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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying for more-
I'm a Bujold addict so needed to have the reviews as soon as I could: and of course nowadays that means borrowing from the US website (why the delay with the WWW....) so I'm cross posting, no apologies but perhaps a mini-spoiler alert:

Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral...
Published on 3 Nov. 2012 by C Richards

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written, but below Bujold's usual level
Another in Bujolds science fiction series, focusing of Ivan Vorpatril, cousin of Miles, nephew of Cordelia and Aral. The prose is excellent as always, and the characters are far more amusing and sympathetic than most characters in science fiction. Like many of the best sci fi authors, Bujold uses the science fiction elements to tell stories about people, rather than about...
Published on 4 Feb. 2013 by Emmett


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying for more-, 3 Nov. 2012
By 
C Richards "Graaf" (uk) - See all my reviews
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I'm a Bujold addict so needed to have the reviews as soon as I could: and of course nowadays that means borrowing from the US website (why the delay with the WWW....) so I'm cross posting, no apologies but perhaps a mini-spoiler alert:

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. But when his attempt to ask the woman out ends up with her handmaiden knocking him out and tying him to a chair, Ivan realizes that something very bad is going on. It quickly becomes clear that there is only one way Ivan can save himself and his charge but that is but a step into many sub plots and competitors' agendas.

The 14th book (19th story) in Lois McMaster Bujold's most excellent 'Vorkosigan' series. (start with the 1st in series, Omnibus 'Cordelia's Honor' if you're new to this). Chronologically pre-Cryoburn, but not interconnecting much and just as readable slightly out of order. Definitely BEST read as part of the set.

Missing some of the truly incisive and perceptive writing, really intelligent dialogue and razor edge plot pacing of earlier books of the series, it is still a worthy addition. (Main characters from previous books appear only as cameos).

Enjoy...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ivan-you-idiot or maybe not?, 26 Nov. 2012
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How wonderful to spend time with Ivan without him being overshadowed by Miles. Miles is a great character but finding Ivan's hidden depths has been most enjoyable. This is a great addition to the Vorkosigan Saga and I hope Ms Bujold writes more books showing the supporting cast in greater detail.

As ever there are some wonderful pieces of humour & drama in this book (and the two are not mutually exclusive) with the usual lively pace drawing you on to the end. "I'll just finish this chapter......".

If you are a fan of the series this is a must have on your bookshelf or e-reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another manic Bujold fairground ride, 17 Nov. 2012
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Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
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The plot: Ivan Vorpatril is doing duty on Komarr, a colony planet, when an ImpSec agent asks for help - a help that neatly synches with Ivan's style in rescuing beautiful young women. Only, this time the women shoot him... and so starts another of those mad headlong Komarr/Barrayar/Jackson's Whole stories, with (and I quote) "almost-stolen treasure, crime lords, off-world invasion, secret bombings, ugly kidnappings of beautiful women, and much, much more..."

My opinion: most enjoyable - not her *very* best, I think, but that is after just one readthrough - a bit unfair, that, since I have read Cordelia's honor at least six times, and the others in the wonderful Vorkosigan saga many times as well. Bujold is up to her usual tricks, both stylistic and story-wise: you are being seduced into a romantic mood when the next bomb explodes all over the plot, literally or otherwise, and throws it all into glorious disarray... with Ivan, as usual, muttering "*not* my fault... " I was taken aback in seeing a reference about consulting Aral on Sergyar, but in the timeline stat at the end of the book I see this (CVA) slots in just *before* Cryoburn. More to come, we all fervently hope!
P.S. I almost forgot - Baen has provided, as usual, a ghastly cover (back cover, the front is standard SF fare) with really *really* bad interpretations of what the main personages look like - you have been warned!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed myself sick!, 7 Nov. 2012
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...and then I fell of my chair. I like regular Bujold but it's nice to have a central character, indeed more than one, who doesn't want anything more than a quiet life and would really like their hidden depths to remain hidden. Watching Ivan being dragged kicking and screaming into intrigue, matrimony and love (in that order) deal with his relatives (both old and new) and accidentally doing some major property damage (at one point I ran around my living room laughing like a maniac) was the most fun I've had with a book for ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly funny adventure for cousin Ivan from the Vorkosigan saga, 27 Feb. 2013
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
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This latest novel in the "Miles Vorkosigan" universe provides at long last a story centred on Miles' cousin, and often his reluctant sidekick, Ivan Vorpatril.

Although at the time of writing (Feb 2013) this is the sixteenth and most recently published book in the series it is chronologically the fifteenth and penultimate story: it is set around a year after the conclusion of "Diplomatic Immunity" and about four years prior to "Cryoburn SC (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures)."

