is a major event in Lois McMaster Bujold
's sci-fi series, the Vorkosigan Saga
The War of Vordarian's Pretendership occurred in the novel Barrayar
. Emperor Ezar
had just died; his son Crown Prince Serg
had died earlier in the Escobar War
, leaving only Ezar's grandson Gregor Vorbarra
alive. Thus four-year-old Gregor became Emperor, but was still in his minority. Ezar appointed Admiral Lord Aral Vorkosigan
to be Gregor's Imperial Regent and guardian.
Vordarian The Pretender
Count Vidal Vordarian
, pretender to the throne of Barrayar
. After Aral's appointment, Vordarian amassed support and forces and staged a coup in the capital of Vorbarr Sultana
. Imperial Security
had learned of the plot, and was preparing to arrest Vordarian, but he learned of their plans, and kicked off his coup a month ahead of his original schedule.
Vordarian invaded the Imperial Residence and managed to capture Princess Kareen, Gregor's mother. Although mortally wounded, ImpSec chief Captain Negri got Gregor out of the capital and took him to Vorkosigan Surleau, the Vorkosigan summer home where the Lord Regent was recuperating from an earlier assassination attempt that had been orchestrated by Vordarian.
Eventually, Vordarian declared himself Prime Minister and Regent for Kareen, and then later Emperor. Claiming that Vorkosigan had killed Gregor in an effort to usurp the Imperium, Vordarian worked to appeal to the people that he was a rightful Emperor.
Meanwhile, Vorkosigan kept Gregor alive in the Dendarii Mountains by having his father, General Count Piotr Vorkosigan and his wife, Lady Cordelia Vorkosigan hide the boy emperor.
Because her unborn son, Miles Vorkosigan
, was still in a captured uterine replicator in Vordarian's control, Cordelia
launched an unsanctioned rescue mission to retrieve her son. The rescue of her son Miles, his cousin Ivan Vorpatril
, and Alys Vorpatril
succeeds. During the rescue, Princess Kareen is killed and one wing of the Imperial Residence burns to the ground. Vordarian is executed (via decapitation) by Seargeant Bothari, using Lt. Koudelka's swordstick, on Cordelia's orders. Vordarian's head is brought covertly back to Tanery Base, where it is revealed to the loyalist forces as well as several leaders of Vordarian's forces who were present for negotiations.
Gregor lived to become the reigning Emperor. Miles Vorkosigan survived. Nobody ever messed with Cordelia Vorkosigan, least of all her husband. Vordarian had died by beheading. Princess Kareen was dead. The Imperial residence was rebuilt.