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Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #9)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  11,957 Ratings  ·  410 Reviews
The latest installment in the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan. Miles and Cousin Ivan travel to Cetaganda to play the part of sprigs of nobility doing their diplomatic duty. But when the Empress of Cetaganda dies naturally, and her lifelong attendant dies unnaturally, Miles and Ivan finds themselves in the thick of it.
Paperback, 302 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Baen (first published December 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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mark monday
this one hit a sweet spot that I didn't know I even had: incredibly beautiful, highly intelligent, aristocratic geneticists who prize elegance and subtlety, float around in their floating chairs while encased in pearly force fields, and never cut their hair! much like the protagonist Miles, I was immediately enchanted.

unlike Miles, the reader is able to quickly discern that these remote and regal ladies actually control their empire. power lies not with the Emperor nor the warlike generals, and
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
Cetaganda doesn't have the manic energy of The Warrior's Apprentice, which retains top spot as my favourite Vorkosigan book so far. It lacks that pell-mell, out-of-control sense of urgency that I absolutely fell in love with. But it is still a solid entry into the series, and Miles remains an incredibly appealing character to read about.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the mea

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.

The general consensus amongst fans of the Vorkos
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this was another fun addition to the series, it struck me as a bit too convoluted & convenient to really work at times. Much hinged on security & technology gaffs that didn't fully make sense, still it was a fun trip featuring Miles & Ivan. They're great characters & if you just go along for the ride, it's quite entertaining.

It was also nice to get a better look at Ceteganda. They're mentioned quite often in other books, but this is the first time we get to see the beasts i
Jun 25, 2010 Stephen rated it liked it
3.5 stars. A solid entry in this excellent space opera series. Not my favorite of the bunch, but still a good read.
Jordi Balcells
Oct 10, 2016 Jordi Balcells rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Dentro de la iniciativa #LeoAutorasOct. Hacen buena pareja Miles y el primo Ivan, y es que son un excelente contrapunto. Siempre es un placer leer a Bujold, independientemente de que sea una aventura de Miles o no.
Oct 23, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality Series October 2009
3.8 stars

Miles and Ivan travel as diplomatic representatives of Emperor Gregor to the home world of the Cetagandan Empire for the funeral of the Empress. A ten-day trip to observe and enjoy social customs (and parties) quickly turns sour when Miles become embroiled in a mystery and suicide/murder that threatens to frame him, and by implication Barrayar, for a treasonous usurpation plot.

Miles, being Miles, convinces himself, and Ivan, that only he can save Barrayar's honor and salvage the Cetaga
In a change from the more space-opera tone of the immediately chronologically preceding Vorkosigan novels, Cetaganda is pretty much a mystery novel in spaaaaace. Also diplomacy. Yep, Miles learns about diplomacy. In terms of worldbuilding, we the readers get to learn more about the heretofore mysterious Cetagandans, who previously were known for (a) starting wars and (b) wearing facepaint.

The Cetagandan dowager empress is dead and Miles and Ivan are off to the funeral. Because Miles apparently c
Feb 19, 2011 Zach rated it it was amazing
Although the fifth of the Vorkosigan books in the series's internal chronology, this is one of the later books that Bujold wrote. In filling in some missing details in her fictional timeline, she brings to bear the collective weight of the story and characters as they exist elsewhere in the universe of the Vorkosigan Saga to present a fascinating answer to the question of the Cetagandans.

In other books in the series, the Cetagandan Empire is a rather faceless collection of baddies that exist as
Vicky N.
May 29, 2016 Vicky N. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
After hearing so much about Cetaganda it was nice to get to know about Barrayar's primary enemies, how their society works and the reason for their constant need of expansion.
It's interesting to see Miles grow as a character, but at the same time see him struggle with his appearance and just wanting the recognition he thinks he deserves. I think this is building up to something, so we will see.
Still, great story. If you're a Sci-Fi fan, you need to read this series.
Sep 13, 2013 Olgalijo rated it really liked it
After the incredible job that Bujold did in "Mirror Dance", I think that it was impossible for her to surpass herself. So, Cetanganda has more the feel of a transitional book, before ramping up into even more unbelievably entertaining adventures. Even so, Cetaganda was fun and had a solid plot. And I must say that poor Ivan needs to be in the spotlight now and then.
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Miles Naismith Vorkosigan has come a long way since his miserable attempt to qualify for the Barrayaran Military Service Academy - since then he's created a commanding (if solely based on smoke and mirrors) mercenary fleet, saved the Barrayaran Emperor, and thwarted a full-out war. Officially serving out a position as Imperial Security Courier, the brilliant (if physically less-appealing) Miles and his cousin the handsome (if decidedly less-brilliant) Iva
Charlie George
May 08, 2011 Charlie George rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
Probably my least favorite Bujold yet, but of course still excellent. Miles as detective, matching wits with an unknown and unseen mastermind, up until a surprisingly anticlimactic end.

