The popular adventures of Miles Vorkosigan, a clever and outlandish science fiction hero for the modern era, continue in these three tales. In The Mountains of Mourning, Miles is dispatched to a back-country region of Barrayar, where he must act as detective, judge, and executioner in a controversial murder case.
In Labyrinth, Miles adopts his alternate persona as Dendarii Mercenary Admiral Naismith for an undercover mission to rescue an important research geneticist from Jackson’s Whole. And in the title story, Miles infiltrates an escape-proof Cetagandan POW camp and plays hero to the most deeply distressed damsel of his colorful career.
Lois McMaster Bujold burst upon the science fiction world in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of the Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has won the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula Award twice. The mother of two, she lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.
©1989 2007 by Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Essential for all sf collections.” (Library Journal)
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"Book Order is Important!"
Read this book before "Brothers in Arms!"
This a collection of three shorter stories originally published separately. To make them look like a more coherent collection, the stories are presented as "reports" Miles is giving to his IMPSEC superior.
In the grander scheme of things "Mountains of Mourning" takes place just after "Warrior's Apprentice." While fans will be interested (and if you've gotten this far, you're a fan), this is a story you can go back and catch a few books down the road. It was originally in limited publication and wasn't designed to leave anyone behind who hadn't read it.
Both "Labyrinth" and the title story, "Borders of Infinity," are stories where Miles is the main character and take place after "Cetaganda." These two stories both contain material I would have been upset to have missed if I hadn't read them in the proper order! The former introduces characters and background information that are very important to later books, and the later feeds directly into the next book in the storyline, "Brothers in Arms."
So I repeat, read this collection just before reading "Brothers in Arms!" Audible's series list for this one is a bit off, so don't be lead astray!
And as you can probably guess, I'm a HUGE fan. Love the series, love the author, and the narrator's slightly old-timey delivery is the perfect backdrop for a series that turns the early sci-fi themes on their ears.
"Even better than expected"
Thank you Lois, you sounded like Churchill in some of Miles pep talks filled with fire and physicological wisdom. Expected some loose ends of incomplete stories but all three stories were rich, powerful Miles adventures up to your usual standards.Really enjoyed it. P.S. The book is not 7 hours but 9 1/2 hrs. of great reading
"Funny, fun, interesting???"
Really pleasant characters in a fleshed out universe. One of the best, highly prolific sci-fi writers I have found. These books are about people (human and otherwise) and science-fiction is only a scaffolding for the issues and actions of the characters. So far these have been quite consistently good. I really should give this 4 stars not 5 but I just can't stop myself...
"Answers a couple of nagging questions"
While the narrative trick that binds these three stories together seems a bit forced, the stories themselves are natural and necessary components in the development of Miles' character. You will love the story behind how the loveable Taura became a part of the Dendari Mercenaries. And, unless you are a heartless bastard, you will need to have a box of tissue beside you as you finish the title story.
Perhaps the greatest joy I've had from joining Audible three years ago is finding this series based on reader recommendations. I started with the Shards of Honor/Barrayar duology, finding both so good that I was afraid the series would inevitably go downhill once Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan ceded center stage. But no... enter their son Miles!
Miles is not the physically dominant fighter so often cast in the hero role. Far from it, he has severe physical disabilities. Resigned (maybe? sort of?) to his limitations, he discovers early in life that when you can't beat up on 'em, (1) charm them and (2) outsmart them. He proceeds to do both throughout these wonderful books, with an added dimension of compassion and a wry, witty humor unique in the science fiction I've read.
I'm more than halfway through the series and already dreading the day I finish and won't be able to experience them again for the first time.
This collection contains three novellas. Fortunately, the author's interview on Amazon ("The Chef Recommends") gives the order in which they fit into the longer sequence of novels. "Mountains of Mourning" immediately follows "The Warrior's Apprentice." It is a moving story that is more murder mystery than science fiction, recounting events that have a deep affect on Miles as he begins his career as a Vorlord and military commander.
"The Labyrinth" and the title story "Borders of Infinity" (along with "Ethan of Athos," a fun novel that is part of the Vorkosiverse but doesn't feature Miles) fit in between "Cetaganda" and "Brothers in Arms." These three form a kind of bridge between the first three Miles books and the next "trilogy" (Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, and Memory). I haven't gotten to "Komarr" yet but gather from Bujold's notes that it moves Miles into a new phase of his career.
The icing on the cake is Grover Gardner's narration, which ranks at the very top of what I've listened to (along with Simon Vance's work on the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Davina Porter's "Outlander" series, and Simon Jones's voicing of the "Bartemeus" fantasies).
Finally, some of the stories alluded to in many of LMB's stories told in full. As usual characters that you must love, Narration great!
Not a must in enjoying the series, but a treat to have some new adventures with miles before he became the Imperial Auditor!
I really loved this book when I first read it, and still loved it after re-listening to it. Actually, listening to someone reading it adds a new depth to the story of Miles and I enjoyed it a lot. All the stories in this collection are not exactly "happy" stories, but leave you with something that makes you contemplate on the importance of "how" you live your life...
"Filling in the Gaps"
I think this is chronologically set right AFTER Brothers in Arms, and before Mirror Dance--but that is to say the linking narrative is set then, as Miles tells his mother at the end that he has much to tell her about Earth. It does have information that you might want to know before reading or listening to Mirror Dance. However, none of the information is critical. However, it works fine for filling in the gaps, any time after you feel comfortable that you know Miles and his universe. I do not recommend this as your first glimpse of this world. Unlike some others, I liked the linking narrative quite a lot, despite the fact that it is weaker than any of the individual stories.
While this book is far from the best in the series, the series is so good that I did not want to give it less than five stars.
"Three jewels in a single setting"
I don't like novellas, but these three are a glorious exception to the rule. Each one is unique and stands out for it's own reasons. The last story (after which the book is titled) is particularly stunning.
"Includes "Mountains of Mourning" and "Labyrinth""
This is a collection of three shorter stories featuring Miles, loosely woven together by Miles reporting to Simon Illyan about "Labyrinth" and "Borders of Infinity", and in the course of this remembering his "Mountains of Mourning". I was glad to come across them here as I had been looking for them to no avail.
All three are enjoyable and Grover Gardner does his usual perfect job.
"I can just keep coming back to her books"
It's difficult to say what it is about Bujold's books that keeps me coming back. Each time there's a turn of phrase or an insight that comes fresh.
It was such a delight when I realised that, where I thought I'd heard all the Vorkosigan audio books (having read them as hard copy in any event) there was this one I'd missed.
This is a series of short stories which might lead those unfamiliar with the series into wanting more or fills in some gaps they might not even have known were there for those who do know the other books.
Read these years ago...except for labyrinth. ..now I am complete :)Miles Vorkosigan at his best......as always. onward to the next one.
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