The first hardcover appearance of Bujold's well-known series about the Vorkosigan clan, hereditary rulers of planet Barrayar (Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms, etc.). Dwarfish, multitalented Miles Vorkosigan has a secret identity as Admiral Naismith, leader of the fearless Dendarii mercenaries; his clone-brother Mark was grown from stolen cells and trained by a ruthless dissident to assassinate Miles and replace him, an ambition Mark no longer holds. In this adventure, Mark masquerades as Admiral Naismith in order to lead a raid on the evil cloning facilities of planet Jackson's Whole. Miles discovers the deception and comes in pursuit, just in time to get himself killed; his body, hopefully preserved in cryonic suspension, vanishes. Mark returns to Barrayar to become acquainted with his biological parents, then figures out where Miles's body has vanished to, and rushes off to recover it. By this time Miles has been revivified, though his memories remain scattered and incomplete (he doesn't know whether he's Miles or Mark). Mark arrives, only to be captured by the sadistic monster and longtime Vorkosigan foe, Baron Ryoval. A well-conceived series, solidly plotted and organized, though heavy going in places and, finally, lacking that spark of genuine originality that would blazon it as truly special.