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The Mountains of Mourning (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #5.1)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  4,816 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Miles Vorkosigan is sent to a small mountain village to investigate the murder of an infant, killed because she had a physical defect. Miles must deal with deep-seated prejudice against "mutants" and uncover the real killer in this novella that won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. ("The Mountains of Mourning" takes place three years after THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE in t ...more
Nook, 80 pages
Published February 4th 2011 by Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc. (first published May 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
i'm getting old - i'm 42! that is definitely old to a lot of people. happily, i've always felt i was born old so getting older doesn't really bother me. but what does bother me is the idea that in a couple decades my viewpoint may have become so inflexible, so stubbornly outmoded, that my opinion will simply have no value. i think that to be relevant, pretty much every thing and every one needs to be considered as a work in progress. capable of change and adjustment and re-evaluation. fortunatel ...more
The Mountains Of Mourning is a touching novella. Lois McMaster Bujold uses a mysterios murder as a pretext to discuss the implications of being different in a society that reveres perfection. Excellent!
This was good for a shortie. I liked it, but I'm rarely satisfied by short stories or novellas. I'm just working my way through this series, and this was a step along the way.
Vorkosigan meets Agatha Christie...

I thought that this little novella was actually quite a bit better than The Warrior's Apprentice. I found it more believable, more readable and infinitely less boring, likely due to the shorter length forcing the story to be tighter and more to-the-point.

I did figure out the whodunnit before the reveal, and was kinda baffled by how the others didn't see it. I mean, come on. It was RIGHT THERE. If 'twere a snake it woulda bit 'em.

I did kinda feel like Miles w
Dirk Grobbelaar
Sep 20, 2012 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This novella can be found in Young Miles. It’s numbered later in the series, but chronologically fits between The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game.

The Mountains of Mourning won both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best Novella and deservedly so. It is really good. Essentially a murder mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories, Mountains tells the story of an infant that was killed because of being physically disabled. Miles is sent by his father, Count Vorkosigan, to in
Aug 22, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality Series Selection
3.75 stars

This novella was sandwiched between Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game in the omnibus edition entitled Young Miles.

It occurs three years after the end of Warrior's Apprentice. Miles has graduated from the Imperial Service Academy and is home on leave before receiving his first assignment. A back country woman from the Dendarii mountains has come down to the lowlands demanding justice, as is her right, from her Count in the murder of her "mutant" infant. Miles' father deputizes him
May 24, 2016 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
What can I say? This novella was brilliant, touching. It made me tear up. It effectively addressed a tough issue intelligently. I thought the resolution at the end was perfect and just.

At its heart this novella is a mystery- and a good one.

Bujold's writing is beautiful. I love her turn of phrase.

Highly recommend.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 06, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Chronologically this novella is the fifth work in the Vorkosigan Saga, the second featuring Miles Vorkosigan, the character that made me fall in love with the series. I would think you should at least read the prior book, The Warrior's Apprentice to really appreciate what's going on in this book. Miles is born a "Vor"--into an aristocratic family in a very traditional, military culture on the planet of Barrayar. That society had for a long time practiced infanticide--killing any child born in an ...more
Rosario (
This short story comes in an anthology with two others, set later in the series (after books I hadn't yet read when I read this one). Bujold's written a sort of framing device for them which, unfortunately, is also set chronologically later. I kind of ignored it, and stuck to the short story itself.

The Mountains of Mourning is set 3 years after the action in The Warrior's Apprentice. At the end of that book, Miles succeeded in gaining entrance to the Barrayaran Imperial Service academy (in fact,
Amy Sturgis
I treated myself by rereading this Hugo and Nebula winner as I prepared to lecture on it for my science fiction class, and, as always, I found new aspects of the work to appreciate. It marks one of the highest points in Bujold's marvelous Vorkosigan series, offering a compelling "whodunit" as the already sorely tested Miles must face his greatest test to date, going into his own backcountry to act as his father's Voice and find justice for a murdered infant girl. The parallel between Miles' own ...more
Andreea Daia
For such a quick read, "The Mountains of Mourning" is the heaviest story in the series so far (and I just finished Ethan of Athos): it drips with messages and lessons for tolerance, acceptance, and respect even more than Barrayar did.

Yes, it is a bona fide mystery, but the crime is only a pretext for exploring the implications of being different in a world that prizes above all physical perfection. This theme in itself is not new; what is new, however, is the fact that Ms. Bujold delves into th
Part of The Vorkosigan Saga, this is a quick read, about 110 pages. It is also published as the first story in an omnibus collection of three, called Borders of Infinity.

In this realistic novella, there is no "battlestar" theme whatsoever. The story could be set in the Ozarks or any poor, undereducated community. The tone is serious and somber, unlike the sequel.

Lord Miles Vorkosigan -- single, deformed from birth, and 20 years old -- must go into the mountains behind his noble father's estate,
Dec 04, 2011 SA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
"Miles Learns About Justice." I like stories that take place at Vorleau Sultana, for whatever reason, and I liked how this story served a number of purposes: first, it hints at what Miles may eventually have to take on as a political role; second, it makes him begin to more fully understand what his father has had to do throughout Miles' life, in a way you simply can't before you do it yourself; third, it teaches a very clear lesson to Miles about the responsibility a lord has to his vassals and ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Loved this little novella. A murder mystery with Miles playing the role of Hercule Poirot, complete with the, "You haven't figured it out yet? But it's so obvious!" scene. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I got teary several times. When the murder victim is a baby, it can be a hard story to hear (the autopsy scene was hard for me), but as I have come to expect from this series, it was a deeply human one. And Miles is growing on me. :)
Althea Ann
Feb 15, 2013 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novella deserves the awards it received.

