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Book Note: Lois McMaster Bujold, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

I read this book about 2-Nov-2012. [an error occurred while processing this directive] I've read this book before. The book is copyright 2012. This note was last modified Friday, 02-May-2014 23:46:16 PDT.

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This is book 13 of the "Miles Vorkosigan" series.

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This note contains spoilers for the book.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] I'm still in the process of reading this book.

I believe this is officially released tomorrow, but I got the ebook (not eArc) directly from the Baen Books site some days ago.

Annoyingly, this is set before Cryoburn, with no indication. And there are things in this that should have showed up in Cryoburn and, so far as I can remember, didn't. The one gigantic spoiler at the end of Cryoburn is contradicted here, proving the order. But it would have no actual effect I can figure out. So this is an annoyance to no purpose. I think I've heard this one was conceived first but written and published second, so maybe it just didn't get considered.

However, this is a much better book than Cryoburn. Ivan gets hooked into high ImpSec matters by a relative again—but not the usual one. This time it's Byerly Vorutyer who comes to him in the morning just before he goes to work on his Admiral's inspection tour on Komarr.

Ivan gets stunned by one of the people he's supposed to protect (Jackson's Whole people, some of the remnants of a great House that's fallen), taped to a chair overnight, almost kidnapped by bounty hunters, and nearly arrested by multiple Komarran and Barayaran authorities.

His solution to protect the people By brought him is to marry one of them and hire the other. On Komarr, this gives them a certain level of immunity.

Then, back on Barayar, the rest of the family, including the Baron and Baronne who were confidently believed to be dead, shows up to complicate things.

The main players from the historical cast are Ivan of course, By, Ivan's mother, Simon Ilyan, and Gregor. Ma Kosti cooks some memorable meals off-stage (that are good enough that gene-enhanced trained esthetes find them exciting).

Before we're done, billions of marks of historical artifacts (and priceless papers) from the Cetagandan occupation have been recovered from a hidden bunker almost under ImpSec headquarters, the old headquarters building has sunk almost completely into the ground (mostly intact), and Ivan and Tej decide to stay married.

An excellent return to form for this long-running series. I, at lest, do not require Miles to be a character in these books; Lois can tell fascinating stories about other characters, and she's built a milleau of sufficient complexity to give her scope for many more.

I keep hearing rumors that this is pretty much it for that universe, though. I'd be sad about that, especially since I haven't been finding her fantasy nearly as interesting. But an author's gotta write what she's gotta write.

 


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David Dyer-Bennet