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Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold(1949- )
Lois McMaster Bujold burst onto the SF scene in 1986 with SHARDS OF HONOUR, closely followed by BARRAYAR, and THE WARRIOR’S APPRENTICE, which introduced the physically handicapped military genius, Miles Vorkosigan. Since then she has won four Hugo Awards and two Nebulas. The mother of two, Bujold lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read more about her at The Bujold Nexus website.

The Vorkosigan Saga

The Vorkosigan Saga — (1986-2016) Omnibus and audio versions are available. Publisher: 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.

Below we present the author’s preferred reading order which is in order of plot chronology, not publication.

Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan Falling Free, The Borders of Infinity, Brothers in ArmsShards of HonorBarrayar by Lois McMaster BujoldThe Warrior's Apprentice 30th Anniversary Edition (Vorkosigan Saga) Paperback – Deluxe Edition, May 3, 2016 by Lois McMaster Bujold  (Author)The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster BujoldScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignLois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan Saga 1. Shards of Honor 2. Barrayar 3. The Warrior's Apprentice 4. Ethan of AthosBorders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga) Paperback – January 3, 2017 by Lois McMaster Bujold  (Author)Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan Falling Free, The Borders of Infinity, Brothers in ArmsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaignfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaignfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsScience fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Cryoburn

Falling Free: An early stand-alone VORKOSIGAN book

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Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

Falling Free is an early stand-alone story in Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA. It takes place before the events we read about in the other books and tells the story of the Quaddies, those genetically engineered “mutants” who have four arms and no legs and who, therefore, make good workers for zero-gravity situations. They were created in secret by a corporation who is using them as free labor.

The story starts when Leo Graf, an engineer, is hired to train students on a distant planet. Leo doesn’t know, and isn’t told, that his new students are Quaddies, so he’s quite surprised and repulsed when he first meets them. Despite their strange anatomy, though, the Quaddies are just as smart as other humans and their four arms makes them better at some mechanical tasks. Soon it becomes apparent tha... Read More

Shards of Honor: Fall in love with the Vorkosigans

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Reposting to include Tadiana's new review.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Editor's note: This is Marion's review of Shards of HonorBarrayar, and The Warrior’s Apprentice. Kat's comments about Shards of Honor and Tadiana's review are below.

Do you like fancy military uniforms? Shiny spaceships that blow things up? Brooding aristocrats with hulking stone castles and dark secrets? Snappy comebacks and one-liners? Voluptuous women warriors? Swords and secret passages? Surprising twists on standard military tactics of engagement?

If you answered “Yes” to three or more, check out the Vorkosigan Saga. Lois McMaster Bujold started this series in the mid-80s. The Vorkosigan books start out as space opera, even having maps of the various planets a... Read More

Barrayar: Culture shock

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Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

Editor's note: This is Marion's review of Shards of HonorBarrayar, and The Warrior’s Apprentice. Kat's comments about Barrayar are at the bottom.

Do you like fancy military uniforms? Shiny spaceships that blow things up? Brooding aristocrats with hulking stone castles and dark secrets? Snappy comebacks and one-liners? Voluptuous women warriors? Swords and secret passages? Surprising twists on standard military tactics of engagement?

If you answered “Yes” to three or more, check out the VORKOSIGAN SAGA. Lois McMaster Bujold started this series in the mid-80s. The VORKOSIGAN books start out as space opera, even having maps of the various planets and star systems with those so-convenient wormholes linking... Read More

The Warrior’s Apprentice: You’ll want to read more!

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The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Editor's note: This is Marion's review of Shards of HonorBarrayar, and The Warrior’s Apprentice. Kat's comments about The Warrior's Apprentice are at the bottom.

Do you like fancy military uniforms? Shiny spaceships that blow things up? Brooding aristocrats with hulking stone castles and dark secrets? Snappy comebacks and one-liners? Voluptuous women warriors? Swords and secret passages? Surprising twists on standard military tactics of engagement?

