CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE
With Miles Vorkosigan safely offstage for most of the book, 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 that nonetheless doesn’t rise to the level of earlier entries in the series, such as Memory or A Civil Campaign. Newcomers to the series won’t recognize the significance of much of what happens, but longtime readers will.
Ivan Vorpatril has been posted to Komarr as an aide to a Barrayaran admiral as he undertakes the annual inspection of the fleet. Ivan is enjoying his bachelor existence far from the machinations of the Barrayaran political system when his old pal, Byerly Vorrutyer, happens by. Byerly asks Ivan to keep an eye on a pretty woman who may be next on the hit list of a criminal syndicate from Jackson’s Whole. Next thing Ivan knows, he’s on the run with Tej and her half-sister/servant Rish. One of Ivan’s strengths is the way everyone underestimates him; he’ll figure out a way to save Tej and Rish, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. (BAEN, Nov., 432 pp., $25.00)