Lois McMaster Bujold:The Warrior's Apprentice

I don't read a lot of military SF, David Drake or Jerry Pournelle or that ilk. Maybe I'm missing something--I don't know.

But I have certainly been missing something by not having read Lois McMaster Bujold before. It wasn't that I was avoiding them because they looked like military SF; I just hadn't tried them. Now I have.

The Warrior's Apprentice is a delightful book. The main character(who is also featured in several other of Bujold's books, I hear)is Miles Vorkosigan, son of a noble family on the planet of Barrayar, and, due to a gas attack on his mother during the pregnancy, a brittle-boned dwarf...who is nonetheless determined to make it somehow in Barrayar's military.

Washing out of the physical tests, he goes on a vacation to his mother's homeworld of Beta Colony. Through a sequence of bizarre incidents, he admits a few misfits to his service, and signs up for a lucrative mission into war-torn space.

The most delightful part of the book is seeing how Miles uses his wits to more than compensate for his physical disadvantages. Starting out with a force of half a dozen, he concocts a fictional force of "Dendarii Mercenaries", which soon take on a greater reality than he could have imagined.

But raising a private army is against the law of Barrayar. Miles is forced to choose whether to return and try to save his father from their enemies' political machinations and face death for his actions, or to stay with the Dendarii, an exile from his homeworld...

Miles is an extremely likeable and well-drawn character, and the other characters have similar depth. Even if you don't like military SF, you may well like this book. It doesn't focus on gritty, bloody detail of war, but it doesn't glamorize it, either. And war is not the focus of the book. Miles Vorkosigan is.

%A Bujold, Lois McMaster
%T The Warrior's Apprentice
%I Baen
%C New York
%D August 1986
%G ISBN 0-671-65587-6
%P 315 pp.
%S Miles Vorkosigan
%O Paperback, US$2.95, Can$3.95

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com