If you answered “Yes” to three or more, check out the VORKOSIGAN SAGA. Lois McMaster Bujold started this series in the mid-80s. The VORKOSIGAN books start out as space opera, even having maps of the various planets and star systems with those so-convenient... Read More

The Vor Game: Mixes space opera with political drama

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The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is Marion's review of The Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, and Mirror Dance. Kat's comments about The Vor Game are at the bottom.

Miles Vorkosigan is nearly a dwarf, with bones as brittle as fine porcelain, and he is a Vor, one of the elite, the son of the Imperial Regent. The Vor, and everyone on Barrayar for that matter, are terrified of mutation because of their history, and Miles looks like a mutation even though he isn’t one. During the middle books of this series, Miles finds a way to serve his planet while succeeding in space, where for the most part people judge achievement more than physical appearance.

Miles cannot escape his Barrayaran heritage, however. In The Vor Game, he must rescue his cousin and planetary emperor Greg... Read More

Cetaganda: A murder mystery in space

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Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Cetaganda is the ninth novel that Lois McMaster Bujold published in her popular VORKOSIGAN SAGA but, chronologically, the story takes place earlier in the sequence, between The Vor Game and Ethan of Athos. If you’re new to this series, I (and the author) recommend reading these novels in order of internal chronology which is how we have them listed here at Fantasy Literature. I read some of them out of order because of how they were presented in the Baen Omnibus editions and I regret that. The story flows much better if you read them chronologically. (Still, though, any order is better than not reading them at all — this is a great series!)

In Cetaganda Miles Vorkosigan, the “mutant,” and his tall handsome cousin Iv... Read More

Ethan of Athos: Amusing side story

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Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

Athos is a planet of men. No women are allowed — they are evil and they ruin good men. Since there isn’t a lot of immigration to Athos (their advertising campaigns just don’t seem to be very effective), they need to create baby boys to keep the population from dying out. Dr Ethan Urquhart is one of the men who’s responsible for using stock ovarian cultures to create and incubate male babies in uterine replicators. When the ovarian cultures begin to give out, Ethan orders new stock, but when it arrives it is full of the wrong kind of material. Something has gone wrong. Now Ethan must be sent off-planet to find new ovaries. Ethan is pretty nervous about his quest — he knows that there are women out there and that they are all out to capture and degrade men. He plans to stay well away from them, get his job done, and return to the safety of Athos as fast as he can. Read More

The Borders of Infinity: Three important stories about Miles

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The Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold (contains the novellas “The Mountains of Mourning,” “Labyrinth,” “The Borders of Infinity”)

The Borders of Infinity has a different structure than the earlier VORKOSIGAN books. It’s actually three previously published novellas with a frame story. Simon Illyan, head of Imperial Security, is visiting Miles while he’s recuperating in the hospital after a surgery for bone replacements. Knowing that the government will start asking questions, Simon needs Miles to justify three large vague items in his expense reports. When Miles protests, Simon explains that because he’s the prime minister’s son, Miles must avoid even the appearance of shady accounting practices. And so Miles explains each item and thus we get the stories in the novellas “The Mountains of Mourning,” originally published in Analog in May 1989, “Labyrinth... Read More

Brothers in Arms: Adds a new facet to the Vorkosigan character

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Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is Marion's review of The Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, and Mirror Dance. Kat's comments about Brothers in Arms is at the bottom.

Miles Vorkosigan is nearly a dwarf, with bones as brittle as fine porcelain, and he is a Vor, one of the elite, the son of the Imperial Regent. The Vor, and everyone on Barrayar for that matter, are terrified of mutation because of their history, and Miles looks like a mutation even though he isn’t one. During the middle books of this series, Miles finds a way to serve his planet while succeeding in space, where for the most part people judge achievement more than physical appearance.

Miles cannot escape his Barrayaran heritage, however. In The Vor Game, he must rescue his cousin and planetary empe... Read More

Mirror Dance: A fine metaphor

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Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is Marion's review of The Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, and Mirror Dance. Kat's comments about Mirror Dance are at the bottom.

