Cryoburn From Lois McMaster Bujold

Coming this November 1st the latest Miles Vorkosigan  book by Lois McMaster Buold, Cryoburn, will come out in Hardcover. With this release of Cryoburn, for the first time ever there was a CD released that contains the past Vorkoverse books. Now prior to this I had only read one Miles Vorkosigan story ( The Mountains of Mourning) when it was put up for free in the Baen Free Library to see if I would like the authors style of writing. I found that I liked the story and would like to read the entire series, of course that presented a Problem: finding and buying all of the old books. As you can see this CD release was very good news since finances have been tight and the Fifth Imperium Site has recently placed the Cryoburn CD up. I have personally over the past week + been reading the entire Vorkoverse (except the Novel Memory, it is not on the CD).

So for all those that have wanted to check out the Vorkoverse but not wanted to hunt down and/or put out the expense of buying the books from the beginning of the  series can now do it by going here:

If you want to see the “chronological order” (not publish order) and small blurbs to the stories see this wiki article:

However here is some things you should know about the characters and planets of the Vorkoverse:

After humanity spread out from earth some of the colony planets got cut off by failure of the wormholes of the Nexus that led to them. One such planet is Barrayar, the home planet of the main protagonist Miles Vorkosigan. When that happened the colonists slid back into a Feudal system headed by an Emperor and regional Counts. The noble families are known by having the prefix Vor in their names, however that prefix is more than just a title for to be Vor means: To Serve. Eventually a new wormhole is found which ends what the Barrayarans term “The Time of Isolation”, however it does not end peacefully for they are invaded shortly afterward by the Ghem Lords of Cetaganda. Even though the Cetagandans are far more advanced in technology they were unable to conquer Barrayar to the eventual dismay of the merchant planet Komarr who let the Cetagandans through their space to invade Barrayar. Barrayar also has had a history of political strife with many assassinations and war between nobles.

Major Characters (some never actually appear in the stories in person but shape the entire storyline through the books):

“Mad” Emperor Yuri Vorbarra: Following the victory over the Cetagandans the then Emperor Yuri Vorbarra loses his mind and attempts to kill off all the heirs to the throne. He is eventually defeated and executed.

Emperor Ezra Vorbarra: descendant of Yuri Vorbarra who became Emperor after his death.

General-Count Piotr Vorkosigan: One of the main drivers in the defeat of the Cetagandans. He was so effective that the Cetagandans destroyed his regional capitol city and the surrounding area with nuclear weapons. He was also instrumental in dethroning the Mad Emperor. He did not rebel until Yuri had his wife and eldest son killed (narrowly escaping was his youngest son).

Aral Vorkosigan: aka Lord Vorkosigan, Count Vorkosigan after the death of Count Piotr. Was the youngest Admiral in Barrayar history, led the fleet that conquered Komarr as punishment for letting the Cetagandans through. At that time the Barrayarns had Political Officers assigned to military units to maintain loyalty to the Empreror. The Political Officer attached to Aral orders a revenge massacre of surrendering Komarrans behind Aral’s back.  Once Aral finds out this man did this he kills him with his bare-hands on the bridge of his ship for dishonoring him, however the damage had been done. To the Komarrans and for most of the wider human galaxy he became known as the “Butcher of Komar” and costing Aral his Admirals rank. He saw his mother killed by Yuri Vorbarra’s assassins when he was only eleven years old, fought in the war against the Mad Emperor and was one of the party that killed him when he was captured.

Cordelia Vorkosigan, nee Naismith: aka Lady Vorkosigan, Countess Vorkosigan, Captain Naismith. A commander in the Betan Astronomical Survey Corps (Beta Colony is reputed to be the most advanced and liberal places in the Human galaxy) that stumbles across a group Barrayarans  while on a newly discovered planet. Here she meets and fall in love with one Captain Aral Vorkosigan of Barryar through their shared adventures, however she is not ready to tie herself to Barrayar so they each go their separate ways only to meet later after Captain Naismith is captured during the war when Barrayar attempts to invade and conquer Escobar. After the war (which turns out to be nothing more then a twisted, cruel but necessary plot by the dying Emperor Ezra Vorbarra to get rid of his insane son and discredit the older counts that want to basically conquer the universe) Cordelia finds that the only refuge for her is on Barrayar with Aral. Her now husband who was the hatchet man for the Emperor in his plot is now named Regent for the Emperors young Grandson, Gregor. Her husband is respected by his rival counts but she is feared by them for what she did to a Count that tried to take over the throne and endangered her son Miles: She snuck into the imperial residence with the help of the young Emperor’s former bodyguard and ended up killing the pretender, cutting of his head and bringing it back to her husband. This did three things that has reverberated through the books:

1. When someone on/from Barrayar wants to threaten revenge they mention that they are going shopping and will bring back a head in a bag. This comes from what Cordelia answered when Count Piotr asked her what she thought she had been doing.

