The Warrior's Apprentice is a typical Miles Vorkosigan adventure. To those who are not familiar with Miles that last sentence may look like a derogatory comment. That could not be further from the truth. The Warrior's Apprentice is typical because it is a fast paced, seat of your pants, romp through the universe adventure with the eccentric Miles Vorkosigan. Bujold's entire cannon set in this universe merits high praise.
The Warrior's Apprentice finds Miles breaking his leg and being unable to complete his training in the Barrayan military academy. A deeply depressed Miles feels he has let his father and grandfather down and becomes inconsolable. His mother, Cordelia, sends him to Beta Colony hoping it will take his mind off his troubles at home. Once on Beta Colony the fun begins. Miles saves a deranged jumpship pilot from Betan security forces and in the process purchases a jumpship. He then offers to use his new found toy to deliver armaments to a warring planet in a dead-end worm hole nexus. The catch is he must break through an embargo being enforced by mercenaries on the other side of the worm hole. In the meantime Mile runs across a deserter from the Barrayan military who he decides to take along with him. Miles, accompanied by a mentally unstable jumpship pilot, a Barrayan deserter, Sergeant Bothari, Bothari's daughter Eleni, and the agent for whom Miles is working, Daum, breaks the blockade and become embroiled in a battle between mercenary fleets. Miles, using the ingenuity he is now well know for, finds himself the captain of the a rag-tag group of mercenaries who he eventually dubs the Dendarii Mercenaries.
Unfortunately for Miles, the act of creating a standing army of one's own is a capital offense on Barrayar and he must go face the Council of Counts. In an emotionally wrenching scene Miles' father attempts to protect him from these charges.
This short sketch of events masks both the humor and sadness that accompany Miles on his adventure. Bujold has the ability to elicit both laughter and sadness in her writing and she does both here. There are few writers of any genre who are as good at characterization as Bujold. Even peripheral characters take on a complicated psyche of their own. And the interaction between Miles and his father, Aral, are superbly written.
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