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Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
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Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #1)

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4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,182 Ratings  ·  951 Reviews

It was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. And Captain Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Expeditionary Force would be forced into a separate peace with her enemy, Lord Vorkosigan.

Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the science-fiction world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Nais

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Audiobook
Published April 20th 2009 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 1986)
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Randy Compared to Lillian Sinclair's work, this book is very mild romance. Nothing terribly titillating, but a little threatened sexual violence. The basic…moreCompared to Lillian Sinclair's work, this book is very mild romance. Nothing terribly titillating, but a little threatened sexual violence. The basic story is about how two unlikely people meet and fall in love, but there is a heck of a lot of action, too.

Regarding the entire series, a similar tone prevails. There are many romances, but there is a ton of action as well. If you are looking to avoid any romance between characters, then the Vorkosigan Saga is probably not for you.

I will say, I don't like pure romance novels, but this series is one of my favorites. I've read them all multiple times. (less)
Sheryl Hill None of Bujold's books contain explicit sexual content.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Cordelia Naismith is the captain of an astronomical survey ship from the peaceful Beta Colony. Lord Aral Vorkosigan is the leader of a secret military mission from the warlike planet Barrayar. the title "Shards of Honor" no doubt refers to the small bits of honor that Aral must cling to as he finds himself a central figure in a massive undertaking that will sacrifice thousands of innocents for the greater good; it also may refer to the honor that Cordelia herself gains and loses and gains again ...more
karen
okay, so let me just say that i was totally dreading this book.

i promised some of the ladies in my online life that i would "read more fantasy" and this was suggested, even though this is more sci-fi/space opera to my untrained eyes, yeah?? i mean - where are my unicorns!? just one token unicorn will do!

this cover's got spaceships on it, and laser beams and futuristic clothing, and that is just not appealing to me, as a reader. i look at books like this, and i feel like the author probably will
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j
Mar 18, 2011 j rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to j by: Elizabeth
What happened? What are these sensible, mature adults doing in the middle of my space opera? Where are the hot-headed, brash heroes? Where is the sass-mouthed young princess? WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS AND ALIENS?

This is not your father's science-fiction novel. But it might be your mother's. I don't mean that in a sexist or dismissive way, but reading this book felt more like reading a romance than it did a sci-fi book. I don't mean a bodice-ripping (space bodice!) romance, but a realistic, measured a
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Carol.
Be warned: the jacket blurb describes only a minor portion of the story.

My version, you ask?

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Love in the background of space opera! Female captain leads research team investigating exotic planet. Expedition is attacked and a researcher is killed. Hostile man takes woman prisoner, and they fall in love while death-marching across alien planet. Alas! Woman and man are soon to be adversaries in an interstellar war, and are torn apart by loyalties to t
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Tatiana
Jan 01, 2012 Tatiana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read Le Guin's "Four Ways to Forgiveness" instead
Maybe one is spoiled for sci-fi forever after reading Ursula K. Le Guin? Maybe Le Guin is as good as it gets? Because Lois McMaster Bujold is supposed to be one of the best sci-fi writers, Hugo-awarded, etc., and yet, I don't see anything of note in this sample of her work.

Shards of Honour is painfully reminiscent of Maria V. Snyder's later books (anything written after Poison Study really). In a way that this novel has a promising plot, but is suffocated by the superficiality and blandness of
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Althea Ann
Dec 22, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 for the Aral and Cordelia story, and 5 stars for the last chapter, which is a totally separate story ('Aftermaths') rounds out to 4 stars.

'Shards of Honor' is the first novel in what has since become an extensive series (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorkosi...) of which I've read a great many. It's always odd to go back and read an early book featuring characters who were later fleshed out a great deal more. To be frank, this book does not fully live up to many of the later entries into the
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Conor
Dec 20, 2015 Conor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcmaster-bujold
This was a fun start to an interesting series. The main characters were likeable and interesting (especially the gradual reveal of Vorkosigan's past) and the plot was fast-paced, filled with a series of exciting adventures. The world-building was solid but nowhere near as ambitious, intriguing and memorable as the first book in the other sci-fi series I have experience with (Hyperion). The secondary characters were for the most part also not particularly remarkable with the exception of the mena ...more
new_user
Apr 03, 2010 new_user rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to new_user by: Sandra
I really enjoyed Shards of Honor. Though Lois McMaster Bujold's writing is a little more sparing with emotion than I generally enjoy, she's concise while eloquent and provides evidence for her claims. When she wants to convey that Lord Vorkosigan is honorable, she lets him demonstrate in deed or gesture, as I'm sure Vorkosigan would prefer. ;)

