The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Warrior’s ApprenticeMiles Naismith Vorkosigan is a determined, physically fragile young man. His mother had been poisoned before he was born, affecting him with brittle bones and stunted growth. Yet he is a Vorkosigan from the planet Barrayar. His family has an old, respected name. His father had been the planet’s Regent until the Emperor came of age. Now Miles is 17 and wants to join the Barrayaran military like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and the ancestors before them. Unfortunately, he breaks both brittle legs on the first day of the physical endurance testing.
Once he is better, Miles escapes Barrayar to his mother’s planet, Beta.Colony, to visit his grandmother. His bodyguard, Bothari, and Bothari’s daughter, Elena, accompany him. Before they leave the spaceport, Miles buys a space ship. Soon he has a crew and is delivering weapons to a planet in the middle of a civil war. In other words, he has become a smuggler. When he gets involved in the war things get crazier.
Miles Vorkosigan is the unexpected hero; he doesn’t match the archetypical science fiction strong and handsome protagonist. Yet he is witty, brave (with a lot of proper nerves and fear) and intelligent. He also is royal – Lord Vorkosigan with all that entails after 11 generations of Barrayaran Vors. He was raised knowing his duty to Barrayar and his loyalty to the Emporer is complete.
The Warrior’s Apprentice is a superb novel. Miles Vorkosigan is a complex character that is immediately attractive to the reader. He is frustrated with his limitations and ignores them as he strives to succeed. Lois McMaster Bujold has written some wonderfully funny lines for the characters. Yet the book gets poignant when least expected. The hero jumps in, gets his people in trouble, then gets them out of trouble again.
Bujold looks at Miles’ life and makes him real despite the science fiction background. The book pulls the reader in to its quick pace that doesn’t leave the reader behind. This book is one no one should miss, especially the devoted science fiction reader.