Warrior’s Apprentice kicks off the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold is a science fiction and fantasy author who has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. Miles Vorkosigan is the main character in her space opera science fiction novels. He is a curious hero: gifted with vast intelligence and cunning but crippled by physical ailments. He was born on a world that valued strength over all else. His infirmity was caused by a political and physical attack upon his father and mother before he was born. Although this book isn’t the first in the series, it is the first to feature Miles as the protagonist.
Miles is determined to attend the military academy of his world. It is only through this academy that future leaders come. He knows he’s destined for great things and wants to make his family proud. However, when he is denied admitance to the school because of his very brittle bones and short stature, he is at a loss. However, this state doesn’t last long and Miles is spurred into action.
Miles visits another planet, away from his family’s influence, and takes matters into his own hands to rescue a ship’s pilot at the end of his tether. One action provokes the next, and before you know it, Miles and his loyal retinue are smuggling weapons to a planet under seige. When his ship is seized by mercenaries, Miles improbably convinces them that he is also a mercenary and succeeds in convincing them to join his “army.” Not having been paid in months encourages the mercenaries to agree to his plans. Miles’ natural strengths as a leader and strategist serve him well as he whips his force into shape. However, his return home to his family is complicated by the political implications of his maintaining a private army of mercenaries — something illegal under his emperor’s law.
This delightful sci fi romp had me laughing out loud as Miles careened from one adventure to the next. I love how he managed to not only survive his escapades, but exceed expectations. I also appreciated how Bujold never lost sight of the human losses in war and the pain that accompanies success as well as defeat. This is a fantastic book that I would encourage everyone to read.