Miles Vorkosigan is nearly a dwarf, with bones as brittle as fine porcelain, and he is a Vor, one of the elite, the son of the Imperial Regent. The Vor, and everyone on Barrayar for that matter, are terrified of mutation because of their history, and Miles looks like a mutation even though he isn’t one. During the middle books of this series, Miles finds a way to serve his planet while succeeding in space, where for the most part people judge achievement more than physical appearance.

Miles cannot escape his Barrayaran heritage, however. In The Vor Game, he must rescue his cousin and planetary emperor Gre... Read More

Memory: Why Bujold is Secretly Revolutionary

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Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

My copy of Memory looks like it was reread several dozen times and then shoved in the bottom of a backpack and schlepped a few hundred thousand miles (it was). It’s my favorite book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA, which is a series made up of some of my favorite books. But it isn’t high literature or uber-intellectual science fiction or the kind of book that people call “genre bending.” The plot is pure, fast-paced, crime-solving fun, like the rest of the series. It’s just a cheap paperback.

But it moved me, and continues to move me. This review is my attempt to understand how and why. After some thought and another rereading, I’ve come to suspect that it’s a book built on tiny, imperfectly perfect human interactions. The meat of Memory isn’t in the plasma arcs or crime-solving; it’s in Miles’ rambling... Read More

Komarr: A futuristic detective novel

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Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is Marion's review of MemoryKomarr and A Civil Campaign. Kat's thoughts about Komarr are at the bottom.

In Memory, Komarr and A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold turns the VORKOSIGAN SAGA from space opera to planetary politics.

Miles Vorkosigan has always been a risk-taker. Usually the person he puts at risk is himself, but in Memory, Miles’s choice injures a crew member. Miles compounds the problem by procrastinating and then outright lying in his report. Even hundreds of years in the future, the cover-up is often worse than the original act, and the consequences for Miles are serious. He must give up the mercenary fleet and ... Read More

A Civil Campaign: Romance, politics and comedy

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A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

I was afraid I wasn’t going to like A Civil Campaign as well as the previous VORKOSIGAN novels because, according to the description, the plot takes place all on the planet Barrayar and it deals mostly with relationship issues for several of the characters. Most of the various editions of the book sport covers with couples dancing or getting married. So, yeah, I thought it was a romance novel.

Well, A Civil Campaign is a romance novel, but because it involves the romances of Miles Vorkosigan, his clone brother Mark, and his tomcatting cousin Ivan Vorpatril, it is, thankfully, a lot more than that. Along with the romance, Bujold weaves in a few funny subplots that both entertain and advance the plot of the VORKOSIGAN series on the non-romantic fronts, too.

Miles’ goal in this book is to convin... Read More

Winterfair Gifts: Miles gets married

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Winterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous VORKOSIGAN books.

Winterfair Gifts is a novella that tells the story of Miles Vorkosigan’s wedding to the widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. It you want to follow the chronology, it should be read after A Civil Campaign and before Diplomatic Immunity. You will probably also want to first read the short story “Labyrinth” which can be found as a stand-alone or in the novel Borders of Infinity.

This story is told from the perspective of one of Miles’ new armsmen — Roic — who we (or at least I) remember fondly as the tall muscular guard who was nearly naked and slathered in bug butter in A Civil Campaign. Here he recounts the wedding preparations and the arrival of the guests, including many old friends, at Vorkosigan house. Read More

Diplomatic Immunity: The honeymoon is over

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Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books.

In Diplomatic Immunity, Miles and Ekaterin are on the final leg of their interplanetary honeymoon and are anxious to return to Barrayar where their two full-term babies (one boy and one girl) are ready to be released from their uterine replicators. But, as usual, something happens to delay their return. In this case, it’s a diplomatic issue — a Komarran merchant ship with a Barrayaran military escort is being held up at Graf Station in Quaddiespace — and Emperor Gregor asks Miles to go straighten it out on his way home. When Miles gets there, he discovers that a Barrayan officer is missing and possibly murdered. His investigation eventually uncovers a conspiracy which could lead to bioterrorism and war.

