Review of CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE by Lois McMaster BujoldBaen, November 2012
Sure his cousins Miles Vorkosigan and Emperor Gregor always call him an idiot. That doesn't mean Ivan Vorpatril isn't a patriot... even if he generally tries to make sure he gets the girl. So, when an intelligence agent asks him for a favor, Ivan goes along. It doesn't hurt, of course, that the favor involves a beautiful woman. Ivan doesn't really count on getting shot with a stun gun by the woman's friend, stuck holding off home invaders while the two women have him tied to a chair, or getting in trouble with immigration services for hiding unlawful immigrants. When that happens, he does the natural and noble thing. He marries the woman in an impromtu but definitely legal ceremony, making her fully legal. Now, back to Barrayar where he can arrange a quickie-divorce and get on with his bachelor life.
Ivan's heart might be in the right place, but he has problems with thinking things through. When his new inlaws arrive, complete with plots to re-create their dynasty on Jackson's Whole, Ivan finds himself in the midst of a plot that extends far beyond a quickie-marriage and might threaten the Empire. With his cousin Miles away on assignment and his step-father, the former head of Imperial Security, wanting to play intelligence games but not always connecting mentally, Ivan is in a tight spot.
Author Lois McMaster Bujold (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of SF by Bujold) continues her fabulous Vorkosigan series with an entertaining, if lightweight entry. Unlike the damaged and conflicted Miles, Ivan is a straightforward protagonist thrust into events not his making (Miles generally creates the problems he then deals with). Bujold continues playing with romance themes in this universe and uses the 'marriage of convenience' plot device in this one. There's a lot of silliness in this series--geo-mapping by jumping acrobats, sinking intelligence buildings, pirate treasure and politics by mom. But hey, it's Bujold. I don't think this woman can write a bad book and CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE is definitely not bad. If you're looking for deep angst, you won't find it here but if you're looking for light-hearted adventure with some romance, you'll want to grab this one.
Four StarsReviewed 5/27/13
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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