Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mountains of Mourning” as Want to Read:
The Mountains of Mourning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mountains of Mourning

(Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #5.1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  6,421 ratings  ·  259 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
ebook, 112 pages
Published 2008 by (first published May 1989)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mountains of Mourning, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Libby Snyder
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,421 ratings  ·  259 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Mountains of Mourning
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Review updated on 19.02.2017.

A buddy read with Choko and Maria.

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' 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 than19.02.2017.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with Evgeny and Maria!

What a beautiful, but heartbreaking story... Miles V is newly graduated from academy, home before taking on his first official mission as an officer of the Barrayaran Empire. He thinks he is going to spend some time enjoying himself, but his father decides to send him to a mountainous village in the far reaches of the Vorkosigan territory, to investigate a case of infanticide of a newly born with a small birth defect. Apperantly, the peopl
mark monday
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Third read, 2/3/18:

You know, maybe it's just me, but the other times I'd read these books in a row, I really wanted big pew-pew military action. I wanted something big and outrageous like we had in Warrior's Apprentice.

When I read this in the timeline order, I was mightily pissed to have a measly character-building and societal change message wrapped tight in a murder mystery in the boondocks on Vorkosigan lands, in what should have been a lull right after graduation. ...more
Milda Page Runner
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Good story but sad subject (infanticide) which makes it hard for usual Miles humour to shine. Also it all happens in the poor Barayar's countryside and lacks the sci-fi flavour for my taste.
Althea Ann
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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,' bu
Maria Dimitrova
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Taking place just after Miles' graduation from the Imperial Academy, this story shows us one of Miles' formative moments. Up until now he has lived a fairly protected and privileged life. He knows that one day he will take his father's place as a Count of Vorkosigan District but he had never really realised what that would mean. Because of the Cetagandan Invasion the Vorkosigan District is one of the most backward provinces of Barrayar and much of it still follows the old ways, including infanti ...more
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
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!
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book as a mystery is not written in the classic sense of clues provided from which the reader can formulate a qualified conjecture; one can possibly guess, and guess correctly, but not because of any clues in the narrative. As a story of growth in comprehension of others who live in different circumstances, financially or socially, it is 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 was differen
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful, sad, poignant and well-planned. Every word here is in its place, every emotion, every thought. Do yourself a favour and read this novella.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 any way disa ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 investigate and serve justice.

It’s pretty po
Aug 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 as his Voice to investigate
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Excellent, poignant and well-plotted. One thing that Bujold does really well is consistent use of metaphors - a minor scene from early on (or even from another book) takes on significance later, is juxtaposed, mirrored in a larger development, or vice versa. This story, about the clash of cultures, future shock, class divisions, does just that: with the escaped horse, and the injustice.

And the judgment is perfect.

(I'm just so glad I picked a book on a whim a week ago.)
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 e
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 the causality of
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
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jamie Hansen
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novella. I appreciated being witness to this formative experience for Miles but also having my own understanding expanded and heart tested in such a compelling way. Bujold certainly has a talent for building unique cultures with unfortunate (to the modern reader) customs/practices and using them to make important points about human nature. Her books strike this impressive balance to me between being both "light" (i.e., fast-paced, easily readable, even downright funny at ti ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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. :)
Feb 24, 2011 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.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago and many times since. It was the first Miles Vorkosigan book I ever read and I promptly went out and read every single other piece of Bujold's fiction I could get my hands on.
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it

Young Miles is sent to the back-country on an errand of Vor duty which proves unexpectedly harrowing.
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 trend now, Miles brings trouble upon hnight.
Pamela Shropshire
Miles has just graduated from the Imperial Service Academy and is on leave. Just after swimming in the lake on the Vorkosigan summer retreat, he comes upon a peasant woman from the mountain region of the Vorkosigan district. She is insisting on seeing the Count and is arguing with the guard. Miles himself takes her to his father.

Aral and Cordelia listen to her story: her infant daughter, born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, was murdered - she believes, by her husband. Infanticide
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 se
Evanne Lorraine
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The entire series is compelling. I'm thoroughly hooked.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Miles plays Sherlock Holmes and also sends a strong message. A fun read :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4 stars 3 16 Sep 19, 2018 10:29AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Jezebel's Ladder (Jezebel's Ladder, #1)
  • Carpe Diem (Liaden Universe, #10)
  • Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2011
  • Bone Wires
  • Blood Zero Sky
  • The Ballad of Bad Jack (Slab City Blues #4)
  • The Better Part of Valor (Confederation, #2)
  • Beggars in Spain
  • All Seated on the Ground
  • House of Corruption
  • The Moon's Shadow (Saga of the Skolian Empire, #8)
  • Worlds of Honor (Worlds of Honor, #2)
  • Sporting Chance (The Serrano Legacy, #2)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) (1 - 10 of 16 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)
“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
More quotes…