The dwarfish, fetally damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson's Whole, things get really messy.
The mission goes awry, Miles' rescue attempt goes even more wrong, and Miles ends up killed and placed in cryogenic suspension for future resuscitation. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, the cryo-container is lost! Now it is up to the confused, disturbed Mark to either take Miles' place as heir of the Vorkosigan line or redeem himself by finding and saving Miles.
"[A]s good a story as ever was offered as science fiction, with Bujold's carefully crafted prose, logical working out of even minor plot points, and inimitable wit all very much in evidence. Deserves the highest recommendation and a hoard of eager readers." (
"[An] intricate and rousing new installment of the Vorkosigan adventures....Bujold creates a tapestry of variegated human societies dispersed throughout a colorful galaxy. She peoples it with introspective but genuine heroes who seize the reader's imagination and intellect." ( Publishers Weekly)
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