Captain Lord Ivan Xav Vorpatril came over, most unfairly, as a bit dumb during most of the previous books of the series because they were told from the perspective of his brilliant cousin Miles. Throughout his life he has never had the opportunity to forget how dangerous politics can be: his father was gunned down on the day he was born, (for the story of the "Vordarian Pretendership," an attempted coup in which Ivan's father was killed, see "Barrayar)" with the result that Ivan's birthday has also included a commemoration of his murdered dad. For the third of a century following his birth, until his cousin Emperor Gregor married in "A Civil Campaign (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures)" and started producing children, Ivan was never more than three heartbeats away from the throne of Barrayar, and therefore had to be constantly watched by Imperial Security. In self defence he has developed a persona designed to stop him looking like a threat, keeping his nose as clean as possible while avoiding any distinction which might get him promoted above the rank of Captain, building an (inaccurate) reputation for having no great intelligence and a (largely accurate) one as a ladies' man.

At the start of this book Ivan is just coming up to his thirty-fifth birthday and has accompanied his present boss, the Admiral who is Chief of Operations for the Barrayaran Navy, to the Komarr system. There is a knock on the door of the apartment where Ivan is staying: Byerly, (By), a distant relative who works for Imperial Security, has a favour to ask. The criminals By is trying to catch are taking an interest in a beautiful woman who may know something about them or may need protecting from them. Can Ivan try to make friends with her, protect her and find out what if anything she knows?

Unfortunately By has not told Ivan the full story: this assignment is both a lot more complex and a lot more dangerous than Ivan realises - getting through this one may require the sort of quick reactions and outragous tactics more often associated with Cousin Miles ...

Up there with "A civil campaign" as one of the most hysterically funny books in a very amusing series: this book had me laughing out loud more than once.

At its best, as it is in this volume, the Vorkosigan SF saga is one of the most amusing comedy science fiction series ever written.
It currently consists of ten full length Miles Vorkosigan novels, five other novels including this one set in the same fictional Universe, several novellas and short stories, and "The Vorkosigan Companion".

All these novels and stories can stand on their own. But several of them, of which this is one, will give you something extra if you have read the books set earlier in the same timeline.

In particular, you will get more out of this book if you have previously read "Barrayar," "Cetaganda (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures)" and "A Civil Campaign."

The full sequence of books in this Universe is as follows. The tale of the bioengineered quaddies and how Leo Graf helped them free themselves from slavery, which happened about 235 years before this book, is given in

"Falling Free"

The story of the romance between Miles' parents is given in the two books:

"Shards of Honour"
"Barrayar"

and these two books have also been published together in one volume as "Cordelia's Honor."

The Miles Vorkosigan adventures are:

"The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan)"
"The Vor Game"
"Borders of Infinity" which is a set of 3 linked novellas
"Cetaganda"
"Brothers in Arms"
"Mirror Dance"
"Memory"
"Komarr"
"A Civil Campaign"
"Diplomatic Immunity"
"Cryoburn"

And finally this book, "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance" set between "Diplomatic Immunity" and "Cryoburn" is one of two novels in which the central character is one of Miles' friends. The other is a solo adventure for Miles' friend Elli Quinn, in which she meets a doctor from a planet whose population consists entirely of gay men. That story is called

"Ethan of Athos"

All the books in the Vorkosigan Universe prior to this one and "Cryoburn" have been republished in six compilation volumes, each of which contains two or three of the individual novels or novellas.

I have already mentioned "Cordelia's Honour" and the other compilation volumes are

"Young Miles"
"Miles Errant"
"Miles, Mystery and Mayhem"
"Miles in Love" and
"Miles, Mutants and Microbes."

I enjoyed all these books and strongly recommend them, just be careful if you are trying to complete the set that you don't accidentally duplicate the books you own by purchasing a compilation volume consisting of books you already have!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always wanted a book about Ivan..., 16 Nov. 2012
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...and here it is! As usual this is a charming and witty blend of adventure and romance centred around well developed and well loved characters. It's one of those books where people give you weird looks if you read it in public because you can't help falling over helplessly with laughter. Like many of the later Barrayar books, it's worth reading because of the rich and detailed character history which the series has built up over so many years - if you haven't read the previous books you'd be missing a lot of context. Lois McMaster Bujold's writing is fluid, observant, entertaining, and full of gentle ironic humour and absurd twists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a book for Ivan Fans - Hysterically Funny, 17 Jan. 2013
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pufferfish (UK) - See all my reviews
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Finally, a book about Ivan Vorpatril, the often side kick to Miles Vorkosigan. Set between the books Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn, this latest offering from Lois McMaster Bujold is a real treat for fans of the Vorkosigan series and is up to Ms Bujold's extremely high standards. This is Ivans story, and though in his youth he has been called an idiot and overshadowed my his over-over-over achieving and somewhat manic cousin Miles, Ivan comes through as a real hero and captures a damsel in distress en route. If you are new to the Vorkosigan series (it is worth reading some of the earlier books first to get more of the background of the characters - starting with either Cordelia's Honor or the Warrior's Apprentice depending on where you want to begin in the time line of the Vorkosigan Saga). The major characters from the Vorkosigan series do appear, but this time as supporting characters. This book had me in hysterics as I read further and further into the book, as Ivan gets himself in deeper and deeper trouble, and into a situation that could possible be even OTT for Miles. I would also add that if you are interested in some of the other secondary characters from the Vorkosigan series, there is plenty of involvement from Lady Alys and also Simon Illyan and you get to see another side to them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars When Ivan met Tej, 8 Dec. 2014
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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A new novel in the 'Vorkosigan saga' series of military science fiction novels. This is not a jumping on point for new readers, who should start with Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga Book 2).

