This is a compilation of two novels and one novella. No new material, but still a wonderful gift for someone just starting off on Bujold. Three books for the price of one! The novella is "Borders of Infinity" and the two novels are _Brothers in Arms_ and _Mirror Dance_
In "Borders of Infinity," Miles winds up as a POW in a Cetaganda camp. in _Brothers in Arms_ he goes to Earth and discovers he has a clone who is part of a conspiracy against Barrayar. In _Mirror Dance_, the clone returns to assume Miles' identity Admiral Naismith, gets himself in huge trouble, and Miles faces his own mortality as a result.
Bujold's writing gets better and better as her books go on, and since her first works are still fabulous you can imagine how great these later works are! Each book is independent enough to stand alone, but still part of a greater web which all the books make up. Even if you've never read a Bujold book, you will still develop an attachment to her various characters in book 10 as you would have in book 1. She's a literary genius.
One of the stronger points about the Vorkosigan saga is that the characters grow. _Mirror Dance_ takes place 10 years after we first saw Miles in his own book, and he has changed in some ways and remained the same in others. He has lived, learned, suffered, and gained. Throughout it all, some aspects of his personality have remained. _Mirror Dance_ also allows his clone Mark to grow and change. He realizes he has his own destiny just as Miles does. Each of the characters are unique and realistic, very deep in their personalities.
Another strength of Bujold's writing is that although it's not from Miles' point of view (it's written in 3rd person), you are just as unsure of what's happening to others as Miles is. Just as Miles can't see what his mother is doing, the reader can't either. So both Miles and the reader wait in suspense to find out the results of some plans, messages, etc. The history of Barrayar and the various planets are also given in snippets throughout the saga. Just as if you were visiting Barrayar from another planet and just beginning to delve into its histories. At first I was frustrated by this style because I wanted to know everything that was happening with all teh characters, and all that had happened with all the planets. Eventually I realized it is better the way Bujold gives you a snippet here or there. Not only does itkeep you coming back for more, it also makes the stories more suspenseful and enjoyable.
All around, a great book. A great starting place in the Vorkosigan saga, or just as a continuation of the books you've already come to love by Bujold. For us poorer folk, it's also wonderful to just pay the price of one book instead of 3!