See here for Lois Bujold's biographical detail.
Her most widely known works are those in the 'Vorkosigan Universe'. This Universe consists of a number of interstellar governments linked together by a series of wormholes (See here for a definition for Wormhole) which enable the ships to transit interstellar space at apparent FTL speeds. Although the surface tone is generally mildly (well, very, if you are in the right mood...) humorous, there are definite dark undertones. Of course, a lot of this is to do with the fact that Ms Bujold believes in the Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times'. The view we get of her Galaxy is not a peaceful one by and large! Another thing that I like about these books is the way that a relatively minor character from one book can resurface in another book in a more expansive role - there is very little of the 'Red Shirt' Syndrome that afflicts Star TrekTM.
Earth is still the central focus of the galaxy and most powerful in terms of sheer size of it's economy though it is not amongst the most technically advanced stellar powers and militarily it is a cypher, being located at the end of a single wormhole Jump point. Beta Colony is the most technically advanced of the multitudinous interstellar governments. Cetaganda and Barrayar are the two powers that are considered to be the most militaristic. And sworn enemies, for it was the Cetagendans swarming through the newly re-opened wormhole into Barrayaran space that was the Barrayaran's introduction to galactic politics. To the Barrayaran's disgust, the galactic powers made no comments as the Cetagandans used nukes against mediaeval cities. When in their turn, barely a generation later, the Barrayarans attacked the nexus point leading to Barrayar, taking it in a virtually bloodless invasion, galactic civilisation decried them as vicious thugs. Naturally, they feel a little cynical about galactic civilisation!
The books! These are listed in order of internal chronology as far as I can tell.Click here to see the books with a timeline of Miles' life
Falling Free. This is a stand alone book, though set in the Vorkosigan Universe a few centuries before the rest of the series.
Shards of Honor This really marks the start of the series proper where we are introduced to a couple of the most significant characters in the series as a whole.
Barrayar This follows on directly from Shards of Honor. Originally this and Shards were intended to be published as a single novel and this was later done.
The Warrior's Apprentice. Introducing Miles Vorkosigan!
The Vor Game. Miles of fun .
Cetaganda. Miles and Ivan represent the Barrayaran Government on the Cetagandan Homeworld.
Ethan of Athos. When Dr Urquhart finds himself sent off in to the greater Galaxy, he finds himself caught up in the affairs of Great Powers.
Brothers in Arms. Miles, as Admiral Naismith, finds himself on Earth along with the rest of the Dendarii Free Fleet.
Borders of Infinity. Recuperating after the results of his visit to Earth, and the mission that followed, Miles is interrogated by his boss over missing funds.
Mirror Dance. Miles leads one mission too many!
Memory. Miles has to find a way of putting his life back together.
Komarr. Miles from the outside. Quite an interesting experience.
A Civil Campaign. The Emperor is getting married. Miles goes courting
Diplomatic Immunity After a marriage comes the honeymoon...
Cryoburn - ever since he'd been killed. Miles Vorkosigan had feared the cold. Now he has to investigate a cryogenics organisation!
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance Set inbetween the previous two books, this book features Ivan Vorpatril, Mark's hapless cousin.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is set three years after Cryoburn.
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