Test of Honor: Shards of Honor and The Warrior's Apprentice
by Lois McMaster Bujold
The point of conflict is clear and straightforward: the democratic Betans versus the ultra-militaristic Barrayarans. At least that's what biologist Cordelia Naismith, heroine of Shards of Honor, believes. But when she's stranded on an unexplored planet - at the mercy of Aral Vorkosigan, the very Barrayaran she's been taught to despise - she discovers that the truth has become crudely twisted. And when Vorkosigan, himself the victim of a politically inspired mutiny, tries to draw Cordelia into the struggle against his culture's fascistic military elite, she has to make a choice. A choice that will mean betrayal, no matter which side she's on. In THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE, Cordelia's son, Miles, depressed and angry after failing the physical entrance exams to military training school, decides to take a long vacation - and inadvertently falls into a deal well suited to his abilities and sense of adventure. He buys a starship, contracts to smuggle contraband into a war zone - and without quite meaning to, he finds himself a far-too-active participant in the war!