I would not go so far as to say an unsatisfying end, though. Miles heroism and accomplishments will be classified and secret, but they are known to some, to those who matter.

Miles' "first crush" didn't make a lot of sense, though it was cool she turned out to be like a shadow empress. What about Elena!?

Another t
Dec 03, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
The Cetagandans are a race trying to bioengineer themselves into a higher...something, with occasional attempts to conquer all their neighbours. Barrayar has a long history of conflict with the Empire, but currently it's all diplomatic steps, and Miles has been sent to stand about at the former Cetagandan Empress' funeral.

Miles isn't good at standing about.

The book is primarily an exploration of Cetagandan culture as Miles tries to resist being framed, while indulging his Knight Errant impulses.
Jan 19, 2014 Shamela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Bujold has never failed at deeply satisfying me. I go back to the Vorkosigan series again and again, and more often than not it's this one. Miles is such a compelling character, and the trouble he gets himself into is magnificently inventive. I love the dialogue, the descriptions, the tight plotting, the scope and arc, the fascinating secondary characters--all of it. This one is particularly political with an outstandingly original way of looking at genetics and class systems.

Her books are full
Apr 29, 2015 R.J. rated it liked it
Another re-read, since I'm working my way through the whole Miles series. When I first picked this up again, it had been long enough that I couldn't remember whether it was one that I liked, or one that I really didn't. Then I realized it was the one I wasn't expecting to enjoy nearly as much as I did.

I think it's the worldbuilding mostly, with its loving attention to detail that made the Cetagandan world(s) both utterly alien and surprisingly easy to picture, and I do love a good mystery. Also
Nov 08, 2009 Kathi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This is my favorite book so far in the Miles Vorkosigan series.

What I liked: A limited sphere of action, fewer characters than some of the other books, a mystery to be solved, and a closer look at the Cetagandan civilization.

Miles does more thinking things through in this novel, rather than making so many intuitive leaps. We get to see more of his relationship with his cousin Ivan (who provides some of the laugh-out-loud moments in the book). Miles continues to learn about himself, continues to
Sep 03, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Read this on an airplane. It's a award winning "Miles Vorkosigan" novel by Lois M. Bujold. I had never read one before. Anne MacAffrey says in a quote on the front, "Boy, can she write!" I'm not that enthusiastic. Still, I think Bujold does a good job of combining the sci fi genre with the detective novel, making it a pretty good commentary on popular genres. Tiptree, Jr.'s "Brightness Falls from the Air" is a personal favorite in the combination sci-fi/murder mystery field, and I don't think ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Janet rated it liked it
Not as strong as Warriors Apprentice or The Vor Game in terms of plot, but it had much better worldbuilding and provided an interesting look at a vastly different culture system. 3 books in, looks like I'm going to stick with this series, though I'm already feeling a little bit of repetition in the plot structure, so I think I might try to intersperse them a bit more. I like Miles, I like the world, I just still wish it had a bit more depth to it.
Jul 20, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
"Mountains of Mourning" is still my favorite Vorkosigan story, but this one was an entertaining mystery in SF trappings. I thought it started stronger than it finished, and I had a little bit of trouble keeping all of the players straight, but it was interesting to get to know the strange Cetagandan culture. Also, I've never seen so much temporizing in one book. I guess everybody's doing it.
May 04, 2009 Aaron rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosario (
Cetaganda is one of those "filling in the blanks" books. It comes after The Vor Game in chronological order, but it was actually written after two or three more books were out. As far as I can tell, that means that the whole issue of Miles as Admiral Naismith and the Dendarii Free Mercenaries is left to one side (I'm assuming something will happen in that area in the next few books), and we get a little side-adventure.

That side-adventure takes place in Cetaganda, of all places. Miles and his cou
Jul 14, 2013 Punk rated it really liked it
Space Mystery! Tapped to attend the funeral of the Cetagandan Dowager Empress, Miles and Ivan haven't even landed before Miles steps in it and nearly causes an interplanetary incident. Though, to be fair, this time it's not really his fault. Miles has been framed! Dun dun DUN. Of course, this being Miles, instead of reporting this to, oh, ANYONE, Miles takes it upon himself to sleuth out the culprit. Ivan is there too.