This first entry in the Vorkosigan Saga is unique among novels because both the plot and characters are strong. Shards begins as kind of a survivor romance
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Natalie
Jun 05, 2008 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in line for a ticket to Dragon*con last year. Thus began the Autumn When Miles Vorkosigan Ate My Brain.
Daniel
Sep 22, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lepa i zabavna SF prica i fin pocetak za odlicnu seriju sa puno mogucnost ali malo mi fali "velicine" u ovome, space opera feel ili nesto malo vise u stilu Honnor Harington. S druge strane iako dosta jednostavna, prica dotice dosta ozbiljne teme iu na momenat ume da bude mracna sto priznajem nisam ocekivao.

Glavni likovi su zabavni za citanje ali su nekako suvise ispravni u svojim postupcima. Nije da mi smeta ali malo odskace od ostatka likova (dobrih ili losih). Ali dovoljno su dopadljivi da cu
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Ashley
What a strange little book, but I quite enjoyed it. Will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

I wavered on my rating for quite a while. I liked this more than some books I’ve read that I rated four stars, but it had some pretty significant pacing and world-building issues that were really jarring, and I just couldn’t ignore them. I’m also hoping that future books will be even better, so I’m saving my higher ratings, I guess.

I’ve been meaning to read this series for YEARS now. Until Ann L
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Caro M.
How could I NOT read this book for so long? I enjoyed it thoroughly and the last chapter (The Aftermath) was just WOW. If you had any doubts (I didn't!) about author's skills while reading the main part, Aftermath leaves you with none. Aftermath leaves you crushed.

So what do we get here? A space opera, which I feel is somewhat more fantasy than sci-fi, which isn't bad at all. I had same feeling while reading Dune, by the way. So good old space opera and a love story that isn't into sappiness and
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Stephen
Sep 05, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is the first book in the phenomenal Vorkosigan Saga and concerns the first meeting and ensuing relationship of Miles' parents, Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith. I thought this was one of the more important installments in so far as it explores the mutual respect and love between Aral and Cordelia and provides some background on the extraordinary people so critical to the life of Miles Vorkosigan. Highly recommended for all fans of the Miles books.
David Sven
Nov 29, 2012 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I would probably call this Space Opera lite. I mean it is set in the far future where humans have colonised planets, have wormhole technology, and wage war with each other in space battleships. So there’s space battles, plenty of political intrigue, as well as encounters on strange planets with strange animals, like aerial jellyfish that will suck your face off as it feeds on your blood. But ultimately, all that is mere background and props for what is essentially a love story between two people ...more
Jim
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
I read this when it first came out & kept up with the series, but have now started listening to them as audio books in chronological order. In the Vorkosigan universe, this is the second novel (Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a short story is first, for now.) & takes place after Falling Free with entirely different characters & setting. This has the effect of putting two dots into the mural of a very interesting universe that Bujold eventually fills in over more than a dozen books & stori ...more
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.


Somehow, Shards of Honor didn’t hit the swee
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Kathleen
I listened to the Blackstone Audio app. The narration is decent, but not outstanding. A pleasant male voice, probably a baritone. Given the 3rd-person POV was mainly the heroine's, a female voice would have served better, IMO.

3.5 stars for this space opera / romance, written under the guise of sci-fi, even though there is very little scientific innovation beyond the odd species in the opening chapters -- big bloodsucking balloon-like creatures, and some novel carnivores and herbivores. Of cours
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Laura (Kyahgirl)
3.5/5; 4 stars; A-

I think the Vorkosigan Saga is one of my favourite sci-fi series. Even though most of it revolves around the next generation, it was fun to go back and re-visit Cordelia and Aral. I like Grover Gardner as the narrator of these stories. He does male and female voices well. I liked the insights this book gives into Aral Vorkosigan because in most of the series he is referred to obliquely and I think you can't really understand him without having read this book and the next one, B
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Fiona
When I read Dune - or tried to, at least - I lamented that much as I love the concepts and outlook in classic hard science fiction, the execution had a tendency to turn me right off. I said the same thing about stories with a strong romantic plot. Which makes me so very delighted to have found Lois Bujold. It was a pure Goodreads find as well - this is what happens when you sit yourself in a virtual roomful of book people and ask for suggestions. I still can't be doing with the in-built recommen ...more
Lizzy
Shards of Honor, the first of the Vorkosigan Saga, could not be better, it’s a road trip through a deserted alien planet, it’s a space opera and a love story. It’s outstanding. With two strong protagonists and several intriguing supporting characters that complement each other, I could not have liked it more. There is war, credible ethical conflicts and disquiet.

