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Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga) Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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For non fans, I'm not sure how it would go, but probably 4 stars. Would people who don't know Ivan understand the complaint of Ivan's boss? The boss asked why Ivan's mother asked him about Ivan's personal life instead of asking Ivan. Ivan responded, "Experience, maybe."
There are gems all the way through the book for fans and non fans. It is mentioned that on Barrayar people were subjects, not citizens. Someone notes that the emperor is the only one on Barrayar that isn't a subject and wonders if that makes him an object. Humor abounds and all sorts of characters from previous novels make cameo appearances. Bujold sensibly keeps Cordelia, Miles, and Mark largely out of the picture, because they tend to dominate. The plethora of minor characters would be a problem for a new reader of the series, but are enjoyable to people who've met them before.
Bujold had a difficult task in this book. She has a hero that is not an overly ambitious man, and she made him sympathetic and enjoyable. Ivan is shown at his best. He is brave, loyal and chivalrous. He comes through when he needs to. He's not as bright as Miles or Cordelia, but he isn't stupid.
I would not advise people who haven't read Bujold before to start here, although her writing has never been better. If you haven't read the Vorkosigan series, there are a number of good books waiting for you.
Lord Ivan Xav Vorpatril has nearly managed that several times in his short life. The earliest such occasion occurred about an hour before he was born, during an attempt on the throne of Barrayar in which his mother and father were caught by forces loyal to the pretender. His father died while friends tried to rescue them; his mother managed to escape with them and give birth to Ivan while in hiding afterwards.
So, given that early pre-natal conditioning as it were, Ivan has spent most of his life trying to avoid politics or attracting too much attention to himself while attempting to live a comfortable life. Not an easy task for someone potentially in line for the throne, and made even less easy by his manic cousin Miles Vorkosigan, who has an absolute genius for attracting chaos in his wake - and dragging Ivan into it. And it doesn't help that Ivan's determination to avoid living up to all of his potential too visibly is made all the more conspicuous by contrast with the friends and family around him.
By age 34, Ivan has managed to work himself into a fairly comfortable position: a taste for good food and drink, comfortable lodgings, and a job as Captain and aide to a high ranking admiral in the Barrayarran armed forces where he serves ably. A certain amount of status, a job challenging enough to be interesting without the headaches of high rank, enough leisure and status to attract a fair number of bedmates on a regular basis, and distance from his mother, who is still waiting for Ivan to get on with his life. True, most of Ivan's old girlfiends seem to have all gotten married. Even his cousin Miles has managed to settle down and start raising a family.Read more ›
The last 30 or so pages are an absolute riot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The pace varies a lot, some slow, some fast. entertaining and occasionally very, very funny.Published 12 hours ago by Margaret A. Wood
Loved this view into Ivan Vorpatril as more than a sidekick to Miles. It adds a depth than has been hinted at but not totally developed until this book. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Virginia L. Page
I gave this book five stars because it was well written, suspenseful, and humorous. Captain Vorpatril finally grows up, gets married, and her family leads him into intrigue.Published 16 days ago by Michael A. Starsheen
I loved this book, it was probably the most humorous of the Vorkosigan series, and has a focus on Ivan instead of Miles or Mark.Published 18 days ago by Faris B
Oh, this was so intensely satisfying! After so many books seeing Ivan getting lucky with the ladies and then getting so unlucky with getting a wife, I was pleased to realize his... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Dione Basseri