Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

A Hugo award nominee. A book which is part of the Vorkosigan series, but has the usual main character Miles Vorgosigan in only a very superficial role. The main protagonist of the book is Miles’s cousin Ivan Vorpatril, who is in a fairly high place in the line of possible successors to the throne of Barrayar, but has always tried to keep a low profile and to avoid anything, which would make him appear as any sort of competitor of that title. He has lived as a middle level officer of the Barrayar military and has usually had very active bachelor life. The book starts when a friend of his, Imperial Security agent Byerly Vorrutyer asks him to protect a beautiful woman who might be in some sort of danger. About 24 hours later he finds himself to be a married man due to some very special circumstances. And he is going to face some explaining to do for his mother and other relatives. And that’s the starting point of the novel – there are many twists along the way, especially after the in-laws arrive.

This was a fun book! Much better than the Bujolds previous Hugo nominee two years ago – which was about the worst of her books I have read. This was about the best one. It was very entertaining, funny and witty with something for everyone (in a good way): romance, action and comedy all in good balance. The book also works very well as a single story even though it is a part of a ling series. As matter of fact, it might even be a good starting point for the whole series, as the Barrayar and Barrayarian culture and society are seen mainly from the point of view of someone who isn’t familiar with it. After I have read three of the nominees in the novel series this is my leading candidate by far.
422 pp.

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