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

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  3,511 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Twenty year old Ensign Miles Vorkosigan plays detective in a murder case, and tests the balance of power as a member of the Barrayaran nobility. Publisher's Note: "The Mountains of Mourning" was originally published as a stand-alone novella in the May 1989 issue of Analog. It was then included as the first of three novellas that make up the novel "Borders of Infinity" (Oct ...more
112 pages
Published by Fictionwise.com (first published May 1989)
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Community Reviews

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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
Becky
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
...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
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
...more
Jon
Aug 22, 2009 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 06, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
...more
Kathleen
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,
...more
SA
Dec 04, 2011 SA rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Althea Ann
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
...more
Laurel
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.
Rosario (http://rosario.blogspot.com/)
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,
...more
Kristin
Generally the short stories that I have read that are "between the books" stories are fun but not particularly thought provoking. This story was both captivating and gave me things to mull over. I'm even thinking of recommending it to someone who is not even a Sci fi fan. Great story!

On a side note- I love Fat Ninny!!
Donna
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.
Sandra
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
Josiphine
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).
Andrea
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
...more
Evgeny
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
...more
retroj
I actually read The Mountains of Mourning in the omnibus, Borders of Infinity. I decided I would rather take the Vorkosigan works in chronological order, and forego the framing story of that compilation. I also plan on reading the two other novellas from that volume in their appointed places in the chronology of the series.

Not much to say about this otherwise. It was a nice story, and we learned a little bit more about Barrayar, its people, and customs, and a little more about Miles.
Alex
"The Mountains of Mourning" is yet another Miles Vorkosigan novella or story by Lois McMaster Bujold. I thought I wasn't going to like it but it turned out pretty good. It's a murder mystery.

The Story: Miles Vorkosigan has a few days for leave and he has plans but his father, the Count Vorkosigan, has plans for Miles. There is a murder in the mountain areas of the Count's estate and he sends Miles to find out what happened and to carry out any punishment as necessary. The problem is that the hil
...more
Rebecca
This story is quite a departure from the breakneck pace of The Warrior's Apprentice. Unlike that novel, in which Miles picked his own adventure for better or worse, this one is dropped on his unwilling doorstep.

Mountains of Mourning plays to Miles's weaknesses. He needs to play the inherited role of Lord Vorkosigan instead of his chosen persona of Admiral Miles Naismith. He needs to interact with ignorant hill folk who view him as a mutant. He needs to mete out justice for a tragic murder amid t
...more
Jessica Khoury
This novella is very different from the other installments in the Vorkosigan Saga--set entirely on Barrayar, in the mountains behind Vorkosigan Surleau. This story takes on a murder-mystery tone, though there's more emphasis on social ethics and minority issues than real mystery. Tucked between the epic galactic tales of The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game, this little story is easy to overlook, but I appreciated the glimpse it provided into the Ozarks-eque backwoods of Barrayar and its pa ...more
Ralph McEwen
May 20, 2011 Ralph McEwen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cheryl, Neil
It take a lot of persistence, intelligence and honest desire to do right, to take a people out of the darkness of isolation and poverty into the new world. IN The Mountains of Mourning - Miles Vorkosigan display all of that. Well written.
Banner
A surprising pleasant who dunit in the Vorkosigan universe. The story dealt with the deeply held prejudices against those that are "different" and how this effects the next generation. It's a short read for an enjoyable afternoon.
Michelle
This is about the point where I admit I've been sucked into this series. I was reluctant to like the Vorkosigan world, I tried Shards of Honour and didn't like it. The whole thing seemed cheesy and under-developed, however, I was begged to try the Miles stuff before I gave up on it all entirely.

I'm glad I didn't give up on it.

I really liked this installment, it gave Miles a bit more depth and personal motives than just having a chip on his shoulder and being an energetic and hindered genius. Th
...more
Shea Levy
This novella, set entirely on Barrayar, gives us an extended peek of Miles as Lord Vorkosigan. In the process of setting up and resolving a heartbreaking mystery, Bujold treats us to some compelling development of her hero and his home turf. And in the end, it's not tricks or cleverness but simply knowing his people that leads Miles to his (bittersweet, as usual) victory.

I feel like this book, more than any I've read so far, really explains what it all is for. Miles needs to be Admiral Naismith
...more
Brad
This novella was intended to underscore social change and flesh out the backwaters of Barrayar, and did so in murder-mystery fashion. Miles got himself into it and eventually got himself out, as well. The story takes place right after his graduation, and while it doesn't create immediate and widespread social change, it's a start. It's also not particularly my favorite out of the series, but it does have it's place. There's no space battles, mercenary fleets, or megalomaniac dictators. That bein ...more
Maggie K
Very insightful look into Miles' motivations...beautiful short story
Melanie
This novella is one of the shorter Miles Vorkosigan stories, but it's the best one I've read yet. The story is a mystery: Miles encounters a rural mountain woman who walked a great distance to seek justice for the death of her child, a case which local authorities brushed off. The culture has a history of infanticide of babies born with "mutations" (this baby had a cleft palate), and the woman believes her husband killed theirs. Miles' father sends him to investigate the murder, which is too clo ...more
Nicky2910
The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold This novella takes place 3 years after "The Warrior's Apprentice", right after Miles graduates from the Military Academy.

What I absolutely love about the Vorkosigan-saga is the range of topics, the variety of genres - and ultimately the very human story it tells. In this case, Miles, 20 years old and feeling on top of the world after surviving the Academy with his bones (mostly) intact, is confronted with the backwater attitudes of the hillfolk i
...more
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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
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...
The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) Paladin of Souls (Chalion, #2) Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)

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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.”
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