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Publisher's Summary

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

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • nancy
  • boynton beach, FL, United States
  • 11-16-12

it depends

This book is good if one has read the others in the series. As a stand alone book it has a few failings and even if one knows everyone from Ivan's world the story is not compelling. It is a nice story and it is difficult to write about nice people. The narrator is continuity with the series. His voice is a challenge until it simply melts into the story. I am always surprised by that little magic. I always start not liking it, then getting comfortable, and then trusting it to carry the characters through the obstacles. This book is not the masterpiece A Civil Campaign is to listen to or read. Ivan is not a character with enough difficulty in his nature to create the humor of that book. There is a lot to be said for nice people and Ivan's turn into maturity is comfort to readers as well as his mother.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Terri
  • Colorado
  • 11-16-12

Ivan, you are not an Idiot

Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga ranks up there with my all time favorites, even after listening to the entire series many, many, many times. This book is no exception but a little sad as it sounds more like an ending of this fabulous series but also nice to see closure for not just one but two of the more 'entertaining' characters in the series..

Throughout the previous books you get tid bits about Ivan Vorpatril that start to make you think that he is not quite the idiot everyone says he is. This book shows both sides of his personality plus a lot more.

If you thought Miles' courtship was wild you will love Ivan's.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the entire Vor series of books

Would you listen to Captain Vorpatril's Alliance again? Why?

Yes - I loved the characters, the plots, the historical background that the characters have - McMaster Bujold weaves these amazing stories of which you wish you could take part. Grover Gardener does an excellent job bringing these characters to life. I was so sad to have finished Cryoburn but was elated to have this installment of the series.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters and story development. Never disappointed.

Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

Captain Vorpatril does not disappoint as interpreted by Gardener.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I think I might have listened to it all one sitting. I actually started it on a Friday and was finished with it early Sunday morning.

Any additional comments?

If you haven't listened to any other books in this series, start at the beginning, listen to this and then finish with Cryoburn. It will not disappoint. The world that McMasters Bujold creates is rich and you'll fall in love with the characters warts and all.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Ivan's in the crazy, but this time it's his fault

Miles Vorkosigan casts a very long shadow. I've always liked Ivan, but in previous novels he has never really been given a chance to shine (except for A Civil Campaign, he was brilliant in that). Usually he is just chugging along, doing his 9-5 job (exceptionally well) and flirting with women, until Miles comes barging into his life and drags Ivan along in the wake of his craziness.

This time, Ivan gets dragged from his day-to-day existence and into the crazy again, but instead of Miles it's Byerly Vorrutyer doing the dragging. As poor By is in over his head, however, Ivan is forced to be proactive instead of cruising along in another's wake.

Taj is a bit of a kindred spirit. She was literally the normal, genetically speaking, among her numerous gene-enhanced and talented siblings. She like Ivan was overshadowed by the rest of her family, even though she is quite clever and talented in her own right. Her entire family is rumored to have been killed by a rival Jacksonian house and she and her odd-sister Rish are on the run from bounty hunters.

Ivan rather gallantly marries Taj to save her from deportation, suicide and or bounty hunters (which may sound overly dramatic, but the author had to get Ivan to marry somehow!), which sets off a chain reaction involving Jacksonian contracts, snake wrangling, family politics, Alys being her subtly manipulative self, an ill-advised bet, people smugglers, rumoured Cetagandan treasure, and a gradual sweet romance between Ivan and Taj.

Some of my other favourite bit-players get a chance to shine as well - the back and forth between Ivan and By was fantastic, and Simon Ilyan has a substantial role in his quiet way. Ivan and Taj had some interesting perspectives on some of my other favourites like Simon Ilyan, Alys Vorpatril, Emperor Gregor and of course Miles, which I really enjoyed as it let me see them from another point of view. Cordelia and Aral unfortunately didn't get any screen time, though Ivan does spend some time musing on them (as he does with everyone else) - if you've read Cryoburn you'll know why I'm disappointed.

About the performance, I am not a fan of Grover Gardner's voice. There were places where his acting was a bit off, I don't think his voice suited Ivan's at all and there was very little distinction between some characters. I've given him a 3 because he did a decent job and I still managed to enjoy the book.

I suggest that you read A Civil Campaign before reading Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - not only is A Civil Campaign awesome, but it sets up Alliance very well, and there are events in A Civil Campaign (concerning Byerly and Donno Vorrutyer, hint hint) that will be spoiled if you don't read it first

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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If you enjoy science-fiction you should read this.

Delightful characters set in a facinating vision of the future made so much more riveting for the possibility of something like it actually occurring. Sci-fi at its best.

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Another gem from the author

While this book stands by itself as a wonderful mix of sci fi, comedy, and romance, its true strength is in its cap on a developing character. In Barrayar, we see him born. In subsequent books, we see him start as a comedic relief background character, and develop into an exceptional main character in his own right as he grows up s lot, but while always remaining himself. Some touching moments that have such weight from the momentum of 16 books worth of development.

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"Ivan, you idiot!" provoked into maturity

Bujold dependably employs faults and cracks in fully developed characters to allow their inherent skewed (in Ivan's case, corkscrewed) points of view to shine new light on Vorkorsiverse imminent dangers, always delightfully looming. Bujold occasionally employs the Russian mythic image of the sleigh ride carrying the wedding party, at night, in a snow storm, chased by a ravening wolf pack. The original dilemma poses the question: who shall the riders sacrifice to slow the wolves and save the rest? In the original, it's the bride, of course, and everybody loses, life, joy, honor, even quarry.
In Bujold's sleigh, tho, the all male driver, guards, and husband and passive female bride are transmogrified to self-examining hero types matched equally with spunky heroines with weapons training. The sleigh, snowy night, and wolves remain, but the author introduces complexity to all the elements; keep your eye on the wolves, as even they may gain your sympathy.
You will meet lots of familiar folks from the "Miles" series, not on a walk down memory lane, but in a whole new adventure. I especially enjoyed Simon Illion, retired chief of security, making Puck-like mis-chief.

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Wonderful

I recently reread this and had to say how great it is. Ivan Xav is one of those endearing characters who start out as secondary and simply demand a life of their own and in this tale he matures into everything he promised to be. This is a tale of romance, intrigue, suspense & surprise that will keep you engrossed to the end. It's also a great look at the post ImpSec life of Illyan in the role of Ivan's "umm-Stepfather". Highly recommended.

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loyal fan<br />

Love the book.It was good to see Ivan with his own story.Not such an idiot after all!

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  • John
  • St. Peters, MO, United States
  • 05-17-16

OMG! Civil Campaign has a rival for #1 in series

Would you listen to Captain Vorpatril's Alliance again? Why?

I have. Several times. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this.

What other book might you compare Captain Vorpatril's Alliance to and why?

Civil Campaign. For sheer madcap mayhem with wonderful characters. Excellent.

Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

This is definitely Ivan's book, but Byerly is a close runner up.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Could not put it down. Stayed up very late.

Any additional comments?

I love this series. Great characters. Twisty plots and lots of action.