Cordelia Naismith is the survey ship captain from the peaceful Beta Colony, leading a research team in an investigation of an unexplo
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Allison
Honestly, I'm fairly new to the world of Sci Fi, although I'm a huge Fantasy fan (why are these two so often lumped together? They're completely different genres!). Strangely, I've been more into Sci Fi on the screen than in books - Star Trek, Farscape, etc. So I decided to try out the Vorkosigan Saga because it seems like a pretty big one, and one that's not hardcore because I don't know if I'm ready for that.

I'm still not sure what I think. This was a decent start to a long series. It took so
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Ben Babcock
The Vorkosigan Saga is one of those series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. And, in fact, I read Cryoburn last year for the Hugo Awards voting. Going back to the beginning and reading the series in order has been a task long overdue, so let’s get this party started.

I love space opera. Technically speaking, Shards of Honour and its sequel, Barrayar, which I read in omnibus form, is probably more planetary romance. It is the first of a two part story of Cordelia Naismith falling in love no
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Alex Ristea
This is the longest short book I have ever read.

Shards of Honor is a fun, easy military sci-fi with well-crafted scenes, though severely lacking on the “awesome” factor. I’m surprised how slowly the book moves for how short it is.

The story plods around with no real sense of urgency, which didn’t bother me as much as it should have. Luckily it was only an eight hour audiobook though, because any longer and I think I would have given up.

In many ways, this novel is a giant character set up for the
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Nikki
I have to review this using my iPod, since my computer can't currently post reviews from my browsers, so pardon me if this is a little brief. I'll come back and add more, perhaps, when/if the bug is fixed.

I've been meaning to read Bujold's books for a while. Everyone has sung her praises, it seems -- though there hasn't been a reliable consensus on which book to start with, Cordelia or Miles, so I finally plumped for doing things chronologically. I'm told the later books are higher quality, but
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Nikki
I liked Shards of Honour more than I did the first time I read it, even though I'm sticking with my original three star rating. It's fun, and this time I did get more wrapped up in it, in following the politics and in following Cordelia and Aral as they get to know each other. I still don't quite get the enthusiasm over the whole series, but I've heard at least a dozen times that I'll get along better with the Miles books.

Still, I got along pretty well with this one. The concept of honour is a t
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Maria Dimitrova
Dec 19, 2015 Maria Dimitrova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, barrayar
I don't think I can do justice to this book but i'll give my best try. I'll start with the fact that I absolutely adore the Vorkosigan Saga. I first read it in high school and since then it's been a comfort read for all the times I need to escape. I also read them out of order cause finding them was difficult.

Shards oh Honor tells the story of how Mile's parents (the principal main character of the series) met. It's an emotional and philosophical story smuggled under the wrap of military sci-fi
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Lightreads
First book in the Vorkosigan series. Cordelia Naismith, high-tech surveyer, meets and becomes romantically and politically entangled with a controversial military officer from the backward planet of Barrayar.

Hmm. First time through I found this book divertingly readable but ultimately clumsy. Second verse, same as the first. The romance interested me more this time, I think because I was in a better frame of mind to accept the way it happens in that sudden, regency romance way. I still winced wh
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Michael
Jul 31, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The solid and pleasurable beginning of the Vorkosigan series of space opera novels. Aral and Cordelia end up getting marooned after his mutinous troops from semi-feudal world Barrayar attack her biological survey crew from the more liberal, enlightened Beta Colony. During their long dangerous trek to a supply cache, they come to respect each other’s adherence to honor, despite vast cultural differences. As they return to a situation where their planets engage in a politically manipulated war, th ...more
Kiwi
Mar 12, 2016 Kiwi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Vorkosigan Saga is very popular and well regarded so I was looking forward to a great sci-fi book to start the series. Unfortunately, I found that the narration style did not suit me. The rhythm is disconnected, often the narration of new chapters does not follow logically where the last one left off. Instead, it takes the reader half a chapter to catch up with what has occurred in the meantime, crucial information is delivered only through the many dialogues.
Moreover, the heroes are too “c
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse
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More about Lois McMaster Bujold...

Other Books in the Series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
  • Ethan of Athos (Vorkosigan Saga, #3)
  • Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga, #4)
  • Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)
  • The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)
  • Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga, #9)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)
  • Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)

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