Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Miles Vorkosigan)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life of a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Ivan, cousin to Imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, Ivan's chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventures have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

Tej Arqua and her half-sister and servant Rish are fleeing the violent overthrow of their clan on free-for-all planet Jackson's Whole. Now it seems Tej may possess a hidden secret of which even she may not be aware. It's a secret that could corrupt the heart of a highly regarded Barayarran family and provide the final advantage for the thugs who seek to overthrow Tej's homeworld.
But none of Tej's formidable adversaries have counted on Ivan Vorpatril. For behind Ivan's façade of wry and self effacing humor lies a true and cunning protector who will never leave a distressed lady in the lurch—up to and including making the ultimate sacrifice to keep her from harm: the treasured and hardwon freedom from his own fate as a scion of Barrayar.

The great thing about the Vorkosigan saga is that there is so much of it and - for me, at least  - it bears re-reading.  I've lost track of the times I've read the books (or listened to the excellent audiobook versions).  This entry, Ivan's first, was delightful - I could barely keep from rushing through it... and now that I have, I'm looking forward to reading it again.  Recommended (of course!).