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 0-671-65574-4. Order it from Amazon.com.
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
Barrayar, 1991; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-72083-X. Order it from Amazon.com.
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 0-671-65587-6. Order it from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
A brief detour to the Cetagandan Empire on a diplomatic mission.
Brothers in Arms, 1989; Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-69799-4. Order it from Amazon.com.
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 0-671-69841-9. Order it from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
Miles is cashiered for falsifying part of his report on the events in
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 from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
Miles is in luuuuuuuuuv.
Diplomatic Immunity, 2002; Baen Books, ISBN 0-7434-3612-1. Order it from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
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 from Amazon.com.
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.