's sorta meh as a mystery. It wasn't too hard to work out, really, although it's hard to do a fair play novella that's hard to guess, so I won't blame Bujold for that too much.The characters, though, are a lot of fun; Miles and Elena in the first, along with Gregor in the second, were quite fun, and I do like the trickster type of character, working everything out. I prefer Tyrion, if we're making the comparison, but y'know. That's personal preference. These are a lot of fun, too, and involving, even if not thematically as strong as the ones in Cordelia's Honor. The themes here are clear, too (mostly to do with finding yourself and your place), but not as nicely woven in.Anyway, it's a good pair of books, and I'll read more in this series some time soon.
betula.alba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fast moving space adventure, with Miles Vorkosigan as a memorable protagonist. Despite Miles physical shortcomings, he always seems to get by using his wits or by mere chance. This is one of the strengths of the book - it's very entertaining! - but also one of its weaknesses. Everything is just so conveniently laid out. Because it's so fastmoving it also lacks depth, but the book(s) make up for it with style and humor. Definately worth the read.
bjappleg8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am re-reading the Vorkosigan books for the second time this year and enjoying them even more the second time around. There's so much humor in these stories, it's easy to overlook the deeper issues that Bujold addresses. I love her commentaries on family, war, politics and sexuality. I love her generosity as a writer -- I think I know which way she leans personally, but she is so fair in presenting both sides. I'm fascinated with her approach to plot ("I take my character and think, what is the worst thing I can do to this person?"). Love, love, love her writing. I have only read through Ethan of Athos, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. She is one of my new absolute favorite authors.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So far I've only read The Warrior's Apprentice in this omnibus because I'm trying to read Bujold in publication order. May I just say that I enjoyed it tremendously? A young man whose hopes and plans for the future have been crushed, is yet unquenchable. He goes to visit his grandmother on another colony and ends up leaping from one adventure to another, with events escalating almost faster than he can keep up. I love Miles' wit and self-depreciation. Also his acute awareness of self-pity and the way he continually fights against it. The characters are well drawn, but Miles pulsates.
argusscoopski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent addition to this series
DNWilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the first Vorkosigan novel I read and I was instantly hooked. This compilation of short stories introduces Miles to the world and guides the reader through the events that sets Miles on his course to leading the Dendarii Mercenaries and sees the creation of Miles' alter ego. Miles attempts to overcome overwhelming disappointments and find his own path in life lead him on one adventure after another and results in Miles uncovering yet another plot against Miles' father. And the Emperor. Despite Miles' ability to always save the day, his all too human foibles make him a likable character and you find yourself cheering him, and his poor companions, on as Miles works to foil every plot.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an omnibus containing two novels and one novella, and is, if I understand correctly, the second according to the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan series. Thanks again to everybody who nagged me to read these. You were right.*****+ The Warrior's Apprentice. The first Miles book. I love Miles, even more than his mother. I am, however, mostly convinced that it was best that I read Barrayar before this one. I might have enjoyed Barrayar more if I'd already been acquainted with Miles, but understanding his earliest history made The Warrior's Apprentice more understandable initially. I think. Eh. It's degrees of excellent, not the difference between 3 and 5 stars. At the start of the story, Miles is trying to uphold the Vor tradition as well as his parents' more democratic ideals by attempting to enroll in the service academy like everyone else, rather than allowing political pull to just give him a position in the military. He fails the physical test, which sets in motion events that end up with him leading his very own band of mercenaries. I thoroughly enjoyed Cordelia's Honor, but The Warrior's Apprentice blew me away. It's definitely my kind of story. Impossible odds, humor, excitement, adventure, and a hero with serious disadvantages who gets by on his wits and a talent for leadership. Hmm. Sounds familiar.****½ "Mountains of Mourning". This is the novella. It's a murder mystery, set in the Vorkosigan universe, with Miles as the detective. After the events of The Warrior's Apprentice, Miles has to keep a bit of a low profile, and he's sent as his father's representative to solve the crime when a woman claims her husband killed their deformed daughter, in accordance with tradition, but against the new laws. Deformed himself, Miles is the perfect representative to try the case and to demonstrate the reason for the new laws. It's an engaging story, and the characters and world-building details are excellent. It was just a bit of a let-down after all the excitement of The Warrior's Apprentice.***** The Vor Game. Miles gets his first the weather officer at the nastiest training post on Barrayar. He runs afoul of the insane post commander, getting himself arrested saving trainees' lives, so he's reassigned, which sets in motion events leading to him rescuing the Barrayaran emperor and averting a major war, while staying a half step ahead of the people trying to kill him. As I've come to expect, the characterization is complex and detailed, and the plot has more twists than a Christmas bow.It's safe to say that I'm hooked. I have A Civil Campaign in my TBR pile, but it's going to wait until the next omnibus in the series arrives from Barnes & Noble. Besides, I need to spread these out a little. Too many excellent books in a row, and my head will explode.
alyssama121 More than 1 year ago
This is easily one of my favorite books ever. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be. My college roommate hyped it up like crazy, so when I finally got to reading it, I was expecting disappointment because it didn’t seem like it was going to be as good as she promised. But it was. This particular edition consists of two novels and a short story that all revolve around a young man named Miles Vorkosigan who has a birth defect (not congenital, he frequently assures others) and because of that is fragile. His bones break under the smallest pressure and he’s less than five feet tall. The problem is that he was born on a militant planet to a very important family. When he washes out of the military academy, he has to find his own path to greatness — and find it he certainly does. What impressed me the most about this book (and the rest of the series) is the level of characterization. Firstly, I love Miles. He is practically a cripple, but he doesn’t let that stop him, because while his body is weak, he is a genius. I appreciate that Bujold has created a character that doesn’t go into situations and use his strength or extreme fighting prowess to save the day; instead, he thinks about solutions and launches schemes to achieve his goals. Secondly, all the characters are written in shades of grey; she shows the softer sides of rampaging killers and the darker sides of sheltered researchers. This is achieved through ingenious storytelling. With adventure, mystery, suspense, and plot twists that give you whiplash, I kept turning the pages and the characters kept evolving and growing. All this, combined with in-depth universe (not world) building and fascinating cultures, this book made me want more and more and more. And don’t think it’s all just running around and doing brave deeds — though there is a lot of that — Bujold adds a lot of humor to these books and I found myself laughing aloud quite often. I really can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It’s SO good! And I don’t think it’s just for science fiction fans; there is plenty of material for all kinds of readers to find something they like.
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