Over the last couple of decades, McMaster has steadily and without fanfare written a wonderful space-opera saga. The main character is Miles Vorkosigan, crippled at birth by a poison gas attack on his parents. Although he's under 5' tall and has bones of chalk, he's got as much energy as five people, and perhaps too much honor for his own good.
In chronological order:
Shards of Honor, 1986; Baen Books, ISBN 1-4767-8110-9. Order it.
Miles' parents meet, on opposite sides in a war. Lord Aral Vorkosigan, captain in the Barrayaran navy. Cordelia Naismith, commander of a survey vessel in the Betan Expeditionary Force.
Barrayar, 1991; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-72083-X. Order it.
The gas attack on Miles' parents is one of the opening moves in a civil war later known as Vordarian's Pretendership.
The Warrior's Apprentice, 1986; Baen Books, ISBN 0-6717-2066-X. Order it.
The first book where Miles himself appears. He fails the physical part of the entrance test for imperial military academy. Disappointed that his dreams of a military career have ended, he goes to Beta colony on a vacation to visit his grandmother. Through an escalating series of misadventures ends up in command of a small mercenary fleet, and charged with high treason at home on Barrayar.
The Vor Game, 1990; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-72014-7. Order it.
Miles has been admitted to the imperial military after all, to try and keep him out of trouble. It doesn't work, after only a few months on his first assignment as a weatherman he gets charged with mutiny. He gets transferred to Imperial Security, under a reluctant Captain Illyan. His first assignment there is to go find out what's up with the Dendarii Mercenaries, the fleet he, er, hypnotized in the previous book. But then Emperor Gregor disappears from Barrayar, and only Miles knows where he is.
Cetaganda, 1996; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-87744-5. Order it.
A brief detour to the Cetagandan Empire on a diplomatic mission.
Brothers in Arms, 1989; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-69799-4. Order it.
Miles and the Dendarii Mercenaries visit a backwater planet called Earth, to collect their pay and refit. But mysteries and assassination plots interfere.
Borders of Infinity, 1989; Baen Books, ISBN 1-4767-8193-1. Order it.
Four short stories with a connecting narrative, Miles reporting to Illyan on his recent missions - from his hospital bed.
Mirror Dance, 1994; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-87646-5. Order it.
Miles' brother Mark hijacks a Dendarii Mercenarys strike team to free a group of clones on Jackson's Whole. He gets into trouble and Miles comes to the rescue. One of them gets killed - but which one?
Memory, 1996; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-87845-X. Order it.
Miles is cashiered for falsifying part of his report on the events in "Mirror Dance". Then Illyan starts acting strange, and eventually has to be relieved of duty as well. Miles smells a rat, but since he's no longer in Imperial Security what can he do?
Komarr, 1998; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-57808-1. Order it.
Miles' first assignment as an Imperial Auditor is to investigate the wreck of the terraforming mirror at Komarr. Accident or sabotage?
A Civil Campaign, 1999; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-57885-5. Order it.
Miles is in luuuuuuuuuv.
Diplomatic Immunity, 2002; Baen Books, ISBN 0-7434-3612-1. Order it.
The Vorkosigans' honeymoon trip is interrupted by a messy diplomatic incident in quaddie space, which Miles must attempt to unravel.
Cryoburn, 2010; Baen Books, ISBN 1-4516-3750-0. Order it.
Miles is undercover investigating some medical shenanigans on a new planet.
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, 2012; Baen Books, ISBN 1-4767-3698-7. Order it.
This represents a sort of reboot of the series. Ivan is the main character instead of Miles. It's set a few years earlier than the prior Miles story. There's a good deal of expository material on Barrayaran culture, as Ivan explains things to his new bride. Yes, Ivan got married. By accident.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, 2016; Baen Books, ISBN 1-4814-8289-9. Order it.
Don't expect a lot of excitement from this one. It's more of a character study of Cordelia and Jole, with meditations on family and parenting. Lots of old characters make appearances.
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