Apr. 11th, 2017

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The Warrior's Apprentice is the third of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, following Shards of Honour and Barrayar which I read in the autumn. It's set seventeen years after the events of Barrayar and the focus shifts from Cordelia and Aral to their son Miles, whose physical disabilities (the result of a teratogenic antidote to an attack on his parents with poison gas while Cordelia was pregnant with him) prevent him from following his dream (and the normal path for a young man of his class) of gaining admission to the Barrayaran military academy. Instead, he goes to visit his grandmother on Beta Colony, where he ends up buying an obsolete spaceship, triggering a sequence of events which ends up with him accidentally becoming commander of a mercenary fleet.

Given that one of the things I really liked about the first two books was that they were about adults, I wasn't entirely sure I was going to find a novel with a seventeen-year-old protagonist as enjoyable, but Miles is basically a less-whumped and slightly less infuriating Francis Crawford of Lymond in space and the story is great fun, and also very funny (there was one scene which reminded me irresistably of The Million Pound Radio Show's Pirate Training Day sketch, and was just as funny). There's also quite a lot about the nature of leadership, which I found particularly interesting given some of the discussions on the management development programme I'm currently on at work (not that I think Miles Vorkosigan is a particularly good role model, but there's one bit where Miles is reflecting on how he's the one person who doesn't do anything and yet without him there the organisation falls apart which particularly struck me). It felt like comfort reading without beign fluff, which I think is probably a very good thing.

(Also, I was startled to realise that I had somehow misosmosed Bel Thorne as a disembodied entity, possibly an AI, from other people's mentions of the character...)

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