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Captain Vorpatril's Alliance    by Lois McMaster Bujold order for
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed Lois McMaster Bujold's outstanding Vorkosigan Saga but wondered where she was going to take it after Imperial Auditor Miles settled down with his wife Ekaterin and growing young family. I had my answer in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance.

The seemingly unimaginative and unambitious lady's man, Ivan Vorpatril, has often been dragged willy nilly into his cousin Miles' hair-raising adventures. Now he's about to enjoy some all of his own, and it's another cousin (Byerly Vorrutyer) who snags him this time.

Ivan has accompanied Admiral Desplains to the planet Komarr as his aide-de-camp, and is actually a very good one. By cultivates the appearance of a dissolute aristocrat and mingles among his peers as an informer for Imperial Security. All he wants from Ivan is that he 'pick up a girl' and keep her safe.

But the lovely Tej is not that easy to attract. And when Ivan follows her home, her exotic odd-sister Rish stuns him - the young women he was trying to rescue kidnap Ivan! Nevertheless he does manage to act the hero and takes them home with him. When officials catch up with all of them, Ivan is forced into drastic action.

And that act has consequences that take them all to Barrayar. First Ivan's family connections stir the pot. Then, when Tej's relatives show up with a treasure hunting agenda (the location is hilarious), it boils over, forcing Ivan to dig up and display levels of ingenuity he didn't know he had in him.

As always, Lois McMaster Bujold delivers high entertainment, space opera style. If you're already a Vorkosigan Saga fan, you'll devour Captain Vorpatril's Alliance in one long gulp. If not, start at the beginning of this long running series; you have a rare treat in store.

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