Barrayar : Vorkosigan Saga (chronological)

  • by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • Series: Vorkosigan Saga (chronological)
  • 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Political intrigue, culture clash and romance make a stirring mix in this award-winning follow-up novel to the acclaimed Shards of Honor.
In the wake of interplanetary war, former commander Cordelia Naismith has deserted her own planet to marry the leader of the defeated enemy, Aral Vorkosigan. On his home planet of Barrayar, two rival factions are eyeing the recently vacated throne, and Aral, recently appointed Regent of Barrayar by the Emperor on his deathbed, must stand between them.
Lord and Lady Vorkosigan, Aral and Cordelia struggle to establish stability in a fragile government thrown into confusion by the transition of power and the threat of civil war. When a palace coup endangers the government, their lives, and her unborn son, Cordelia takes action to secure the safety of her new family and new home.

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What the Critics Say



1992 Hugo Award, Best Novel

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

For better or worse, definitely worse

Barrayar is the Hugo award winning follow-up novel to Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor. After a brief honeymoon, Aral Vorkosigan is named Regent, a pseudo-emperor until Gregor reaches maturity. Varying political factions vie for control of Barrayar. After a failed assassination attempt on Aral, Cordelia is nearly killed and her pregnancy is almost aborted. With disaster after disaster coming nonstop, Cordelia reluctantly takes charge in her own unique way to save her marriage, her unborn son, and all of Barrayar, all at the same time.

The sci-fi elements are in line with the prior installment, although all the action is groundside this time. In addition, the entire perspective is from Cordelia's point of view. For readers of Miles' exploits in later installments, all the background on the major characters is on display with Cordelia's unique influence and leadership skills amply demonstrated toward each individual. The action is almost nonstop along with Cordelia's internal philosophical musings, as well as touching moments of mature adults (rather than youthful invincibles) attempting to secure a bit of solace and occasional intimacy.

Gardner's narration is spectacular with an excellent range of voices and his unique talent for differentiating speech from thought that is critical for catching the nuances of the tale.
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- Michael G Kurilla

Go Bujold!

I admit it. I'm a fangirl. I love Lois McMaster Bujold's books. The Chalion books are great, and even the "Sharing Knife" quartet isn't bad, although a little on the YA side for my taste.

But it's the Vorkosigans of Barrayar who really shine for me, and even though most of the books feature Miles Vorkosigan as the protagonist, his parents Cordelia Naismith and Count Aral Vorkosigan have always been at the heart of the saga, even when they aren't on stage. Their story is told in "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar."

Although Audible lists "Barrayar" as Book 3 in the series, it's actually Book 2. "Falling Free," listed as Book 1, is a standalone prequel that bears little if any relationship to the rest of the series. The story really starts with "Shards of Honor," which is a science fiction-military action-conspiracy-political thriller "space opera" that is also one of the great love stories of all time. Yes, it's from early in Bujold's career and has some weak spots. But it's fantastic. Listen to it first, and then dive right into "Barrayar," which picks up pretty much where "Shards" leaves off.

"Barrayar" portrays the events that will quite literally shape the life of Miles Vorkosigan and Emperor Gregor Vorbarra as the series continues. The social caste system of Barrayar--a fascinating mix of futurism and feudalism--is vivid. The characters are amazing. The relationship of Count Pytor Vorkosigan to his son Aral and his new daughter-in-law Cordelia (and their son Miles, even in utero) is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Kind of like real life.

Heroism and treachery, politics and family, love and war, life and death--it's all here. And narrator Grover Gardner is Grover Great!

P.S. For anyone who looks for strong but very realistic female leads, look no further than Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan!
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- Carol

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.