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17 November 2013

Baen softcover, published September 2013.

I pounced on this as soon as it arrived. I’ve always loved the Vorkosigan books and didn’t expect this to be any exception. The books and short stories cover a very wide range of plot. Some have been extremely dark with ethical dilemmas involved, others have been light and frothy with a Regency feel to them. But in all of this series the characters are so well-drawn and so interesting, that they stand up to read after read after read. So that adding a new book from this series to my shelves doesn’t just mean one book, in effect it means a number of them since I’ll probably read it half a dozen times more before I die – at least I hope to live long enough to do so.

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is one of the lighter variety in theVorkosigan series but satisfying for all of that. Ivan (known for much of his early life to his wider family as ‘that idiot Ivan) is currently working for Imperial Security when another agent asks for his help. Ivan helps – to find himself stunned, trussed, and left in a chair all night until kidnappers after the two women who did this to him arrive through a window. Ivan warns the women who then stun the intruders and, Ivan, gathering the women up with him flees into the night heading for his own flat where the immigration service promptly arrives to charge the women with illegal entry, sided by the police who wish to charge Ivan with kidnapping . In something of a panic and to protect the women if not himself, Ivan promptly enacts a Barrayaran marriage with Tej, one of the two women, and claims her companion, Rish, as his new wife’s maid/companion. At which point events become still more confused and life for Ivan far more hectic and I spent a fair amount of my reading time with this book wearing a wide smile. I have enjoyed every single book in this series and hope that it continues. Some of the books are longer than others but even those in the Vorkosigan saga that are longer hold up solidly, unlike some other books at the 160-200,000 word level that feel padded and tend to sag in places. I strongly recommend this series, they mix military with regency, with a romance here and there (never standard) with mystery, family conflict, affairs on the stages of a number of worlds, and characters that you know if you met them would swing between engaging you and utterly infuriating you. I look forward to the next installment!

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