He’s short. I’m not talking normal short, this guy is midget short. I’m talking dwarf short. Not only that, he’s sickly. His mother was poisoned when she was pregnant with him, so all of his bones are brittle. Even my excitable nature could accidentally break his arms. He’s smart as hell, though. If you are in trouble, the sight of him should fill you with hope. It’s just that he’s so damn short
If power was an illusion, wasn’t weakness necessarily one also? Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campain, 1999
He’s loyal, too. If he made an oath to protect you, you would be protected for the rest of your life. If you made an oath to follow him, he would expect it. With great loyalty, comes devotion. He demands it by his actions, not by his words. If you know him, you don’t see the man who is under four feet tall, you see a true hero.
The problem is that I’ve never seen him. He lives in the imaginary world of Lois McMaster Bujold. I have been reading her books for a couple of years now and I find that she has completely ruined me for almost all other science fiction. Her books are so well written that I have a hard time reading lesser authors. Plus, I love Miles so much
[Y]ou have to be careful who you let define your good. Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campain, 1999
Miles Vorkosigan comes from a planet called Barrayar, where mutants and cripples are exposed at birth, or at least were just a couple of generations ago. He is the son of the second most powerful man on Barrayar and most believe that his advance in the military was based on nepotism rather than merit. He spends his young adult life proving that he is worthy of accolades and his adult life has been spent foiling various attempts to overthrow his cousin, the Emperor of Barrayar.
If all of this sounds complicated, it is. Added to all this intrigue is the fact that his mother is an off-worlder, he has an alternate identity with a mercenary group, he has a clone traipsing around the galaxy causing trouble for him and those damn Cetagandans are always trying to muck things up. Every novel she has written has enough going on to keep the most active mind on its toes and the characters still have enough presence of mind to tell me important things about my own life.
Read Mountains of Mourning online for free. It isn’t the first book in the series, but it is a good example of the compact beauty of her writing.