Miles Vorkosigan, member of the upper echelon of his society, is sent to investigate a case of infanticide in one of the poorest villages under his family's governance.
Miles suffers from various birth defects - but his privileged status has protected him from the worst of his society's vicious prejudice against 'mutants.'
Ironically, neither Miles not the murdered baby, who was born with a cleft palate, were actual 'mutants,' but that doesn't stop peop
Feb 11, 2016 Hollythorne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miles plays Sherlock Holmes and also sends a strong message. A fun read :)
Ben Babcock
The Warrior’s Apprentice was, by all metrics, fun, but I didn’t think it was especially substantive. Miles blunders his way into and out of a problem, succeeding more on luck and determination than any particular flash of brilliance on his part. (There is nothing wrong with luck and determination, of course. These are valuable qualities to possess!) I enjoyed the book, but it’s not going to keep me up at night.

The Mountains of Mourning, on other hand, brought me to tears.

In what seems to be a tr
Aug 14, 2012 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
If you are a fan of the Vorkosigan series, this is a must read. It explains to the reader the sole driving force behind all that Miles does, what keeps the fires burning so brightly. Find this story - you owe it to yourselves.
Jun 07, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2012, 2015
This novella is about as far from Space-Opera as you can get, and I loved this more reflective, thoughtful and compassionate version of Miles who is sent by his father to judge a murder case in a village within the Vorkosigan purlieu.

A baby has died, and her mother thinks she has been murdered by the father because she has a birth defect. Infanticide of "mutants" is still practised in the rural areas of Barrayar and Count Vorkosigan wants to stamp out the barbaric custom. This of course throws
I read thisnovella in The Borders of Infinity, which contains 4 Bujold novellas that concern Miles at various points in the Vorkosigan saga. My review can be found at
Apr 20, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not always a fan of short stories and novellas that branch off from a series that I am reading. So often they feel like hollow shells of the actual series. I was thrilled to find that was not the case. This story was a solid and interesting as the previous books in the series. Well done, Ms. Bujold. Well done.
I stumbled onto this novella. It is a stand alone piece set in the world of the Vorkosigan Saga, a series I had never heard of. I really liked this story and am putting this series on my TBR list. (Sept 2, 2010)

July 27, 2012: Two years later, I am finally getting around to this series and re-read this in its proper place, between The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game. It's still a great story and it was nice to enjoy it with a better understanding of the characters and the world it's set in.
Renee M
Feb 27, 2016 Renee M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novella; part detective story, part exploration of the prejudices against those who are different. City vs county. Different cultures. Physical or mental differences. And the potential in education. Plus, more Miles. Always a good thing.
Mar 20, 2010 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This short story was available as a free download from Baen Books, so I managed to figure out how to get it on my Nook! It was a beautiful short story, giving a more human touch to Miles. It takes place after his graduation from military school, a new soldier his father sends into the mountains to judge a case of infanticide. A child born with a cleft palate has been murdered. The case brings up all of Miles own issues of grief and loss and his own grandfather's attempts to murder him before he ...more
I accidentally read this out of order, but that didn't hurt my enjoyment. It is very, very short though. I like Bujold better when she has a little more space (in more than one way--haha).
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Χαριτωμένη νουβέλα sf με ήρωα κάποιον που θα μπορούσε να είναι ο Έλρικ της space opera, -αν τα πράγματα δεν γίνονται γλυκερά και προς το χάπυ εντ.
Arturo Rojas
Dec 04, 2015 Arturo Rojas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book. Short and to the point, with a nice, concise plot. Warrior's Apprentice is a better starting point for the series, though.
Aug 06, 2015 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It shows a different side of someone usually depicted in a military manner.
This novella delves into "old Barrayar", in the back-country, where men are men and mutants are killed at birth. Miles is sent to investigate the death of a child with a cleft palate, facing up to the nastier realities of being lord of a people.

A melancholy piece with a fitting conclusion. Since this was written before the advent of wide-spread mobile phones, the question of limited communication can be passed over, though I really have to shake my head at how slowly modernisation seems to be mo
May 27, 2013 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This short story is a part of Miles Vorkosigan saga. Miles Vorkosigan just graduated from a military school and returned home. A case of infanticide comes into Miles's father attention, and he sends his son to investigate and to prove himself.

This is a beautifully written story with very dark undertones which made me feel depressed. The description of village with people still sticking to the old ways is quite gloomy. Strictly speaking, this is more a detective story than sci-fi.

The story is bea
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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
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...

Other Books in the Series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
  • 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)

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“Miles had sworn his officer's oath to the Emperor less than two weeks ago, puffed with pride at his achievement. In his secret mind he had imagined himself keeping that oath through blazing battle, enemy torture, what-have-you, even while sharing cynical cracks afterwards with Ivan about archaic dress swords and the sort of people who insisted on wearing them.

But in the dark of subtler temptations, those that hurt without heroism for consolation, he foresaw, the Emperor would no longer be the symbol of Barrayar in his heart.

Peace to you, small lady, he thought to Raina. You've won a twisted poor modern knight, to wear your favor on his sleeve. But it's a twisted poor world we were both born into, that rejects us without mercy and ejects us without consultation. At least I won't just tilt at windmills for you. I'll send in sappers to mine the twirling suckers, and blast them into the sky....

He knew who he served now. And why he could not quit. And why he must not fail.”
“But I know you have courage, and I know you have will. The rest is just picking yourself up and ramming into the wall again and again until it falls down. You get a bloody forehead, so what? You can do it, I swear you can.” 1 likes
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