Some of our favorite characters are missing from Diplomatic Immunit... Read More

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen: A different VORKOSIGAN book

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Reposting to include Kevin's new review:

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

Note: This review discusses a major revelation for readers of this series, disclosed in the first chapter of this book.

Three years after the sudden death of her husband Aral, Cordelia Vorkosigan is still the Vicereine (governor) of the colony planet Sergyar, and is still recovering from the grief of losing Aral. Cordelia is now seventy-six, but still young both at heart and physically, since she enjoys the much longer-than-usual lifespan of a native of Beta Colony. Barrayaran Admiral Oliver Jole, who is nearly fifty, greets Cordelia as she returns to Sergyar, and as they share a lunch and some reminiscing a few days later, it soon becomes clear that Cordelia and Oliver share a deeper history: an extramarital affair by Aral with Oliver, who was his young, stun... Read More

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance: A romp from start to finish

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Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold’s newest entry in the VORKOSIGAN SAGA, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, is a romp from start to finish. It’s not great literature, but it’s a great deal of fun, and I enjoyed every minute reading it.

Bujold appears to have exhausted the possibilities in Miles Vorkosigan’s life, now that he is as highly placed a government official as he can be, as well as happily married and the father of at least two children. So Bujold has turned to a minor character in Miles’s story, his cousin, Ivan Vorpatril.

Ivan is a captain in the Barrayar military, working in Ops as the staff officer to Admiral Desplains. He and the Admiral are presently stationed on the planet Komarr, which is pleasant enough duty. Ivan sees his job as sorting snakes that come over the A... Read More

Cryoburn: A good installment in a great series

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Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Cryoburn is the long-awaited new novel in Lois McMaster Bujold’s excellent VORKOSIGAN SAGA, following 2002’s Diplomatic Immunity. If you’re not familiar with this series yet and are in the mood for some intelligent, character-driven and consistently entertaining SF, drop everything now and go find the first few books. Almost all of them are conveniently available in affordable omnibus editions from Baen. You can start with the Cordelia’s Honor omnibus if you want to read the series according to internal chronological order, or Young Miles if you want to start where Miles Vorkosigan, the series’ unforgettable hero, really gets into gear.

In Cryoburn, Miles is on Kidou-daini (a brand new planet in the series, as... Read More

The World of the Five Gods

The World of the Five Gods — (2001-2016) Publisher: On the eve of the Daughter’s Day — the grand celebration that will honor the Lady of Spring, one of the five reigning deities — a man broken in body and spirit makes his way slowly down the road to Valenda. A former courtier and soldier, Cazaril has survived indignity and horrific torture as a slave aboard an enemy galley. Now he seeks nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, in the noble household where he served as page in his youth. But the gods have greater plans for this humbled man. Welcomed warmly, clothed and fed, he is named, to his great surprise, secretary tutor to the Royesse Iselle — the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is destined to be the next ruler of the land. But the assignment must ultimately carry Cazaril to the one place he fears even more than the sea: to the royal court of Cardegoss, rife with intrigues and lethal treacheries. In Cardegoss, the powerful enemies who once placed Cazaril in chains and bound him to a Roknori oar now occupy the most lofty positions in the realm, beneath only the Roya himself. Yet something for more sinister than their scheming hangs like a sword over the royal family: a curse of the blood that taints not only those who would rule, but those who stand in their circle. The life and future of both Iselle and her entire blighted House of Chalion lie in dire peril. The only recourse left to her loyal, damaged servant is the employment of the darkest and most forbidden of magics — a choice that will indelibly mark Cazaril as a tool of the miraculous… and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

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Related: Penric & Desdemona (2015- )

