The Warrior's Apprentice - Lois McMaster Bujold image
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.

Is this my favourite book in the Vorkisgan Saga so far? Good question.

Let’s start with the ‘so far’ part. This is book 2 in the publication order, book 4 in the chronological order, but book 8 in my scattershot order.

We’re currently running at:
3 x five-star ratings
5 x four-star ratings
– from which you may deduce that this is a damn fine series, whatever order you read it in.

I loved The Warrior’s Apprentice – it’s Miles at his best.

Normally, if someone’s clock-watching at work, it’s because they don’t like their job and can’t wait to go home. For the nine days I had this book on the go, I found myself clock-watching every morning (and I like my job at the moment) because I couldn’t wait until my lunch break when I’d have half an hour with Miles!

This is a classic ‘lie-that-gets-out-of-control’ story. Miles heads off to Beta Colony to visit his maternal grandmother. He takes along his bodyguard, Sergeant Bothari, and the sergeant’s beautiful daughter, Elena. In a bid to impress Elena, Miles blags his way onto a repossessed jump-ship being held hostage by the distraught pilot and ends up buying the whole damn ship. To try and make good his purchase, he agrees to a double-or-quits mission to deliver ‘agricultural equipment’ into a warzone. It’s obviously an arms smuggling mission, for which Miles acts the veteran, but when mercenaries at the blockade try and take Elena hostage Miles has no choice but to take their ship (obviously), and then the next crises rushes up...

Fast paced, quick thinking, backs-to-the-wall, turning strategy on its head – pure, poor, genius Miles! Miles is all about brain over brawn, and the bigger the odds the faster his thinks.

This is very much of the same ilk as The Vor Game, which won the Hugo award. If I didn’t know any better I could easily believe it was the other way around – they’re both excellent. I’d still put Mirror Dance a smidgeon ahead of them both as my favourite, because I think Marc adds a little extra dark spin to Miles madcap world.

If I had to be mega critical, I’d say that first leap Miles takes to get involved with Mayhew (the pilot) is a little weakly motivated – but once we’re past that hurdle, the rest of the books rolls on majestic and unstoppable.

There are some great scenes with Bothari, the last of which left all the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. For such a light hearted romp, that ability to suddenly tug on the heart strings is part of what makes me admire Bujold so much as a writer. That and her wonderful way with loveable characters.

There are many points at which you can join this series – but The Warrior’s Apprentice has to be one of the most accessible volumes. If you like a great space adventure, grab a copy today :-)

After this I read: Gillespie and I