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Winterfair Gifts (Vorkosigan Saga Book 18) [Kindle Edition]

Lois McMaster Bujold
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Book Description

Miles Vorkosigan and his fiancée Ekaterin are enjoying the Winterfair festivities and wedding gifts on their home planet Barrayar, but Miles’ enemies are at work. Sergeant Taura, a genetically engineered young woman Miles befriended, helps uncover the sinister plot. A double dose of romance enlivens this delightful novella in the New York Times bestselling Vorkosigan saga.


Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Author's Note:
 
The Vorkosigan Saga Reading Order Debate: The Chef Recommends
 
 
Many pixels have been expended debating the 'best' order in which to read what have come to be known as the Vorkosigan Books, the Vorkosiverse, the Miles books, and other names, since I neglected to supply the series with a label myself.  The debate now wrestles with some fourteen or so volumes and counting, and mainly revolves around publication order versus internal-chronological order.  I favor internal chronological, with a few caveats.
 
I have always resisted numbering my volumes; partly because, in the early days, I thought the books were distinct enough; latterly because if I ever decided to drop in a prequel somewhere (which in fact I did most lately with Captain Vorpatril's Alliance) it would upwhack the numbering system.  Nevertheless, the books and stories do have a chronological order, if not a strict one.
 
It was always my intention to write each book as a stand-alone so that the reader could theoretically jump in anywhere, yes, with that book that's in your hand right now, don't put it back on the shelf!  While still somewhat true, as the series developed it acquired a number of sub-arcs, closely related tales that were richer for each other.  I will list the sub-arcs, and then the books, and then the caveats.
 
Shards of Honor and Barrayar.  The first two books in the series proper, they detail the adventures of Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar.  Shards was my very first novel ever; Barrayar was actually my eighth, but continues the tale the next day after the end of Shards.  For readers who want to be sure of beginning at the beginning, or who are very spoiler-sensitive, start with these two.
 
The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game (with, perhaps, the novella "The Mountains of Mourning" tucked in between.)  The Warrior's Apprentice introduces the character who became the series' linchpin, Miles Vorkosigan; the first book tells how he created a space mercenary fleet by accident; the second how he fixed his mistakes from the first round. Space opera and military-esque adventure (and a number of other things one can best discover for oneself), The Warrior's Apprentice makes another good place to jump into the series for readers who prefer a young male protagonist.
 
After that: Brothers in Arms should be read before Mirror Dance, and both, ideally, before Memory.
 
Komarr makes another good alternate entry point for the series, picking up Miles's second career at its start.  It should be read before A Civil Campaign.
 
Borders of Infinity, a collection of three of the five currently extant novellas, makes a good Miles Vorkosigan early-adventure sampler platter, I always thought, for readers who don't want to commit themselves to length.  (But it may make more sense if read after The Warrior's Apprentice.)  Take care not to confuse the collection-as-a-whole with its title story, "The Borders of Infinity".
 
Falling Free takes place 200 years earlier in the timeline and does not share settings or characters with the main body of the series.  Most readers recommend picking up this story later. It should likely be read before Diplomatic Immunity, however, which revisits the "quaddies", a bioengineered race of free fall dwellers, in Miles's time.
 
The novels in the internal-chronological list below appear in italics; the novellas (officially defined as a story between 17,500 words and 40,000 words, though mine usually run 20k - 30k words) in quote marks.
 
 
Falling Free
Shards of Honor
Barrayar
The Warrior's Apprentice
"The Mountains of Mourning"
"Weatherman"
The Vor Game
Cetaganda
Ethan of Athos
Borders of Infinity
"Labyrinth"
"The Borders of Infinity"
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign
"Winterfair Gifts"
Diplomatic Immunity
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance  (upcoming in late 2012)
CryoBurn
                  
 
Caveats:
 
The novella "Weatherman" is an out-take from the beginning of the novel The Vor Game.  If you already have The Vor Game, you likely don't need this.
 
The original 'novel' Borders of Infinity was a fix-up collection containing the three novellas "The Mountains of Mourning", "Labyrinth", and "The Borders of Infinity", together with a frame story to tie the pieces together. Again, beware duplication.  The frame story does not stand alone, and generally is of interest only to completists.
 
 
The Fantasy Novels
 
My fantasy novels are a bit easier to order.  Easiest of all is The Spirit Ring, which is a stand-alone, or aquel, as some wag once dubbed books that for some obscure reason failed to spawn a subsequent series.  Next easiest are the four volumes of The Sharing Knife--in order, Beguilement, Legacy, Passage, and Horizon--which I broke down and actually numbered, as this was one continuous tale divided into non-wrist-breaking chunks.
 
What have come to be called the Chalion books, after the setting of its first two volumes, were also written, like the Vorkosigan books, to be stand-alones as part of a larger whole, and can in theory be read in any order.  (The third book actually takes place a few hundred years prior to the more closely connected first two.)  Some readers think the world-building is easier to assimilate when the books are read in publication order, and the second volume certainly contains spoilers for the first (but not the third.)  In any case, the publication order is:
 
The Curse of Chalion
Paladin of Souls
The Hallowed Hunt

The short story collection Proto Zoa was an e-book experiment; it contains five very early tales--three (1980s) contemporary fantasy, two science fiction--all previously published but not in this handy format. The novelette "Dreamweaver's Dilemma" may be of interest to Vorkosigan completists, as it is the first story in which that proto-universe began, mentioning Beta Colony but before Barrayar was even thought of.
 
My latest original e-edition is Sidelines: Talks and Essays, which is just what it says on the tin--a collection of three decades of my nonfiction writings, including convention speeches, essays, travelogues, introductions, and some less formal pieces. I hope it will prove an interesting companion piece to my fiction.
 
