Seventeen-year-old Miles Vorkosigan has always wanted to carry on in the tradition of his warrior forefathers, despite the legacy of a gas attack before he was born that left his physically disabled. Quick witted and preternaturally smart, Miles makes it through all the intelligence testing but comprehensively fails the physical. However a trip to visit his Betan grandmother turns Miles’ life in a wholly unexpected path – rescuing a pilot about to lose his ship, and a Barrayan deserter living off the grid, Miles somehow ends up in command of an ever-growing regiment of soldiers.
In lesser hands this first exploit would be ludicrous, but Bujold pulls it off without a tremor of incredulity being raised – Miles is charming, quick and quick-witted, and possesses an uncanny ability to turn the most disadvantageous situation in his favour. Like another of my favourite series (David Feintuch's seven-part Seafort Saga), part of the appeal is the attitude he holds to life, responsibility, the demands of command, and the sequela of unavoidable and unpalatable decisions. - Alex