In 1986 the first of Lois McMaster Bujold’s 14 space opera novels about the Vorkosigan family of Barrayar was published. November 2012 sees the publication of what appears may be the last novel in that universe, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.
Thanks to the canny ePublishing of Baen Books, the Advance Reader’s Copy of the novel is available now and I couldn’t help but buy it.
The series has followed the adventures and misadventures of Miles Vorkosigan, in this novel Miles is a background character as his cousin Ivan Vorpatril moves from being a secondary character to take the limelight.
We finds Ivan skimming through life and holding down a military desk job while his family and friends are following more high profile careers, however Ivan’s routine is distrupted when he comes to the aid of a woman in distress and comes up with a clever idea to fix the problem. (No spoilers, there’s much more information that in the blurb).
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is a delightful, gentle and genteel close to the series. It is littered with references to other novels in the series and provides witty asides and comments about what was happening in them from the point of view of secondary characters including Ivan, his mother, Simon Illyan and various Impsec characters. As someone who has read the previous novels, this felt like a loving, cheerful farewell to the series, rather like an amusing epilogue appearing in the closing credits of a wonderful movie.
Strongly recommended to anyone who has read the previous novels, if you liked A Civil Campaign and some of the farcical humour through the books you’ll love this. Chronologically it occurs before Cryoburn.
NB. For new readers, this book would be best read after absorbing some of Ms Bujold’s other works as, while the story is amusing, many of the deadpan jokes won’t make much sense if you haven’t read the other novels – so I recommend you read some of the earlier novels before this one.
Bibliography – http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/lois-mcmaster-bujold/