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What is the recomended reading order for the Vorkosigan Saga?

Publishing order or is there a better ordering, because I think there is more than one story line?

It's next on my "sagas" list, so I'd like to know where is best to start, and where should I go from there.

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You have two options -- either read them in the order of first publication, or in internal chronological order. I think either would work fine.

There's a bibliography here that lists them in order of internal chronology, but also lists the first publication dates if you want to go for publication order instead.

You can skip the linking sections of Borders of Infinity if you can't easily get hold of them -- they're not especially interesting.

In any event, you should read:

  • Falling Free and Cetaganda before Diplomatic Immunity
  • Ethan of Athos before "Labyrinth"
  • Brothers in Arms and "Labyrinth" before Mirror Dance
  • Mirror Dance, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaign and "Winterfair Gifts" sequentially

Since there's a new novel out now, let me just edit this answer to suggest that you should also read Captain Vorpatril's Alliance after Memory, Komarr and "Labyrinth".

  • Also: Diplomatic Immunity before Cryoburn – Satanicpuppy Mar 4 '11 at 17:32
  • @Satanicpuppy: I disagree. I don't think there's anything in Cryoburn that requires reading Diplomatic Immunity first. You'd pick up the back-story just fine in Cryoburn. – Zan Lynx Mar 4 '11 at 21:42
  • I think if possible, it's worth reading Diplomatic Immunity before Cryoburn because something major happens at the end of Cryoburn. If you read Diplomatic Immunity after that, you'd be wondering why that plot point wasn't being dealt with. – Pixel Jan 24 '12 at 5:26
  • As a bonus, that's the chronological order. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, as best I understand, runs parallel to Cryoburn or possibly a little before. – FuzzyBoots Jul 13 '14 at 21:39
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I usually recommend to my friends that they read this series in publication order. There are some strands of storyline that do not follow on directly from each other, however once you get immersed in the books (and you will!) the chronological order of events doesn't seem to matter. You just want to find out what mayhem Miles is going to cause next!

I prefer to follow along with what the author was most interested in exploring as she developed the series. If that means jumping back in time a little to back-fill some context or history, then that suits me just fine. I started reading the Vorkosigan Saga in the early 90s and have spent plenty of time waiting for each of the books to come out, so that may influence my preference for publication order.

I think you'll really enjoy this series, no matter which order you decide to read them in.

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Start with The Warrior’s Apprentice - This book starts the main series of Miles Vorkosigan. Everything you need to know is either explained or assumed.

The Vor Game - There is a book (novella), which fits between the Warrior’s Apprentice and The Vor Game. I have this novella included in another book which is actually a set of three novellas given as a report to Miles’ C.O.

Cetaganda - This book follows The Vor Game directly in the series.

Brothers in Arms - If you’ve made it this far in the series you’re probably hooked.

The Borders of Infinity - This is the collection of three novellas mentioned earlier, these novellas occurred at different points in the timeline of the series, but none of them occur any time further on in the series, so no spoilers. I consider these novellas to be integral to the whole series.

Mirror Dance - The timeline of the series picks back up here.

Memory - Continuation of the series, this book is something of an evolution for Miles.

Komarr - Continuation of the series.

A Civil Campaign - Continuation of the series.

Winterfair Gifts - Novella

Diplomatic Immunity - Continuation of the series.

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance - This book does not actually follow Miles as the main character, but instead follows his cousin Ivan. Don’t miss this one; it’s really amusing.

Cryoburn - The last book in the main series. If you've liked it all so far the other books give context and are generally enjoyable.

Falling Free/Shards of Honor/Barrayar - These three books are something of prequels to the main series. I suggest that if you read these at all, you read them after you read the main series. They are interesting but more of a footnote. Also if you do read these, note that they were written by the author after the main series.

Ethan of Athos - This book falls in-between Cetaganda and Brothers in Arms in the timeline. This book does not feature Miles, but does feature Elli Quinn. This is another book that should only be read after the main series.

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