Happy reading!
 
-- Lois McMaster Bujold.

Product Details

  • File Size: 178 KB
  • Print Length: 76 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004I6CZ28
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As a long time fan of Miles Vorkosigan, I really enjoyed reading about his wedding and all the fun that can happen when a mutant like Taura visits Barrayar. The story holds true to the elements present in the rest of the series, interesting characters that you get invested in enough to care about, both wry and silly humor, and a good story that moves fast enough that even without a lot of action/adventure gets to the end leaving you wishing for more.

This work is much shorter than the novels, and while extremely entertaining, does not have enough background information about the Vorkosiverse to make it a good starting point for the series. So if you are just starting the saga, begin with one of the novels and let this be a dainty little tidbit to digest in between reading a couple of them. Good story, good narrator, and a throughly enjoyable listen.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:MP3 CD
Despite having only one vocal actor I had no problems at all "seeing" the different characters. I found the story, as I have come to expect from Lois McMaster Bujold, to be funny, moving, dramatic and satisfying, though I do wish it was longer. By being a novela some parts were glossed over in a hurry that left me wanting more. The audio adaptation is never quite what I hear and see in my mind when I read the story, but this one was well done. Not quite to the standards of a "Readers Chair production", but since they are out of business right now, this is very good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written, charming story. July 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
WINTERFAIR GIFTS is a beautiful little gem. I have a copy on my Kindle and another on my iPod so I can reread it when ever I'm stuck somewhere and don't want to die of boredom. As far as I'm concerned McMaster has never written a bad book, and since I can't carry my entire collection with me (I have her books in hard copies so the won't wear out so quickly), I can take this along to give myself a quick fix. Miles is not the main character this time, but it doesn't matter. He there just enough, while Tara gets to shine. There is also a nice little mystery ... I recommend this story highly. If you liked the Vorkosigan Saga, WINTERFAIR GIFTS is a wonderful addition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seize the Day! October 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Miles Vorkosigan's wedding comes off without a hitch. But the few days preceding it, not so much. Eketerin is endangered, Taura is dressed to the nines, and Roic gets what he wished for. Winterfair Gifts is a must-read for fans of the Vorkosigan Saga.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful story August 22, 2012
Format:MP3 CD
If you're mainly into rocketship battles and ray guns, this story, along with "A Civil Campaign," might not be for you. But more experienced, mature readers who care about things like character development will undoubtedly enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can you really ignore ANYTHING about Miles? February 19, 2011
By Folkie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's damn short. And it's not all about Miles. But how can live, knowing you haven't yet read EVERYTHING in the series?

Although it is too short, it's light, high-spirited, fast-paced, well-written, and doesn't have that gushy romance feel that the Sharing Knife series was beginning to get by the fourth book. Ugh. Any time, I'll take daring friends trying to outwit their dastardly enemies over smooching couples figuring out the best way to nest together. Yes, the story does feature a wedding, but fear not: the flower-arrangements, seating plans, and clothing form the background; the familiar, long-missed friends and terrible, murderous plots are the foreground.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been reading Bujold's Vor series for many years, and eagerly await each new story. Often, popular authors get asked to write stories to be included in someone's anthology, or perhaps a special collection for a show, etc. Winterfair Gifts reads like one of these, tossed off quickly.

The story takes place between two of the novels and involves Miles' wedding with Ekaterin. The focus, however, is mainly on Sergeant Taura, a character well known to readers of the earlier stories about Miles with the Dendarii Free Mercenaries. I will admit that Taura has not gotten her time in the spotlight, so the story is worthwhile for that. Ultimately, though, Winterfair Gifts felt like a "throwaway" story, one which you could easily skip if you didn't feel a need to read everything Vor. It is a good story, don't get me wrong, but is not as complex as the novels (it is more a novella-length) and doesn't add anything significant to the canon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short but sweet June 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As one of the previous reviews says, this isn't the place to start with these characters. However, Bujold is up to her usual very high standards and I found this story to be immensely satisfying. I've always wanted Sgt. Taura to get more screen time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Another satisfying novella from one of my favorite authors. I just wish it were longer.
Published 2 months ago by Ted Galacci
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun novella featuring the wedding of Miles
Fun novella featuring the wedding of Miles. Well-done, with the Bujold sense of humor apparent along with brief appearances of all our favorite Miles series characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sharon O. Norris
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite novella by a favorite author
Having a place to go where novella-length works are published is great! Having Winter Gifts be one such novella is better!! Read more
Published 3 months ago by David B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting small bridge novella in the series
I really liked this novella as it is told from a different POV: that of Roic, one of the new armsmen in service of Miles. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mike Group
4.0 out of 5 stars Wedding plot
This charming novella is itself a gift from the author to fans of her Vorkosigan series. It follows on from the events in A Civil Campaign with the arrival of guests for the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by cscott
5.0 out of 5 stars filling in the gaps
I loved that there was a story that told the tale of Miles' wedding. Having read the other books I always wondered what extravaganza Miles would try to get away with
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Interstellar intrigue
I like all of L. M. B. Vorkosigan saga. It has underlying hilarious as well as serious themes. A real good SF reading.
Published 7 months ago by Hans Mortl
5.0 out of 5 stars Bujold Does It Again
I usually can't get out of "writer brain" when I'm reading. Once again, Bujold pulled me out of it and into the fascinating world she weaves. Read more
Published 7 months ago by JC Rosen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great us usual
Watch out so as you don't get addicted to this series like I am. Thank you Kindle for making these novels available
Published 7 months ago by GMC
5.0 out of 5 stars always a good read
Always a good read... I've read everyone of her books I can find and reread them often whenever I need a guaranteed good book... JD
Published 8 months ago by John D
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