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Kenneth B. Strumpf

Manlius, NY USA | Member Since 2003

  • 4 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014

  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan 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, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles."
    "Ivan at last!"

    Finally, Lois has written a book for those of us who wanted to learn more about Ivan Vorpatril, one of her more amusing and interesting side characters. As the book opens, Ivan is on Komarr as the aide to an important admiral. In his mid-30's he's still the bachelor playboy he has always been but is perhaps just a bit tired of it all. One day he is approached by his sort-of friend and covert ImpSec operative Byerly with a simple request: Romance a beautiful woman. What could be easier for a guy like Ivan? But very quickly this simple request goes amusingly, and dangerously, sideways. Soon Ivan finds himself at the center of kidnapping plots and galactic politics as he must struggle to save both the fair damsel in distress and his career. At the same time his personal life is upended in ways he never expected.

    And through it all Ivan is revealed as a far more three-dimensional character than in previous books. No longer just Miles' foil, he is revealed as highly competent, kind, resourceful and able to think quickly under pressure. While I was at first just a little skeptical that an Ivan story would be able to carry an entire book I'm happy to report that my concerns were unfounded as Lois comes through once again for her readers.

    A word is in order about Grover Gardner's masterful reading. He's read the entire series and really made it his own. He's kept all the voices consistent throughout the series and does a terrific job with female characters, something that other male readers sometimes find difficult. Bravo Grover!

    The book ends with a note by the author concerning the order in which the books should be read. This, coupled with the fact that her characters are now comfortably domesticated leads me to believe that she has wrapped up the Vorkosigan saga with this novel. If so, thank you Lois for a great ride and for leaving us these wonderful books to be reread and savored.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • METAtropolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
    • Narrated By Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

    james says: "Not a wasted credit"
    "Tedious and preachy"

    I was extremely disappointed in this collection. The first story made no sense at all. The next two were dull and implausible. And then I gave up. Maybe the final two are modern masterpieces but I just don't have the patience to find out. The first three stories lacked compelling characters or believable situations and I grew tired of dialogue that sounded more like people lecturing each other about sustainability and carbon footprints. There's plenty of great science fiction on Audible, don't waste your credit on this bore.

    21 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • A Civil Campaign: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lois McMaster Bujold
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner

    Lord Miles Vorkosigan has a problem that all his new power can't solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But, as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won't do, go to subterfuge.

    Ethan M. says: "Comedy and a Romp with Characters You Love"
    "Grover Gardner brings this to life"

    I had listened to several of the novels in the series and when I finished Komarr it was the chronologically last one available at Audible. So I purchased A Civil Campaign in paperback. For some reason I was unable to get through it and put it down after around 50 pages. Then, when it finally was offered by Audible I downloaded it and listened with total enjoyment. Apparently for me at least these novels are better heard than read. I think that Grover Gardner's masterful reading style really brings out the humor in these novels. He also does a very fine job with the female characters, not often easy for a male reader. Bravo Lois and Grover!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Scaramouche

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Rafael Sabatini
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    With swordfights and romance, adventure and treachery set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this is the book that made Sabatini famous. Andre-Louis Moreau has good prospects as a young lawyer, but an unfair duel with the ruthlessly cruel Count de La Tour d'Azyr leaves Andre-Louis' best friend dead and Andre-Louis himself a fugitive from the King's justice. While incognito, he becomes both a wildly popular actor and a firebrand of the Revolution.

    Tariq Anis says: "Mesmerizing"
    "Great writer, good reader"

    Scaramouche has always been one of my favorite novels. It has everything good escape fiction should have- great characters, an interesting setting, twists and turns, ups and downs and surprises. I've probably read the book three or four times but it all seemed fresh again with this reading. The reader does a very good job with most of the characters and keeps the action moving very fast. Several times I sat in my car continuing to listen (I listen to books in my car via my Ipod) even though I had arrived at my destination- always a mark of a good audiobook. I only have one complaint. Some of the older female characters were made to seem a bit too pompous and ridiculous through the reading.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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