This novel introduced Miles Vorkosigan into the Vor series. It is also my introduction to that series, and it’s a very good introduction.
Plot of The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Miles Vorkosigan is a Vor lord on the planet Barryar, the only son of the Prime Minister, and scion of one of the most reputable families on that planet. He is also a victim of a birth defect that leaves him short (4’9″ is the height mentioned) and with very brittle bones – handicaps indeed in this warrior culture. Near the start of this book, he fails the physical tests to enter a military academy. But that doesn’t stop him. We quickly get the picture that not much stops Young Miles.
This is a good old-fashioned SF, well-written and with the style updated from the old versions, but old fashioned nonetheless. The characters are reasonably well-drawn and interesting, but th plot is what moves things along, as Miles careens through careers with breathtaking speed, succeeding almost without meaning to; becoming an admiral, breaking security systems, offending his superiors, stopping madmen, all the while making friends, falling in love and so on.
Characters in The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
I’ve already introduced Miles, who is the protagonist and central character.
There’s his bodyguard, Sergeant Bothari, who hides dark secrets in his fierce devotion to Miles’ family.
There’s his daughter, the beautiful Elena, with whom Miles moves from friendship to love.
There’s Miles’ father and grandfather – each a monumental character and each one a hero of Barryar history, both of whom love Miles, but show it in what could be called extremely masculine ways. And then there is Mile’s mother, from Beta, which is a world as unlike Barryar as possible, but who takes charge in her own way, and never backs down. A formidable family!
And more are introduced throughout the novel
All these characters are very well-drawn – in some SF, particularly some from the early days, characters were very one-dimensional. Here, they are not. They aren’t, perhaps, as deep and complex as those in some novels, but their complexity definitely adds interest to the plot.
The author of The Warrior’s Apprentice: Lois McMaster Bujold
Bujold was born in 1949 in Columbus, OH. She is a prolific and acclaimed author of both science fiction and fantasy, and has won the Hugo award four times, tying the record set by Robert Heinlein. There are 19 books in the Vorkosigan series (see Wikipedia) and they have been compiled into 8 large volumes. I plan to read them all..