War. Romance. Honor. Politics. In Shards of Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold tells the story of Captain Cordelia Naismith’s courtship with Aral Vorkosigan. The story begins with them being marooned together on a planet that Cordelia is exploring as part of a scientific team and chronicles their attempts to develop a relationship while being on opposite sides of a war.
In this novel, Bujold takes a typical science fiction war plot and looks at it from a female perspective. Cordelia is a physically, emotionally, and mentally strong character. She tenaciously attempts to do the honorable thing. At times, the book describes the silly feelings associated with love. At other times, it deals with hard issues, like what happens to the offspring of women raped during the war. The book closes with an afterward, which I read before as a short story someplace, that describes finding and identifying the remains of those lost, on both sides, in the war, a very emotionally charged piece.
Shards of Honor is the second—or first depending upon who is doing the counting—novel according to the plot order of the Vorkosigan Saga, which earned Bujold three Hugo Awards. My first reaction was that it was an okay book. My day-after reaction was one of admiration. Bujold writes with a fresh perspective and takes on some tough issues.