Lois McMaster Bujold’s 1991 Barrayar is the second Cordelia Vorkosigan novel. I am going to put off working out how to number it in the grander Vorkosigan Saga and Vorkosigan Universe sequences in the hope that nobody will notice if I am inconsistent1.
The plan: Barrayaran Aral marries Betan Cordelia; Aral retires from active duty and the couple lives on their country estate, there to enjoy long, happy lives.
The outcome: Emperor Ezar Vorbarra is dying and has one last task for Aral. It is a weighty task that will burden Aral and Cordelia for years to come.