Friday, April 18

Cordelia's Honor - Lois McMaster Bujold

Commander Cordelia Naismith is an astrocartographer, heading up a Betan scientific exploration. When her party is set upon by vicious Barrayan soldiers she is more angry than afraid – particularly when one of her men is permanently brain damaged when hit with disruptor fire. Heading the invasion force is Aral Vorkosigan, a captain better known as the Butcher of Komarr. His reputation of ruthless sadism is belied by his behaviour as they march back to the encampment over a period of days, sharing rations, watches and confidences.
Bujold has created a rich and intricate universe, and Shards of Honour contrasts two very different cultures – the libertarian, relatively peaceful, advanced Betans and the monarchist, warrior-led, class-conscious Barrayar, steeped in traditions and only just emerging from millennia of isolation. Cordelia discovers that Beta Colony can be just as difficult to navigate within if you want what the society doesn’t want you to want, and Aral – scarred by past experiences both professional and personal – finds a safe haven in this strange off-world woman.
This is chronologically the first in the Miles Vorkosigan saga, which (fair warning) I’m about to glut on. I say “chronologically” because the books have been written out of order. That said, there is another book (Falling Free) set in the same universe about a hundred years earlier, and I would have started with that if it wasn’t in off-site storage at Lynn’s place. - Alex

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