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPenric's Mission (Penric & Desdemona Book 3) Kindle Edition by Lois McMaster Bujold (Author)Mira's Last Dance (Penric & Desdemona Book 4) Kindle Edition by Lois McMaster Bujold (Author)

The Curse of Chalion: Beautifully written, excellent audiobook

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The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold has long been esteemed in the science fiction genre, so I expected great things from The Curse of Chalion, and I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed. This is an excellent piece of work! Bujold's story is completely fresh, and the world-building and magic system are unique, too. I was hooked from page one and it proceeds at a pleasant pace with plenty of surprises and plot twists. Characterization is deep and somehow Bujold made me really like the main character, Cazaril, right from the start, even though he is not the type of hero I thought I preferred. As a psychologist, I especially appreciate how the characters realistically maintained their natural personalities throughout the story while maturing (or becoming more immature) as they grew from their experiences.

And, so importantly, Read More

Paladin of Souls: Another wonderful book in the Chalion series

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Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

Paladin of Souls takes place just after the events of The Curse of Chalion and focuses on Ista, one of the minor middle-aged female characters from that book. Paladin of Souls can stand alone, but you'll get a lot more out of it if you read The Curse of Chalion first.

Bujold's world of Chalion is believable and complex, the magic is deep, fascinating, and just plain scary. Bujold is particularly good at developing multi-faceted characters who have beautiful relationships with each other. Ista is an intelligent widow with a tragic past who wants to change her circumstances and make the world better for herself and others. She's utterly charming and she's surrounded by a group of equally charming secondary characters. Together they go on a pilgrimage just so Ista can ... Read More

The Hallowed Hunt: Fresh characters and plot

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The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold

I think Lois McMaster Bujold has exactly the right idea with the Chalion series. Each book stands alone, but if you have read the first one (Curse of Chalion), you get all the background material you need to understand the geographical, political, and religious systems of her world. This means that later books (Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt) can have fresh new characters and plots, but we don't have to endure many info dumps. The magic system, meanwhile, gets more and more complex, as we learn more in each book. Perhaps best of all, the plot can wrap up at the end of each novel.

What I like best about Bujold is her wonderfully imaginative and complicated magic. I love how she lets... Read More

Penric’s Demon: A new Five Gods story!

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Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold

It’s been ten years since Lois McMaster Bujold, one of my favorite authors, published a story set in her FIVE GODS fantasy world. This is the award-wining series that consists of The Curse of Chalion (2001, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award), The Paladin of Souls (2003, Hugo, Nebula, Locus Award) and The Hallowed Hunt (2005). I read these when they were first released, and I loved them, so maybe you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Bujold has written a new novella set in the same world.

I listened to the audio version of Penric’s Demon, read by Grover Gardner. He has become one of my favorite narrators since I listened to him rea... Read More

Penric and the Shaman: Penric solves a murder mystery

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Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold’s FIVE GODS novels — The Curse of Chalion (2001), The Paladin of Souls (2003), and The Hallowed Hunt (2005) — are some of the most beloved in fantasy literature. They won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards. That’s why her fans (of which I am definitely one) where so pleased when she began writing novellas set in the same world. These have different characters than the three novels (which each stand a... Read More

Penric’s Mission: The best Penric story so far

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Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold

Penric’s Mission (2017) is the third novella in Lois McMaster Bujold’s PENRIC AND DESDEMONA series which is part of her multiple-award-winning FIVE GODS series (The Curse of Chalion, The Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt). It follows the novellas Penric’s Demon (2015) and Read More

The Sharing Knife

The Sharing Knife — (2006-2009) Publisher: Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family’s farm. But en route to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, nomadic soldier–sorcerers from the northern woodlands. Feared necromancers armed with mysterious knives made of human bone, they wage a secret, ongoing war against the scourge of the “malices,” immortal entities that draw the life out of their victims, enslaving human and animal alike. It is Dag — a Lakewalker patroller weighed down by past sorrows and onerous present responsibilities — who must come to Fawn’s aid when she is taken captive by a malice. They prevail at a devastating cost — unexpectedly binding their fates as they embark upon a remarkable journey into danger and delight, prejudice and partnership… and perhaps even love.

