Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Miles Vorkosigan bk 14. Baen Books, 2012. ISBN 9781451639155.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Locus Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction (2013). Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral, far away from his mother and his volatile cousin, Miles Vorkosigan. That is until he is approached by a Barrayaran intelligence officer to go undercover and protect a very attractive young woman, Tej Arqua, who may be on the hit list of a criminal gang. Ivan is more than happy to help a damsel in distress, particularly one that he finds as attractive as Tej. Danger and adventure follow them both.
This book moves away from Miles Vorkosigan as the main character and instead concentrates on Ivan, who has often appeared as a secondary character in the space opera series. There is more to Ivan than just a pretty face. He is able to outwit the villains, who are all as nasty as usual and solve the mystery without the help of Miles.
Bujold's books are characterised by humour and excitement and a mixture of genres that keep the reader coming back for more as each book is different, but all are characterised with clever writing, smart people, fun and romance. There is always great character development, ideas to make the reader think like themes of loyalty and betrayal and love. The reader discovers all these and more in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance and the importance or necessity of ambition is also subtly examined. In addition the mystery is thrilling and the romance is enthralling.
I first read this as an ARC ebook from Baen, as I couldn't wait for the final copy to come out. I was so pleased that I did as it is another of Bujold's feel good books that the author does so well.
The Miles Vorkosigan series is one that would be enjoyed by senior students who enjoy well written space opera stories.