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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  22,854 Ratings  ·  1,360 Reviews
Captain Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Expeditionary Force was on a routine mission to study the life forms on an uninhabited, neutral planet. Little did she know that the enemy Barrayarans had chosen this place as their secret base for an as-yet undeclared war. Separated from her team, Cordelia is captured by Lord Aral Vorkosigan, the leader in charge of the Barrayaran mi ...more
Audio CD
Published May 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1986)
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Popular Answered Questions

Blake I would not call this a "romance." It's more like science fiction action with a love story.
Sheryl Hill None of Bujold's books contain explicit sexual content.

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
An all-time SF favorite! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Shards of Honor (often packaged with Barrayar and sold as Cordelia's Honor) is one of those SF space opera books that I love beyond reason and pull off my bookshelf every few years to reread, contentedly immersing myself in Bujold’s well-imagined world and the relationship between two characters I adore.

A bit of background: I started my VORKOSIGAN SAGA experience years ago when I grabbed A Civil Campaign off the library s
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
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
Re-read 11/18/17:
Actually, it's my third read. It was only a few years ago when I read it last and since then I've plowed through all the other novels in a row. It's so good that I have to do it all over again.

That being said, I think this novel is growing more and more on me. I loved it before and I love it even more now. Yes, yes, it's a romance on the battlefield and we have tons of action on a wild planet and in space with outright space battles, but it's the interactions between all these
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
A buddy read with Choko.

Commander Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and her crew were doing some harmless exploration on an unassuming planet when Barrayars (guys from another planet) decided they like the place. Some unforeseen circumstances made them attack Betans which resulted in Cordelia and a high-ranking Barrayar officer Aral Vorkosigan being stranded on the planet with the former being a prisoner of the latter - sort of.

At this point practically anybody can figure out these two were dest
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with Evgeny!

This was the first time we got to meet a Vorkosigan, the family name after which this series is named. From what I have learned, he ends up being the father of the main protagonist in the series as we go along. Although Vorkosigan is a perfect specimen of a man, smart, handsome, honorable, alpha as one can get, but sensitive and thoughtful, he is still lacking in comparison with the young female commander from Beta Colony, Cordelia N. She is everything I would l
Feb 09, 2011 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
Be warned: the jacket blurb describes only a minor portion of the story.

My version, you ask?


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
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm definitely sold on this series by now. These books might be old (this particular volume was published in 1986) but they hold up very nicely and address ageless topics, some even in a better way than modern books do.

This second volume (my group and I read them in chronological order) is about Cordelia Naismith, a Betan captain of a survey team, and Aral Vorkosigan, a commander of a Barrayaran military outpost.
They meet on an almost unexplored planet one day and need to join forces in order t
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A little dated but I really enjoyed it. I felt like I was entering a bit of a reading slump and I started about 5 books yesterday evening and couldn't get into any of them. And then I lucked on this, lurking on my kindle, read the first chapter and that was all it took! It's rare for me to finish a book in one sitting because I tend to have a few books on the go at any one time. But this was one such book.
I'm not an enormous sci- fi fan unless it's character driven, so this was perfect. There we
Milda Page Runner
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Milda by: Caro M.

Sci-fi action adventure with predictable romance. It is deceptively light in the beginning, but makes a sharp turn midway darker and deeper into military and politics, raising uncomfortable questions about duty, honour and conscience, blurring lines between good and bad. Fast and engaging read that is surprising in a good way.

Lovely writing. It appears to be simple and straightforward, easily engaging you in fast moving plot and then surprises with beautiful insights and unexpected wisdom. Certa
Dec 30, 2011 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
Althea Ann
Dec 04, 2015 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 ( 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
Science fiction, adventure, military-political intrigue, romance, character development & dry humour are mixed in perfect proportions in this debut novel of the “Vorkosigan Saga” space opera.

Cordelia Naismith & her team of scientists from Beta Colony are on a mission to map hitherto unchartered territories/planets when they are attacked by Barrayaran soldiers intent on keeping them away from the place (secretly to be used in an invasion of the planet Escobar as part of the Empire’s expa
Jun 23, 2014 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
Caro M.
UPDATED 2017.03.31 with Worst Cover Gallery! Check down below and feel free to comment!
Having lately an interesting conversation with my GR friends on the nature of covers for Vorkosigan series I decided to update my older reviews with a little "gallery" of worst covers... ;)
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 m
Feb 05, 2010 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
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading Bujold's SF but I have tried her fantasy before and very much enjoyed it. I think the two genres certainly share her style, and I am excited to read more in the series as time goes on becuase it looks like this is kind of the intro to what will be a much larger series in the end.

This follows Captain Naismith and her crew who are visiting another planet to try and find out about the plants, fauna, flora and animals which live there. They are a peaceful research scie
Jun 05, 2008 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.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2017
“Change is possible.'
‘Change is inevitable.”

Second book of the Vorkosigan Saga (chronological). This instalment was quite different to Falling Free, widening the focus, following two characters, each representing waring societies, one a military patriarchal one, the other with a more ‘modern’ outlook of equality. Bujold offers us a Space Opera full of fight scenes, political intrigue, and adventure. She does also add an element of romance.

Cordelia Naismith, Betan captain of a surveying team, a
Dec 03, 2014 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
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for my reread of the Vorkosigan Saga with SpecFic Buddy Reads during 2017/18. I read this for the first time sometime during the 1990s as a follow-up after reading much later books in the series (Memory and onwards).

Commander Cordelia Naismith of the Beta Colonial Astronomical Survey is in a lot of trouble when soldiers from Barrayar attack her survey mission and kill one of her people. Most of the rest escape, but Cordelia and an injured crew-mate are left behind to be captured b
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
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
May 14, 2010 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.
I really liked the Miles Vorkosigan Saga when I first read it in high school over 20 years ago, having read through The Vor Game before heading to college and finding myself too busy to read much SF for the next two decades.

So as I got back into genre reading a few years back, I was surprised at just how incredibly popular and extensive the series had become. Back when I first picked up Shards of Honor as a Baen paperback with mediocre cover art (this is true for the entire series, I'm afraid, e
Executive Summary: I liked it, and I plan to continue, but I had been hoping for a bit more.

Audiobook: The audio is pretty good, but nothing fantastic. Grover Gardner does a good job in terms of volume and inflection, but there isn't anything in his performance that makes this a must listen. It's a decent option though, if like me you have more time for audio books than reading.

Full Review
Apparently I bought this book twice. I had the ebook and totally forgot. Then I bought the audiobook on sa
David Sven
Sep 05, 2012 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
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
Sarah Anne
3.5 stars. I found myself enjoying this more as it went along. It's a wonderful comfort read. I was originally intending to skip the direct sequel, Barrayar, but by the time I got to the end I just had to get the next and download it. This book made me feel comfortable and happy :)

On a side note - apparently I'm completely incapable of saying Vorkosigan. I keep adding extra letters. Vorkoskigan or Vorkosigian being the most common. Even with the audio I can't make it stick properly.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Conflict of Honors (Liaden Universe, #8)
  • Primary Inversion (Saga of the Skolian Empire, #1)
  • The Service of the Sword (Worlds of Honor, #4)
  • Valor's Choice (Confederation #1)
  • Once a Hero (The Serrano Legacy, #4)
  • Warchild (Warchild, #1)
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)
  • 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)
“I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.” 164 likes
“The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present — they are real.” 111 likes
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