Lois McMaster Bujold The Sharing Knife 1. Beguilement 2. Legacy 3. Passage 4. Horizon Lois McMaster Bujold The Sharing Knife 1. Beguilement 2. Legacy 3. Passage 4. HorizonLois McMaster Bujold The Sharing Knife 1. Beguilement 2. Legacy 3. Passage 4. Horizon Lois McMaster Bujold The Sharing Knife 1. Beguilement 2. Legacy 3. Passage 4. Horizon
Available from Audible

Beguilement: A chatty romance

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Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

After reading Lois McMaster Bujold's first Chalion book, I was an instant fan (see review above). So, I was really excited to get my hands on the audio versions of the first two novels in her second fantasy series: The Sharing Knife.

Alas, it really pains me to have to write a lackluster review for anything Bujold does, but here we go.

First, let me say that Beguilement is a romance novel, as clearly stated by Bujold herself on her website:
The Sharing Knife is a romance-fantasy-action/adventure-social-drama-psychological study. (Or you could just call it a Bujold book.) But the two main characters and their relationship and how it changes each of their lives i... Read More

Legacy: Shut up, Fawn.

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Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold

It sincerely hurts me to give Lois McMaster Bujold the "DNF," but I didn't get very far into The Sharing Knife: Legacy before giving up. It tried it on audio, with the same reader who read Beguilement (see above).

The first scene was a sex scene: Dag (who's 55 years old) and Fawn (who's 19) on their wedding night. I rolled my eyes through most of it, and when Fawn started chatting about her family's propensity to produce twins and other unsuitable topics for a wedding night scene (this is during the act, mind you), I had had enough of Fawn.

Part of the problem is the audiobook reader's voice — so naive and hickish sounding (though Fawn is actually quite bright) that it grates on my nerves. I thought to myself, "I can't listen to hours of this," so I deleted it off my MP3 p... Read More

Passage: It’s about the journey

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Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold

Fantasy comes in all forms. Epic fantasy. Dark fantasy. Contemporary fantasy. Historical fantasy. Erotic fantasy. Then there’s The Sharing Knife series by award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold (THE VORKOSIGAN SAGA, The Spirit Ring, the FIVE GODS novels), which is an altogether different kind of fantasy…

In a familiar world that recalls The Last of the Mohicans, there are two peoples — Lakewalkers and farmers — who are ignorant of each other’s ways. Despite this centuries-old prejudice, a young farmer girl and a Lakewalker patroller manage to fall in love and get married, which is basically Beguilement and Legacy in a nutshell. Obviously there’s... Read More

Mira’s Last Dance: An amusing episode in Penric’s continuing story

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Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

Note: Contains mild spoilers for the previous PENRIC novellas.

Around 15 years ago, Lois McMaster Bujold published her much-acclaimed WORLD OF THE FIVE GODS series which contained three stand-alone novels: The Curse of Chalion (winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, nominated for the Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards), Paladin of Souls (winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award, nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award) and The ... Read More

Proto Zoa: Five early short stories by Bujold

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Proto Zoa by Lois McMaster Bujold

Proto Zoa, whose title literally means “first animal,” collects five of Lois McMaster Bujold’s earliest short stories:

“Barter” — (Originally published in 1985 in The Twilight Zone Magazine) Mary Alice has a lazy husband, three young bratty children, and a couple of clumsy cats. She’s having her usual rough morning when a strange little man shows up on the doorstep asking for a bottle of ammonia. Mary Alice decides to make a deal with him. This cute story will especially be appreciated by harried mothers.

“Garage Sale” — (1987, American Fantasy) Harold Kreeger is constantly fighting with the widow next door. She doesn’t like the way he takes care of his property, and she hates it when his cat poops in her yard. Finally, Harold hatches a plan to get revenge. This story is sli... Read More