In terms of setting, this wasn't what I expected from a Vorkosigan novel, but
Nov 18, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
I am a McMaster Bujold fan. I enjoy most of her books. Out of the 7 books I've read by her, two of them (Mirror Dance, Barrayar) are among my all time favorites.
That said, Cetaganda was an interesting, worthwhile read, but not top tier. I enjoyed the very richly drawn world of Cetaganda and it's strange customs. Bujold has a great imagination and the world she creates is strange, but comprehensible. Bujold has a fascination with genetic manipulations. It is one of the ongoing themes in the Vork
Simon Mcleish
Jan 05, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in November 2001.

The central idea of this Miles Vorkosigan novel can be summed up in a sentence from it (also quoted on the back of this edition): "Miles had always dreamed about saving the Empire. He just never expected it to be the Cetagandan Empire." Although currently at peace with his native Barrayar, Cetaganda has long been a traditional enemy, having at one time been an occupying power Miles is a member of the Barrayan delegation to the mourning ceremo
Dec 12, 2011 SA rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
"Miles Learns About Investigating." One of the first things I learned about the Vorkosigan Saga, when someone was trying to convince me to read it a few years ago, was that Miles was a space detective. I've spent these first five or six books vaguely wondering when that was going to come true. Cetaganda is the first hint at that. It's also a much needed reminder about Lt. Vorkosigan, the bit of Miles' personality that tends to get lost in the shuffle most of the time.

I have to admit I spent a l
Mike (the Paladin)
This is the third book in the Miles Vorkosigan saga (the first 2 aren't about Miles) and it's the weakest I've read so far. The book is another adventure in the convoluted history of Miles' somewhat...unusual "military" career. "Technically" assigned to Barrayarian Security Miles has been sent to Cetaganda for the funeral of the Cetagandain Empress.

The book sets out to tell an intricate, Byzantine type story of palace intrigue. It does a pretty good job and the story holds the interest fairly we
Grace S.
Apr 07, 2016 Grace S. rated it liked it
For me, this was one of the weaker books I've encountered in the series thus far. I mean, it's fantastic news that "one of the weaker books" still gets three stars, but at this point in a series there's going to be standouts and...well, whatever the opposite of a standout is. Forgettable? Below-baseline levels of awesome?

First of all, Cetaganda more detective novel than sci-fi, especially if you discount the setting. That'll bother some more than others, but part of what I like about the Vorkos
Aug 30, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Miles and cousin Ivan, in a very vice presidential role, are sent to Cetaganda as Barrayaran representatives. Things start to go "wrong" immediately as their ship is sent to dock at what appears to be an unused or maintainence area and then a man attacks them. Ivan grapples with the man, causing him to drop his gun and what liked like it might be a pipe bomb. As Miles retrieves the items, the man makes a hasty exit.

The item is not a pipe bomb, rather more like a "time bomb," as Miles works to f
Cindy Griffin
Dec 04, 2011 Cindy Griffin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, science, series
Miles is at it again! In this installment of the Vorkosigan series, Miles is sent with his cousin Ivan to Cetaganda to attend an Imperial funeral. Miles and Ivan are charged with representing the Barrayaran nobility at the somber affair. They definitely represent Barrayar, but not in the expected manner. At least on this trip, the trouble, mayhem, and murder were thrust on Miles against his wishes. Miles finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation, fighting off attacks on him and Ivan, ...more
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Romance Lovers fo...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold , Sometimes in September 30 20 Sep 18, 2013 02:04PM  
Science Fiction A...: Cetaganda 25 44 Aug 30, 2013 06:45AM  
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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)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)
  • Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)

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“It was suicide, wasn't it?"
"In an involuntary sort of way," said Vorob'yev. "These Cetagandan political suicides can get awfully messy, when the principal won't cooperate."
"Thirty-two stab wounds in the back, worst case of suicide they ever saw?" murmured Ivan, clearly fascinated by the gossip.
"Exactly, my lord.”
“Emperors per se did not unnerve Miles . . . . Emperor Gregor had been raised along with Miles practically as his foster-brother; somewhere in the back of Miles's mind the term emperor was coupled with such identifiers as somebody to play hide-and-seek with. In this context those hidden assumptions could be a psychosocial land mine.” 14 likes
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