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Cetaganda cover.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Lois McMaster Bujold
Audio read by Grover Gardner
Cover artist Gary Ruddell
Country United States
Language English
Series Vorkosigan Saga
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Baen Books
Publication date
Pages 302
ISBN 0-671-87701-1
Preceded by Mirror Dance
Followed by Memory

Cetaganda is a science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in four parts from October to December 1995 in Analog Science Fiction and Fact,[1] and published in book form by Baen Books in January 1996. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and was included in the 2001 omnibus Miles, Mystery and Mayhem.

Plot summary[edit]

Miles and Ivan are sent to the home world of the Cetagandan Empire to represent Barrayar at the state funeral of the dowager Empress, mother of the current Emperor. They quickly become entangled in an internal Cetagandan plot when they arrive at a nearly deserted docking bay, much to their puzzlement. A ba (a sexless servant of the Cetagandan rulers) unexpectedly rushes into their spaceship. A struggle ensues, in which the ba drops a weapon and some sort of artifact before fleeing. Miles takes it upon himself to investigate — without informing his superiors — and eventually discovers that the artifact is a fake copy of the priceless Great Key, which has been stolen. The ba is later found dead.

Realizing that an unknown enemy is trying to frame him and Barrayar, Miles forms an unusual alliance with Rian Degtiar, the "Handmaiden of the Star Crèche", who is charged with the duties of Empress until the new one is chosen. Miles solves the complex mystery and stops a plot to fragment the Cetagandan Empire into eight dangerously expansionist-minded parts. Then, much to his chagrin, he is publicly awarded the Order of Merit, one of the very highest Cetagandan honors, by the Emperor himself. He also picks up clues to a Cetagandan genetic experiment, which becomes the object of much skulduggery in Ethan of Athos.


Cetaganda was nominated for the Locus Award in 1997, the same year as Memory, the following book in the series.[2] It received mixed reviews, with The SF Site stating that it has "a good and delicious mystery at its core",[3] while a Tor.com review stated "I don’t find the Cetagandan political set-up very plausible, and worse, I don’t find it very interesting."[4] SFF.net stated that "All in all, this is certainly an enjoyable book, though not (Bujold's) best.[5]


  1. ^ "Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Mid-December 1995". Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  2. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  3. ^ Gerlach, Nicki (2011), The SF Site, "Cetaganda: Lois McMaster Bujold", accessed November 2, 2012
  4. ^ Walton, Jo (April 10, 2009), Tor.com, "Luck is something you make for yourself: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cetaganda", accessed November 2, 2012
  5. ^ SFF.net, Jan 9, 1996, Cetaganda, accessed November 2, 2012

External links[edit]