Those familiar with the series, read on.

This book runs for five hundred and seventy three pages. It's divided into twenty five chapters plus an epilogue.

In the timeline of the series - an updated version of which is at the back - it takes place before 'Cryoburn' the most recent Miles novel.

But this one isn't about Miles. It's about his cousin Ivan. Often a somewhat humorous supporting character throughout the books, this time he gets his own story.

During which his work for the military is interrupted when a security agent asks him to investigate a lady called Tej. Who seems to be hiding something. Not least a blue skinned travelling companion called Rish. Ivan has a way with the ladies, so this should be an easy little task for him.

But he gets far more than he bargained for. His life, and several others, will never be the same again...

Lois McMaster Bujold has always excelled at characterisation, and does it again here. Making Ivan really shine when he finally gets time in the spotlight. She does make him different from Miles, with a lot of humour. A way with women. And an innate decency that makes him very likeable.

The narrative does switch between him and Tej as viewpoint characters. She is a sympathetic creation also, especially when her past comes to light. Rish is a very good supporting character, complementing them nicely.

You might see where this is going from the off, but the journey is a lot of fun. The two lead characters do interact and grow and change and develop quite superbly. There are moments that will put a smile on your face. And when a writer makes you care that much about their characters, that's a mark of a very good writer.

But this is a very long book, and it's not the most eventful. There's relatively no jeopardy past the initial third, and one major plot development. Although the character development does hook you and the look at things about Ivan's world that you might not have already known, plus some familiar characters from slightly new angles are all very good, this does meander a little in the middle.

A plot development at the midway point does add more to the actual story, but despite a brief bit of mystery, there's little jeopardy and only a quick bit of action from then on.

None of which hampers the characters story which really is the main thrust of it.

All of which does stop it from being five star material. But there is still a lot to like here, and fans of the series should enjoy it very much.

It does have some moments of a very mild adult nature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So much fun!, 31 July 2013
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When first I read this book, I thought "There's no point writing a review - there must be thousands"; that's not quite true - there's just under 300 on Amazon (UK and US) at the time of writing.
After I lost count of how many times I had re-read it, and enjoyed so doing, I thought I ought to put something down. The previous volume that I have read so much was "A Civil Campaign".
Before I started so to write this, I re-read almost all the previous books - chasing cross-references to this one - and enjoyed that too. In particular, the reader can see elements of the development of Ivan as a character - something other reviewers seem to have forgotten - think of the scene where Ivan gets drunk at the Emperor's Birthday (in the middle of "Mirror Dance") when he believes he's just moved from number 3 to number 2 in the order of heirs to the Empire.
The main point about this book is that the author quite clearly enjoyed writing it, enjoyed embedding all those cross-references and enjoyed creating the sort of extended similes that I first saw in "Paladin of Souls".
When I was a teenager I used to read "The Hobbit" and all three volumes of "The Lord of the Rings" during each school vacation; I shall obviously have to start doing that with the Vorkosigan series. It's worth the effort. I'd forgotten how well-written the earlier volumes were as well.
This book may have been published out of chronological order with "Cryoburn" but Bujold has done this before: "Cetaganda" was published almost-simultaneously with "Memory" - but in that case I believe it was to provide the reason for Miles having the Cetagandan "Order of Merit" award. There's no such reason here. I think this was written 'just for fun'. It may yet spark off further volumes. Don't forget that this series has previously spanned two main characters - Cordelia and Miles - now Ivan gets a turn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 24 Dec. 2014
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Mrs Bujold knows she has brought Miles Vorkoshigan's character to its limits, so she tries a new approach by writing a book in the same universe but from a totally different angle, that of Mile's cousin, Ivan Vorpatril. Miles makes of course a charming cameo appearance, but the book doesn't really need him. It can stand on its own as one of the writer's best. Skillfully as always, Mrs Bujolds weaves an intriguing plot, fleshes out believable characters with depth and their own peculiar motivations, gives us a good insight on Jackson's Whole and the strange mores of its inhabitants, scatters hilarious episodes all around and manages to tie several loose ends from other books, all at once.
If you are a fun of hers and have read some of the other Vor- books, then this is a must read.
If not, it is still a good read and a definite page-turner, but the uninitiated will miss several insider's jokes and would do better to try one of her earlier books first.
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