I have always been an avid reader. I read many things, enjoy many things, but every now and again, a book or series comes along and brings with it the power to change the world by changing the person who reads it. The Vorkosigan Saga, also known as the Vorkosiverse or Miles books by Lois McMaster Bujold, has been one of these for me.
It takes your perspective, preconceptions, and prejudices, bundles them in a sack and then tips them back out for your own personal scrutiny and amusement. Books in the series have been nominated for and won multiple Hugo, Locus and Nebula awards with good reason.
It’s one of those worlds where the characters really come to life and whilst reading, the pages and words fall away and reveal a whole universe with characters so real it’s impossible to not think of them as people. Many stories are told – some sad, some traumatic, some funny, some happy – over the course of the series. I haven’t met anyone yet who have only read one book in series or were able to put down whichever books they had chosen to start with.
Price: Kindle versions are around £5.49 each and the novella £2.49
About Lois McMaster Bujold
“Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.
She began writing with the aim of professional publication in 1982. She wrote three novels in three years; in October of 1985, all three sold to Baen Books, launching her career. Bujold went on to write many other books for Baen, mostly featuring her popular character Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, his family, friends, and enemies. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages.”*
- Genre: Character driven science-fiction
- Target age range: Children, Teens, Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral
There has been much debate and conversation about which order to read them in and luckily, the author herself keeps an up to date list on Goodreads. Below is the order I like to read them in.
Set 200 years earlier in the timeline and does not share settings or characters with the main body of the series.
The Warrior’s Apprentice – The first Miles book
Weatherman – Novella (an outtake from The Vor Game, don’t buy just get The Vor Game)
The Vor Game
Ethan of Athos – Does not feature Miles or any other Vorkosigan directly
Borders of Infinity – Three novellas wrapped in a frame story – see details below*
Brothers in Arms
A Civil Campaign
Winterfair Gifts – A novella
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – The first Ivan book
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
*The Borders of Infinity is a collection of 3 novellas framed within a larger story. The first “The Mountains of Mourning” is chronologically set just after The Warrior’s apprentice. The second “Labyrinth” is chronologically set just after Ethan of Athos and the third follows after Labyrinth. The Mountains of Mourning and Labyrinth is available on Kindle as standalone ebooks.
Kindle editions of the series is very well priced at around £5 per novel.
Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Pages: ± 320 pages (per book)
Available formats: Kindle Edition, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio download, Audio CD
Publisher (Kindle): Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc.
Release date: 1986 – 2016
Language: English (translations available)
Word Wise: Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
* Kindle/Audible (free) App
There is a sign above my door: “If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. – A Miles quote from Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold.” It’s the last thing I look at before I leave the house and one of the first life lessons I ever shared with my daughter.
There are many universal truths and many quotable sentences in the books, which is wonderful, but like all quotations, it’s the power of the whole book and in this case a whole universe filled with larger than life characters that stand behind each word. Don’t read quotations, read books, they’re better, last longer and will stay with you when you need a little motivation and company.
There isn’t much better company than Cordelia, Miles and “Ivan, you idiot!”, but be warned, it’s a massive collection and once you pick up that first book, there is no putting it down until the last. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Kindle Edition of the series. This article was first published on 7 November 2015 and last updated on 14 November 2016.