Mirror Dance, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and published in 1994 by Baen Books, is the ninth published novel in the universe of the Vorkosigan Saga. It was published in hardcover March 1994, and in paperback March 1995. In the chronology of the universe it follows Borders of Infinity and is followed by Memory. Mirror Dance has also been published as part of the omnibus edition Miles Errant.
Mirror Dance won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Novel and the 1995 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Not everyone would envy young Lord Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, even though he had formed his own mercenary fleet before attending the naval academy, and even though his mother was the beautiful Cordelia, the ship captain who has taught the Lords of Barrayar much about the perils of sexism. Even the fact that Miles is third in line to the throne and personally owns a major chunk of his home planet would not tempt any normal person to change places with him.
When assassins came to rid the world of his father, his mother, pregnant with Miles, was in the line of fire, and Miles was but an egg for the omelet in an all too literal sense. Thanks to heroic medical intervention, Miles survived his near fatal brush with war gas-as a pain-filled dwarf with bones as weak and brittle as some malign composite of chalk and glass. Miles is often mistaken for a mutant by his mutant loathing countrymen.
But there is one who does envy him, who wants to be him: his brother, his cloned stranger formed from tissue stolen from Miles when he was a child. For Mark Vorkosigan was created and raised up for only one purpose: to become Miles, to murder and replace him. In Brothers in Arms that conspiracy was routed and Mark made more or less compliant to his new Miles-less fate. But in the intervening years Mark has learned that without Miles he is . . . nothing. The new and better Mark doesn't really want to kill his brother, but still it may come to that: Mark to stay, Miles to go. . . .
- "But if you claim your destiny, his demon voice whispered at the last, before the night's oblivion, why can't you claim your name?"
- ―Mark, on his name[src]
Some years had gone by since Mark escaped Ser Galen's plots, and he decided to save Bharaputra's clones – he couldn't save the ones he grew up with, because they'd long since died, but at least he could try to save the current group. All he needed was a credible military force, and he knew just where to get one – his brother's private army, the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet.
So he showed up while Miles was away, claiming to be Admiral Naismith with a new contract to go to Jackson's Whole. He collected the Ariel, captained by Bel Thorne, and Green Squad, led by Sergeant Taura, and he was on his way.
Miles, however, showed up at the fleet only three days later. When he learned what happened, he was furious and took off in pursuit with the Peregrine, captained by Elena Bothari-Jesek. He arrived just in time to find his brother's raid had failed and they'd holed up in a building with the clones as hostages. Miles rushed down to rescue them all; his raid succeeded and collected Baron Bharaputra himself for a hostage. Miles himself, however, was killed by a sniper during the raid. Worse, the cryochamber that held the promise of reviving him was lost during the battle. Mark figured out that the medic accompanying it, Norwood, must have used a nearby commercial shipper to send the cryochamber somewhere.
- "Who are you when you're not doing the part?" Bothari-Jesek's gaze was narrowed, calculating.
"I . . . hardly know." He swallowed, and tried again for more volume in his voice. "What's going to happen to my—to the clones?"
- ―Elena talking to Mark[src]
The problem now being too big for a few Dendarii ships to handle, they promptly left for Komarr, to meet with Simon Illyan. Illyan sent Mark and Elena to Barrayar while he got a huge Nexus-wide search underway. Mark met and began to get to know his new family; Elena began to be reconciled to her family's history. After a time, the cryochamber was found – without Miles in it, however. Aral Vorkosigan suffered a heart attack. Mark demanded the right to take part in the now-lower-priority search, and after a few days concluded that Miles had never left Jackson's Whole.
- "But just not-being-Miles is no more than the inverse of being an imitation Miles. I want to know, who is Mark?"
"Lady . . . I don't know.""
- ―Cordelia asks who Mark is, too[src]
MIles, meanwhile, had been revived by a group of cloned doctors who worked for Baron Fell, the Durona Group. They wanted him to rescue them from Jackson's Whole, if indeed he was Admiral Naismith, who had shown himself able to do such things. However, he didn't know whether he was the admiral or not – he had cryo-amnesia. When Mark and a small group of Dendarii arrived there soon after, they began negotiations with Lilly Durona to bring this about, only to be very rudely interrupted by the forces of Baron Ryoval, who had a serious grudge against Admiral Naismith. They ran off with Mark; Miles and his personal doctor/girlfriend Rowan Durona fled, only to be captured by Baron Bharaputra. Bharaputra spent the next few days trying to get hold of Baron Ryoval to arrange a sale; Baron Ryoval was not at first available because he was very busy studying/torturing his new prisoner. Eventually Bharaputra got through and the sale was made; Miles was then sent to Ryoval's facility. Before he could arrive, however, Mark escaped captivity, killing Ryoval in the process. He fled to Lilly Durona. Miles escaped soon after his own arrival at Ryoval's; he also headed for Lilly Durona – with Baron Fell accompanying him.
When they arrived, they found that Mark was interested in making a Deal with Fell – he would give Fell the keycodes to Ryoval's holdings in return for Fell giving him the Duronas and a ten percent finder's fee of the value of Ryoval's empire. Fell accepted, and Mark and Miles left for Barrayar.
- "For the first time in his life, he was going home."
- ―Mark, on returning to Barrayar[src]
- Elli Quinn
- Cordelia Vorkosigan
- Aral Vorkosigan
- Simon Illyan
- Rowan Durona
- Bel Thorne
- Kareen Koudelka
- Ivan Vorpatril
- Gregor Vorbarra
- Fat Ninny
- Medic Norwood
- The Durona Group
- Baron Fell
- Baron Ryoval
- Baron Bharaputra
- Baronne Bharaputra
- Lilly Durona Junior