30 years of Galactic Adventures.
What is Vorkosigan Saga about?
Also known as the Vorkosigan Books, the Vorkosiverse or the Miles books, The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and novellas set in a common fictional universe by American author Lois McMaster Bujold.
Most stories concern Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, a physically disabled aristocrat from the planet Barrayar whose life (from before birth), military career, and post-military career is a challenge to his native planet’s prejudices against “mutants.”
The Vorkosigan Saga Books in Order:
The Vorkosigan Saga Internal Chronological Books in Order
We begin with a chronological order, with a few adjustments, following Lois McMaster Bujold preferred order.
- Dreamweaver’s Dilemma – novelette that may be of interest to completist according to the author. She doesn’t put it officialy in her reading order. It follows Anias Ruey, an author of romance feelie-dreams, who is experiencing writer’s block. A certain Rudolph Kinsey came to her claiming to be an agent for a client who wished for her to compose an experience following a very particular scenario – one which more closely fit a horror story nightmare than a romance daydream. Also published in the e-book Proto Zoa.
- Falling Free – Leo Graf was an effective engineer …Safety Regs weren’t just the rule book he swore by; he’d helped write them. All that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat. Leo was profoundly uneasy with the corporation exploitation of his bright new students – till that exploitation turned to something much worse. He hadn’t anticipated a situation where the right thing to do was neither safe, nor in the rules…Leo Graf adopted 1000 quaddies – now all he had to do was teach them to be free.
- Shards of Honor – When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge.
- Barrayar – Cordelia Vorkosigan’s plans for a peaceful married life are shattered when a poison gas attack, intended for her husband Aral, leaves her ill and her unborn child damaged. Resisting enormous pressure to abort her son, Cordelia struggles to keep her unborn child–transferred to a uterine replicator–alive while thwarting plans by a ruthless opponent to murder the young emperor and assume absolute power over all of Barrayar.
- The Warrior’s Apprentice – Discharged from the Barrayan Military Academy, Miles Vorkosigan chances on a jumpship with a rebellious pilot and arranges to take over the ship. Events escalate from there, and soon Miles is commander of a mercenary fleet and reinvents himself as Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii Mercenary Army.
- The Mountains of Mourning – novella. Miles Vorkosigan is sent to a small mountain village to investigate the murder of an infant, killed because she had a physical defect. Miles must deal with deep-seated prejudice against “mutants” and uncover the real killer. Available in the book Borders of Infinity.
- The Vor Game – New-minted ensign Miles Vorkosigan faces enormous challenges as he leads a mutiny against his military commander’s criminal orders, rejoins his Dendarii mercenaries, and attempts to rescue Emperor Gregor after Barrayar’s royal scion has run off straight into trouble.
- Cetaganda – Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan are sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of the Cetagandan Empire, Barrayar’s former enemy. This sophisticated, genetically advanced but in many ways alien society both fascinates and repels, and when the Cetagandan Empress and her attendant die suddenly, Miles and Ivan find themselves embroiled in intrigues that are hard to fathom. Ivan’s romances and Miles’ infatuation with a nobel Cetagandan lady further complicate matters.
- Ethan of Athos – Our hero is a quiet, upstanding citizen of Athos, an obstetrician in a world in which reproduction is carried out entirely via uterine replicator, without the aid of living women. Problem: the 200-year-old cultures are not providing eggs the way they used to, and attempts to order replacements by mail have failed catastrophically. But when Ethan is sent to find out what happened and acquire more eggs, he finds himself in a morass of Cetagandan covert ops and Jackson Whole politics – and the only person who’s around to rescue him is the inimitable – and, disturbingly, female – Elli Quinn, Dendarii rent-a-spy
- Borders of Infinity – The novel (not the novella) is a fix-up collection containing the three novellas “The Mountains of Mourning”, “Labyrinth”, and “The Borders of Infinity”, together with a frame story to tie the pieces together. The frame story does not stand alone.
- Labyrinth – novella. Miles and his Dendarii mercenaries are on a mission in Jackson’s Hole to retrieve a geneticist, who unexpectedly says he won’t leave until a certain “monster” is neutralized and a tissue sample is taken from it. What Miles finds is something vastly different from what he was led to expect… Available in the book Borders of Infinity.
- Borders of Infinity – Novella. When the Cetagandan Empire invaded Marilac, Barrayar saw an opportunity to prolong the war as much as possible. So Simon Illyan charged Miles and his Dendarii Irregulars to stage a rescue from one of their prisoner of war camps. Available in the book Borders of Infinity.
