Admiral Miles Naismith appears in two books (The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game) and two short stories before it occurs to anyone that he is the same person as Lord Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. How is that possible?

One of the many fooled people is Commander Ky Tung, who is a huge fan of Count Aral Vorkosigan and would presumably know about his Betan wife, nee Cordelia Naismith. On the Barrayan side, all of the counts learned about the Dendarii Free Mercenaries during Miles' trial at the end The Warrior's Apprentice, so you'd think something would have leaked out. Finally, as Miles rhetorically asks in Brothers in Arms (shortly before the connection is finally made): "Ivan, how many four-foot-nine-inch black-haired grey-eyed hunchbacks can there be on this damn planet?" While referring to Earth, people could have made the connection elsewhere, such as if any Barrayan expatriate or foreign spy joined the Dendarii.


In the end, it does leak out to Cetaganda. But Miles had wrecked his career first (in Memory, I think).

For the Galactics, it isn't that surprising. Barrayar is a primitive, icky Military Thug planet that nobody wants to think about. The surprise is that a Barrayaran doesn't eat babies. So gossip about the children of Admiral Vorkosigan - the Butcher of Komarr isn't very common. Do you know if Joseph Stalin had kids?

Ky Tung is a more special case, but a Military nut isn't going to care much about the wife and kiddies. And I think when he retired, it was hinted that he had figured out more than he ever said about Miles.

With the Barrayarans, you have the reverse issue. They are insular, and don't get exposed to Galactic affairs. They are stuck on the home planet, or the colony. Thus they wouldn't hear about the Dendarii Mercs, who were usually off far away from Barrayar itself. The regular navy or ImpSec would do for planets close at hand.

A Count who leaked the trial, or an expatriate who talked too much about Miles would have the Butcher, ImpSec, and the Emperor mad at him. Everyone knows Simon Illyan is Aral's stooge.

But I think the main reason it makes sense is just the relative insularity of Barrayarans, who seem reluctant to go anywhere and mix with anyone.

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    "And that, and his sardonic grin, was as close as cagey Tung was ever likely to admit that he had long ago figured out who their real employer was." (Brothers in Arms, Ch. 17) Indicates that Ky Tung knew Barrayar ran the Dendarii "long ago", so it is plausible that he eventually also recognized that Miles was not only a Barrayaran agent but also son of the Vorkosigan. Of the Counts, only Vorvolk and Vorhalas (and Vorkosigan) knew the real story and told the others that the charge was malicious, implying the evidence of assembling a fleet was unreliable. – Paul A. Clayton Jul 16 '14 at 12:18
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    "Bel Thorne nodded. 'Old Tung and I had it figured out a long time ago. Miles's secret identity isn't as secret as he hoped, I'm afraid.'" (Mirror Dance, Ch. 21) – Ellen Spertus Jul 20 '14 at 0:42
  • I want to second the quotes of others. I don't have the books to cite myself, but in later books it's similarly suggested that much of Miles command staff have figured something out. In general the later books seem to suggest to me that many people have put the pieces together, or at least some of the pieces, they all simply decide there is no reason to confrom Miles on it since he is doing a good job as Admiral and that's all they care about. – dsollen Jul 7 '17 at 17:08
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    I'd also like to point out that while Cetaganda didn't say anything to Miles directly before Memory it seems quite likely that they had deduced who Miles was much sooner, it simply didn't benefit them to reveal the fact. They can put a bounty on Naysmith to get rid of him, they can't put a bounty on a Vor heir without retribution. Pretending not to know who Miles is thus allows them more leeway. If you look at espinoge and diplomacy in real life your see many examples of these 'known secrets', both sides know the truth but both go along with a 'secret' for diplomatic reasons. – dsollen Jul 7 '17 at 17:13

Naismith is not an uncommon name on Beta and Miles is a convincing Betan. There would be no particular reason for an Earther to immediately connect a Betan named Naismith with Vorkosigan (even is they are a fan of Vorkosigan) any more than, say, someone from South America would immediately connect a Greek man named Onassis with the Kennedys.

Remember that there are literally trillions of people in the galactic community at this point. People who look identical are not that uncommon—look at Kiera Knightly and Natalie Portman. Yes, Miles' unique appearance makes it more difficult, especially once both Admiral Naismith and Miles Vorkosigan gained galactic reputations, but by that point he'd confused the issue with the clone thing—the fact that he demonstrably had at least one clone of himself running around made it entirely plausible that "Admiral Naismith" was a clone of Miles Vorkosigan with no allegiance to Barrayar.


You also answered your own Question. Being so self centric really it only mattered within the empire. And to the enemies of that empire. Also I think you fail to conceive how vast humanity Has to have become for this writers universe to exist.

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