The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vor GameEnsign Miles Vorkosigan has completed the Officer’s Academy despite his physical limitations. He had to work hard and is proud of his achievement. He didn’t use his father’s position as the Emperor’s first adviser to get him through the training. He’s ready for his first assignment. Why is he being sent to be the weatherman on a forsaken post in an ice bound land? It is explained that he has some trouble with authority and that this would be a good proving ground for him until he can be assigned to space duty. Miles goes to the frozen waste to learn to predict their weather, although he doesn’t go cheerfully.
For three months or so Ensign Vorkosigan manages to do his job and stay out of trouble. It’s not always easy, especially when the officer in charge seems to be an unbalanced despot. Finally the man goes too far and Miles joins a mutiny. He is called back to Headquarters, his career in jeopardy. While his situation is being considered, Miles is sent on an espionage mission. He’s supposed to be the front man, not the man spying. But this is Miles Vorkosigan. Without trying he finds himself involved.
He has to resume his Betan Admiral Naismith persona for the Dendarii Mercenaries. He discovers an old friend in dangerous trouble. He once again learns not to be influenced by appearances. And he discovers a plan to start an intergalactic war. Miles Vorkosigan’s quiet task turns into a task that promises death or dishonor in the end. But once involved, he is committed.
Lois McMaster Bujold purposefully gave Miles a crippling disability. Fully grown, he doesn’t read five feet and his bones are fragile. Despite that, this hero works around his physical problems and continues on with the mission. He is a swashbuckling type of hero.
The Vor Game twists back upon itself in the best fashion. About the time I finally caught up and began to understand a situation, it morphed into something different. Then the story looped around again with a new set of facts to incorporate into it. The final conclusion for Miles himself is fitting.
The Vor Game is fast paced and a riveting read. Bujold’s characters come alive and her situations believable. This book could be taken out of space and put into a realistic situation on Earth without losing it’s strength. But the space opera is a good background for her novel.
Notice: Non-graphic violence