- Brothers in Arms – Miles Meets His Match — Almost!The Dendarii Mercenaries thought shore leave on old quaint, placid Earth would be a nice change of pace from chasing Cetagandans. But with Miles Naismith Vorkosigan around, things just seem to get complicated. With Miles and his clone both in the same place at the same time, life gets too crazy for even Miles. Good thing Elli Quinn and the Dendarii are on hand to bail him out!
- Mirror Dance – Mark’s quixotic attempt to “liberate” children being held in Jackson’s Hole ends in disaster, compounded by Miles’ “death” in the rescue operation. Miles is being revived in a cryo-chamber, but the chamber disappears. Mark’s attempt to find his brother and redeem himself leads to his own terrifying incarceration; and the struggles of Miles, Mark and Cordelia take on fairly superhuman proportions.
- Memory – Restored to life after being pronounced dead, Miles Vorosigan realizes that the event has left him with a profound weakness and is dismissed from his job, but things are further complicated when he remembers something that he saw while dead.
- Komarr – Komarr could be a garden – with a thousand more years work or an uninhabitable wasteland, if the terraforming fails. Now the solar mirror vital to the terraforming of the conquered planet has been shattered by a ship hurtling off course. The Emperor of Barrayar sends his newest Imperial Auditor, Lord Miles Vorkosigan, to find out why.
- A Civil Campaign – Lord Miles Vorkosigan, youngest Imperial Auditor to be appointed by the Emperor since the Time of Isolation, has a problem all his new power can’t solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure.
- Winterfair Gifts – Novella. Miles Vorkosigan and his fiancée Ekaterin are enjoying the Winterfair festivities and wedding gifts on their home planet Barrayar, but Miles’ enemies are at work. Sergeant Taura, a genetically engineered young woman Miles befriended, helps uncover the sinister plot.
- Diplomatic Immunity – Returning from their honeymoon on Earth, Miles and Ekaterin stop at one of the asteroid-based habitats informally known as Quaddiespace where Miles is sent to defuse an incident between a Barryaran military command and the local police. Soon Miles finds himself embroiled in an even more deadly confrontation involving a Cetagandan renegade who has made his crimes appear the work of Barrayar, thus sparking an interplanetary war. Miles’ life and the lives of millions in both Cetagandan and Barrayaran empires will be forfeit, unless Miles can overcome seemingly impossible odds.
- Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – Captain Ivan Vorpatril current duty is on the planet Komarr as staff officer to Admiral Desplains, far from both his cousin and his mother back on their homeworld of Barrayar. It’s an easy assignment and nobody is shooting at him. What could go wrong? Plenty, it turns out, when Byerly Vorrutyer, an undercover agent for Imperial Security, shows up on his doorstep and asks him to make the acquaintance of a young woman, recently arrived on Komarr, who seems to be in danger.
- The Flowers of Vashnoi – Novella. Still new to her duties as Lady Vorkosigan, Ekaterin is working together with expatriate scientist Enrique Borgos on a radical scheme to recover the lands of the Vashnoi exclusion zone, lingering radioactive legacy of the Cetagandan invasion of the planet Barrayar. When Enrique’s experimental bioengineered creatures go missing, the pair discover that the zone still conceals deadly old secrets.
- Cryoburn – On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don’t mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping—something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle—of trouble!
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen – Cordelia Vorkosigan stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career. Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother.
The Vorkosigan Saga Publication Books in Order:
- Shards of Honor
- The Warrior’s Apprentice
- Ethan of Athos
- Falling Free
- Brothers in Arms
- The Mountains of Mourning
- Borders of Infinity
- The Vor Game
- Mirror Dance
- Dreamweaver’s Dilemma
- A Civil Campaign
- Diplomatic Immunity
- Winterfair Gifts
- Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
- The Flowers of Vashnoi
The Vorkosigan Saga Omnibus Books in Order:
You can also follow Adam Whitehead suggestion from The Wertzone who offers a reading order by omnibus. Beware, Labyrinth appears twice, and some books are not yet collected in omnibus form yet.
- Dreamweaver’s Dilemma – not part of an omnibus yet.
- Cordelia’s Honour – Shards of Honour, Aftermaths, Barrayar.
- Young Miles – The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning, The Vor Game
- Miles, Mystery and Mayhem – Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, Labyrinth
- Miles Errant – Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance
- Memory – not part of an omnibus
- Miles in Love – Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Winterfair Gifts
- Miles, Mutants and Microbes – Falling Free, Labyrinth, Diplomatic Immunity
- Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – not part of an omnibus yet.
- The Flowers of Vashnoi – not part of an omnibus yet.
- Cryoburn – not part of an omnibus yet.
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen – not part of an omnibus yet.