Audie Award Winner, Science Fiction, 2014
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.
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 secret of which even she may not be aware - a secret that could corrupt the heart of a highly regarded Barrayaran 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 facade of wry and self-effacing humor lies a true and cunning protector who will never leave a distressed lady in the lurch - making the ultimate sacrifice to keep her from harm: the treasured and hard-won freedom from his own fate as a scion of Barrayar.
Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most honored writers of science fiction and fantasy, having won five Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award for her significant contributions to science fiction.
©2012 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2012 Blackstone Audio
Haven't read the print version but it would be hard to believe the print could do as good a job of conveying the warmth and humor which Grover Gardner puts into this book. His ability as a narrator has caused me to buy more than one bookwhich I would otherwise have avoided.
The scene where everybody has been rescued from the lab / vault and the Impsec building is sinking into the ground has got to be the high point of the novel. However, it was a close call since Vorpatril's wedding is a very close runner up.
Grover Gardner is probably one of the best narrators ever. His capacity to express warmth without turning a passage maudlin and to convey dry humor and irony are unsurpassed by anyone.
The fall and rise of the last great Vor bachelor.
I've enjoyed reading each of this series as Lois McMaster Bujoldd carried it from a somewhat whacky, teenish tale of an insecure young man to a complex universe with fully developed characters who act in accordance with their history and experiences. She almost makes me believe the old saw about the best form of government being a benevolent dictator. Her humor tends toward the dry and ironic and it is plentiful. I'm not sure I would have gotten hooked on this series if it had not been for Grover Gardner but his narration and Lois McMaster Bujold's excellent writing have me impatient for more books in this series. I've even resorted to rereading some of the books which I already have.
Funny, engrossing, satisfying
Ivan, of course, the protagonist, but the supporting cast was wonderfully creative and well realized, and it was fun to see By again, especially in a more fully formed character.
I love being read to, and he does a wonderful job of voicing multiple characters
If you haven't read or listened to Bujold's Vorkosegan series I envy you, because you can enjoy them for the first time, while I am on my 2nd, 3rd or even 4th or 5th time (and I still love the series). Ivan has ben a supporting player since the 2nd book (?second half of the first book, depending on how you look at it), and it was fun to see him as the subject of his own story. Like his mother, many of us wondered if he would ever get married--or meet his match--this was a very satisfying end to that story arc.
The story continues on Barryar! (or how ever you spell it) This is a great addition to the series, even with little Miles in it.
Listening to their relationship gor.
He brings the characters to live with his inflection, tone and knowledge of the characters.
Great book. I hope Lois stays in good health, because I want to read a lot more.
Lois McMaster Bujold puts words together with a true eye to human nabure and a wry humor. Grover Gardner enacts the scenes keeping those features.
The plots almost do not matter in this series. The characters and relationships are so well developed that you really get absorbed in the story. Bravo for finding a solid entry point for more stories in this universe.
continues the vorkosigan saga with existing cast and still manages to have the suspense and story all come together
The twists and turns within the plot. Excellent.
In this book Ivan finally shines rather than being "bloody Ivan".
We've always seen Mile's Cousin as a dashing but somewhat unambitious, at times bumbling adjunct character to the series. This captivating and amusing tale shows a whole new side to his character and some surprising gifts as well.
As per usual, Lois is spot on the issue. Her writing is tight and interesting. However, in her desire to stay true to Vorpatril's character, she ends up sacrifising the humour and devilish twists that a Miles narrative offered.
In fact, the funniest scene was when Miles makes a brief appearance, and Lois's dialogue blossoms, so to speak. But, straight away, that sword is back in its scabard, as the Vorpatril narrative takes over, and we are back at Mr Straightlace and a unique situation.
In Cetaganda, Vorpatril came off as the opposite to Miles, where Miles was the studious/hard working spy and Vorpatril as the seducer and debonair type. Sadly, that element isn't explored. Instead, Vorpatril becomes a staid and boring character who realises he's becoming a tired old bachelor.
Tej/Tez tries to cover up the blankness of the Vorpatril's narrative, but again, all I can say in despair is, "Miles, Miles, where are you!?"
Finally Ivan's turn!
Byerly Vorrutyer is just such a baaaad boy...and so much fun. Since his introduction into this series he's been such an enigma, and almost as much trouble as Miles. Byerly takes on more personality here and we learn just a taste of his history. I certaiinly hope we get to read further of his adventures in Jacksonian Space with his blue cherie amor.
The tunnel scene at the end. The GEM grandmother and her family are just too entertaining in their frenzied search for riches. Then again, Ivan's first meeting with his Princess and her sister, all the way through Byerly showing up at the girls' apartment is pretty entertaining also.
Keystone Cops of Barrayar!
As with every one of the Vorkosigan books, this is another winner. It will never be on my top 5 list (or top 10, either) as the story line lacks something I can't quite define. Cetaganda is my least favorite and Shards, Barrayar, Memory, Komarr and Civil Campaign are probably my top 5. Then again, that list could change when I listen to some of the older ones again. The one thing I didn't get here was that it felt as though Aral was still living on Sergyar even though he passed away at the end of Cryoburn (another good installment).
As I commented above, the story wasn't a 5 star as it lacked some of the traditional surprise elements I have come to expect in Ms. Lois' Vorkosigan books. The storyline here was a bit too expected in my opinion (as in "I saw that one coming"). Very unusual for this author. So only 4 stars here for the story. But then almost every one of h installments has been a 5 star listen for me....very unusual. Perhaps this is because I've been anticipating this so long it couldn't live up to my vaunted expectations?
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