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A 2013 Hugo Award Nominee
Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor’s life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.
Tej Arqua and her half-sister and servant Rish are fleeing the violent overthrow of their clan on free-for-all planet Jackson’s Whole. Now it seems Tej may possess a secret of which even she may not be aware—a secret that could corrupt the heart of a highly regarded Barrayaran family and provide the final advantage for the thugs who seek to overthrow Tej’s homeworld. But none of Tej’s formidable adversaries have counted on Ivan Vorpatril. For behind Ivan’s façade of wry and self-effacing humor lies a true and cunning protector who will never leave a distressed lady in the lurch—making the ultimate sacrifice to keep her from harm: the treasured and hard-won freedom from his own fate as a scion of Barrayar.
© 2012 by Lois McMaster Bujold
“This may be one of the most anticipated and long-awaited entries to
Bujold’s acclaimed Vorkosigan saga. For years fans have clamored for Ivan
Vorpatril’s story, and at last Bujold delivers something that will both thrill
the devoted audience and entrance new readers…Longtime readers will love seeing
a new side of Ivan as well as hearing his views on many of the series
characters. New readers can enjoy Ivan’s story on its own but will miss many of
the nuances that add depth and character; best to begin at the beginning.
Essential for all SF collections and a must-read for Bujold and Vorkosigan fans.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Ivan Vorpatril has finally been given his chance to be a protagonist
in this fast-paced and funny romp of a novel. With a well-crafted plot and
engaging characters, this is a good book.”
RT Book Reviews
2 out of 2 (100%) recommend this productWrite a review
Good StorylineMarch 31, 2013Although I have started late with Lois Bujold's titles, this was my first. I thought it was well written and narrated. Grover Gardner, in my opinion, has definitely earned his reputation of being one of the top readers. This title was based on a sub-arc of the Vorkosigan series, being light Sci-Fi, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Ivan's Book at LastNovember 10, 2012I think all Vorkosigan Saga fans have been waiting for Ivan's book. Ivan Vorpatril is cousin to Miles and considered by just about all as somewhat indolent and a little "idiotish". Indolent Ivan may be but he has also been companion to Miles in some of his darkest hours and a staunch support in Miles' most hare- brained and hair- raising schemes. He is far from being an idiot as well even though he does love his comfort.
Ivan thinks his comfort will be safe in his new temporary posting to Komarr as staff officer to Admiral Desplaines. Not only is Miles far away on Barrayar, so is Ivan's formidable mother, Lady Vorpatril. Lady Alys is not at all subtle in her hints and efforts to get him married off to a suitable Vor maiden. It is long past time that he settle down and continue the Vorpatril line. All his comfort begins to disappear when Byerly Vorrutyer, secret agent for Imperial Security makes an appearance at Ivan's door. By has a small request, that Ivan become acquainted with a young woman who has just arrived on Komarr and appears to be in danger. Ivan has never been able to resist a damsel in distress especially a beautiful one like Tej Arqua. What could go wrong----- right?
By the novel's end Ivan has been in trouble with the Komarran authorities, his own superiors and with the people who are trying to either kill or abduct Tej and her gorgeous blue companion Rish. We learn a lot more about the inner workings of the Great (criminal) Houses on lawless Jackson's Whole and even return to favorite places and people on Barrayar. Miles himself, wife Ekaterin and children make an appearance as well as Lady Alys and former ImSec head Simon Illyan.
There is much humor and heart in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. No one writes farce with as light a hand as Bujold and no one can combine it with insightful character portrayal so well. Ivan's book feels very much like a wrap- up of the series, even more so than Cryoburn (2010). I hope not as I am in no way tired of the Vorkosigans and their many worlds. I have always looked forward to seeing what Miles would accomplish in the role of Count especially combining it with being "My Lord Auditor". The Vorkosigan District has too long been without a resident Count while Aral, Cordelia and Miles have been making galactic history. Hopefully the Vorkosigan Saga will continue for a very long time.
Grover Gardner's narration is as always stellar. He has become the voice of the Vorkosigan Sage for me and I never hesitate to purchase a book that he narrates.