Count Piotr’s hand slapped down hard upon the table. “Good God, woman, where have you been?” he cried furiously.

A morbid lunacy overtook her. She smiled fiercely at him, and held up the bag. “Shopping.”

For a second, the old man nearly believed her; conflicting expressions whiplashed over his face, astonishment, disbelief, then anger as it penetrated he was being mocked.

“Want to see what I bought?” Cordelia continued, still floating. She yanked the bag’s top open, and rolled Vordarian’s head out across the table. Fortunately, it had ceased leaking some hours back. It stopped faceup before him, lips grinning, drying eyes staring.

Piotr’s mouth fell open. Kanzian jumped, the staffers swore, and one of Vordarian’s traitors actually fell out of his chair, recoiling. Vortala pursed his lips and raised his brows. Koudelka, grimly proud of his key role in stage-managing this historic moment in one-upsmanship, laid the swordstick on the table as further evidence. Illyan puffed, and grinned triumphantly through his shock.

Aral was perfect. His eyes widened only briefly, then he rested his chin on his hands and gazed over his father’s shoulder with an expression of cool interest. “But of course,” he breathed. “Every Vor lady goes to the capital to shop.”

“I paid too much for it,” Cordelia confessed.

“That, too, is traditional.” A sardonic smile quirked his lips.

“Kareen is dead. Shot in the melee. I couldn’t save her.”

He opened his hand, as if to let the nascent black humor fall through his fingers. “I see.” He raised his eyes again to hers, as if asking Are you all right?, and apparently finding the answer, No.

“Gentlemen. If you will be pleased to excuse yourselves for a few minutes. I wish to be alone with my wife.”

In the shuffle of the men rising to their feet, Cordelia caught a mutter, “Brave man . . .”

She nailed Vordarian’s men by eye, as they backed from the table. “Officers. I recommend that when this conference resumes, you surrender unconditionally upon Lord Vorkosigan’s mercy. He may still have some.” I certainly don’t, was the unspoken cap to that. “I’m tired of your stupid war. End it.”

2. Prior to this Count Piotr wanted to end Miles life in convention with the old custom of weeding out mutations (see Mountains of Mourning to really understand how the fear of mutations affected Barrayar during the Time of Isolation), after he was afraid to cross her. Keep in mind Count Piotr fought a guerrilla war against the Cetagandans and has some interesting mementos from the time.

3. When she basically took over rearing the now orphaned young boy Emperor and raised him as her son, it but a level of fear in any plotter against him that she might come head hunting in revenge. It also cut down on the amount of people tha complained about how she raised him too which becomes very important later on when Gregor grows up.

Miles Naismith Vorkosigan: aka Lord Vorkosigan, Admiral Naismith. Born with extensive damage to his skeleton he stands less then 5 feet tall but with the head of a man that should be 6 foot 4 inches tall when he reaches adulthood. He becomes an overachiever and one of the best manipulators of people in the galaxy.

Sergeant Bothari: Aka My Lady’s Dog. Sergent Bothari was a courageous Barrayan soldier that was mentally tortured by a deranged nobleman, thus driving him insane. During that time he did vile acts, but still at his core tried to help the victims he was forced to victimized. In the end he finds a form of redemption when he becomes as he puts it Lady Vorkosigans Dog, following her orders and protecting who she says. He later becomes young Miles bodyguard/batman. Sergeant Bothari dies in one of the early books and is laid to rest perpendicular to the foot of the plot that is set aside for Cordelia, thus confirming even in death the loyal dog after it’s masters feet.


One response to “Cryoburn From Lois McMaster Bujold

  1. Kathy Martin October 29, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Very nice! You chose one of my favorite quotes from the whole series. I am currently grinning as I read this quote from Cryoburn: “Only five days on this benighted world, and already total strangers are trying to kill me. Sadly, it wasn’t even a record.” Happy reading!

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