Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold – book review

Cover of first edition hardcover release of "Captail Vorpatril's Alliance".
Cover of first edition hardcover release of “Captail Vorpatril’s Alliance”.
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is the fifteenth entry in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. The protagonist is Ivan Vorpatril, the cousin of Miles Vorkosigan (the main character of the series). Known for being a bit of a ladies man, Ivan really hates politics. His current assignment on the planet Komarr is the perfect place for him as there is very little to do with politics there.

Enter Tej and her half-sister and protector Rish. Ivan is asked by his his friend Byerly in Imperial Security to get close to Tej. Byerly believes she is somehow connected to one of his investigations. When Ivan follows Tej and gets kidnapped (albeit briefly), Ivan and Tej have to enter a marriage of convenience in order to protect Tej. Things come to a climax only halfway through the novel, however. The remainder of the story is well done though lacking as much of a climax near the end of the book (where those things tend to be).

I really enjoyed learning more about Ivan and his motivations as he’s been a regular secondary character in several of the more recent books. While Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance lacked the running adventure that always seems to accompany Miles in the other books, it was a nice break. I enjoyed seeing Ivan and Tej learning to deal with the growing romantic feelings between them. I thought that part was strung out a little too long, though. Some of the things they each do near the end of the book to try and bury the feelings seem a bit contrived—but only a bit.

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is definitely not my favorite of Bujold’s books. However, I love how she is able to include mostly-believable romances in science fiction without going into graphic detail like some other authors who shall remain nameless. Bujold is very good at putting mostly-believable characters into everyday (and some not-so-everyday) situations and then letting them figure their way out of them. I think Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is a very good addition to the Vorkosigan universe, and I look forward to Bujold’s next foray into the lives of Miles and friends.

Release Date: November 6, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: 1451638450 (9781451638455)
Publisher: Baen Books

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 80%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (some drinking, some interrogation drug use)
Language: 1 (some expletives)
Nudity: 1 (some bathing scenes)
Sexuality: 2 (some innuendo)
Violence: 3 (some science fiction violence)

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