I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The dwarfish, fetally-damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson's Whole, things start to get really messy. The mission goes awry, Miles's rescue attempt goes even more wrong, and Miles ends up killed and placed in cryogenic suspension for future resuscitation. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, the cryo-container is lost! Now it is up to the confused, disturbed Mark to either take Miles's place as heir of the Vorkosigan line or redeem himself by finding and saving Miles.
“If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.”
This is basically the method that Miles Vorkosigan has chosen to use with his cloned brother, Mark. Mark is pretty damned determined not to “belong” to anyone but himself and, since abuse is pretty much the only way that others have dealt with him, his flight as far away from Miles as possible is understandable.
However, his desire to do right by other clones leads him to impersonate his brother and embark on a quixotic mission to free as many clones persons as he can. What could possibly go wrong?
Quite a bit, actually. Especially when Miles shows up, supposedly to save the day, and digs the hole quite a bit deeper. Mark is backed into a corner, forced to meet his “parents,” Aral and Cordelia, and to learn first-hand about Barrayar. Fortunately for him, Cordelia is from Beta Colony and realizes that everything is all about choice. She should know, having chosen Barrayar, Aral, and Miles.
An entertaining examination of the many aspects of choice that we all live with, whether we realize it or not.
Book 321 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.