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Shards of Honor Hardcover – July 1, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews
Book 2 of 15 in the Vorkosigan Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cordelia Naismith, Betan Survey Captain, was expecting the unexpected: hexapods, floating creatures, odd parasites... She was not, however, expecting to find hostile humans on an uninhabited planet. And she wasn't really expecting to fall in love with a 40-plus barbarian known to cosmopolitan galactics as the Butcher of Komarr. Will Mother ever understand? And can such an odd beast as love survive an interplanetary war? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


''[Bujold] gives [her] characters enough emotional depth, and enough sense, to raise their story beyond cliché.'' --Locus

''Bujold has a nice hand with the complications . . . All in all, Shards is a worthy effort, and worth reading for any fan of SF romance.'' --Analog --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: The NESFA Press; First Cloth Edition edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886778205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886778207
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,533,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Series fiction has requirements very different from the single novel, or even multiple books forming one long story such as Tolkien's Ring Trilogy. The multi-book single storyline can be - probably is - so self-referential you have to read every book in the series, in order, to understand what's happening in later books. But the author of a true open-ended series like Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan novels knows readers may start with any book in the series, and read them in utterly random order. Thus, while each book must build on, and ideally add to and enrich what's come before, it must also be self-contained and not require having read any other book in the series to enjoy. Bujold has always been aware of this, thus for new readers interested in her tales of Miles Vorkosigan, it's not really necessary to begin with Shards of Honor. On the other hand, if you are a brand-new reader to this series, why NOT start at the beginning? (Bujold's novel Falling Free takes place within the same fictional universe but, being set approximately 200 years before Miles' birth, features none of the series' familiar characters. Eventually you'll want to read Falling Free, but it doesn't matter when; you can insert it into your Bujold reading experience anytime.)

Shards of Honor is Bujold's first novel (not merely the first novel she ever sold, but the first she ever wrote, thus disproving the axiom, "All first novels are unsaleable trash"). She begins writing it in December 1982. In mid-'83, having worked through the Shards material and about a third into what would eventually become Barrayar, Bujold realizes her manuscript is becoming too long to submit as one book (the "wisdom" at the time being a thin manuscript is more likely to be picked off the slush pile than a thick one).
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Format: Paperback
Shards of Honour is one of those incredible books that is almost completely unknown outside of the sci-fi genre. This is a loss to the people who think that sci-fi consists of nothing more than strange aliens, ray guns, and sex in outer space.
Lois McMaster Bujold has the amazing talent of mixing characters and science and fiction in exactly the proper amounts. Cordelia Naismith is an astrocartographer from Beta Colony, heading a company of scientific prima donnas on an expedition to map out and catalog flora and fauna on a newly discovered planet. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately Cordelia wasn't expecting to be ambushed by a bunch of blood-thirsty, out of control Barrayarans, or to get stuck in a trek for survival with their leader, Aral Vorkosigan, better known as the Butcher of Komarr. And that's only where the trouble begins.
How do two people from distinctly different cultures survive in their situation, which I'm not going to expound on as it will spoil some of the best moments in the book? How will love survive an intergalactic war? How can someone survive after sacraficing honour, only to find that the necessary, vital result will never replace it? And, of course, the most pressing question to be asked: how much sexual energy do two people have to spare while hiking forty kilometres a day, concussed, stunned, diseased, on poor food and little sleep, alternating caring for a wounded man with avoiding becoming dinner for every carnivore within range, and with a coup to plan for at the end? Lois McMaster Bujold handles the characterisation so well that you almost forget that you don't actually know Cordelia and Aral. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was reading a book yesterday which made me feel like I was in an exciting new world. I absolutely fell in love with the main characters, and there were moments of excitement, true love and romance, terror, mirth and of delight. The experience was lovely.
After finishing the book, I found that I was so in love with the characters and the experience of sharing their lives, that I felt sadness, even grief over not being able to continue in the world created by this author. After all, one can only read a book once in awhile to experience it fully, because the feelings evoked, the sense of interest and excitement fades with familiarity.
After this experience, I found myself pondering what was so important to me about this book, what made this experience so positive, so important. Why did I wish with all my heart that these people lived in my world? Why did I yearn to be a part of their lives in a real way? Why did I want to be them, or know them?
As I pondered my feelings, I realized that these characters, which so fascinated me, lived with a very deep code of honor, sometimes at great personal expense. This code was an intrinsic part of the make up of their being. The ongoing struggle to live according to these deep values was exciting, and created tension and drama. Over and over again, it was evident that these characters struggled with the importance of personal honor, of keeping one's word, of living consistently by their code. Sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes they had to set aside the code, for the greater good.
Does living by a code of honor make things humorous; I don't know. Or perhaps honor gives one a way of looking at the world that facilitates laughter sometimes, and then tears as well, sometimes.
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