Winterfair Gifts: Miles gets married

Science fiction book reviews Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan The Vor Game, Mirror Dance, Cetaganda, Memory, Komarr, A Civil CampaignWinterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster BujoldWinterfair 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.

One of the special wedding guests is Taura, the weregirl who Miles saved from a Jackson Whole dungeon in “Labyrinth.” At first Roic is frightened by Taura, but when Alice Vorpatril gets a hold of her, Taura is transformed into the beauty that Miles knows she can be. Besides being pretty, Roic soon learns that Taura is also interesting, brave, smart, and maybe most importantly to Roic, she’s loyal to Miles. Together Roic and Taura uncover an assassination plot and save the day.

Winterfair Gifts is an important part of the VORKOSIGAN saga partly because it reunites many of Miles’ friends and describes the wedding. (Unfortunately, it didn’t help me like Ekaterin any better.) This story is also of interest because its point of view character is one of the people who works for the Vorkosigans, so we get a feel for “below stairs” life in a Vor family. But mostly Winterfair Gifts is important because it sets up Roic as a competent (though not yet confident) armsman who we’ll be seeing more of in subsequent books. Self-confidence is a theme in Winterfair Gifts — both Roic and Taura grow in that area.

Winterfair Gifts was nominated for a Hugo Award. I listened to Grover Gardener narrate Blackstone Audio’s version.

The Vorkosigan Saga — (1986- ) Omnibus and audio versions are available. The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and short stories set in a common fictional universe. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including five Hugo award wins including one for Best Series. The point of view characters include women (Cordelia in Shards of Honor and Barrayar; Ekaterin in Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and The Flowers of Vashnoi), a gay man (Ethan of Athos), a pair of brothers, one of whom is physically handicapped and the other a clone (Miles and Mark Vorkosigan), and their cousin (Ivan Vorpatril), together with some minor characters (e.g., Miles’ bodyguard Roic and the runaway lad Jin). The various forms of society and government Bujold presents often reflect contemporary politics. In many novels, there is a contrast between the technology-rich egalitarian Beta Colony (or more generally, galactic society) and the heroic, militaristic, hierarchical society of Barrayar, where personal relationships must ensure societal continuity. Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of most of the series, is the son of a Betan mother and a Barrayaran aristocrat. 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, CryoburnThe Flowers of Vashnoi: Vorkosigan Saga Kindle Edition by Lois McMaster Bujold  (Author)

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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2 comments

  1. The relationship between Taura and Roic was poignant.

    Ekaterin… in the first book where we meet her, where she is mostly concerned about protecting her son, I thought she was admirable, but I never really warmed up to her. The problem with being the “traditional” Vor woman, I guess.

    • Yep. I liked her better later when at least she became confident (more like Cordelia). I like all the other women in the series better.

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