marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote in bookish,

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

I've been wanting this book a good while.  She can do a nice caper story with Miles, but the thing about character arcs is that they have beginnings, middles, and ends.  Ivan, it seemed to me, had more scope for development.

Ivan Vorpatril's assignment as an aide has brought him to Komarr, and there, Byerly Vorrutyer -- an undercover security guy and dissolute liver -- corners him and asks him to help protect a woman who's connected to a case he's working on.  An attempt to connect to her by mailing something where she works shows that Tej's new to the planet; she doesn't react to the address.  Or to his attempt to pick her up.  He tries again, which results in his being stunned by another woman who was staying with her.  A bright blue woman.

They tie him up in a chair, which is fortunate, because once the crooks they think he is show up, he manages to distract and delay them long enough for the women to wake up and deal with them. 

And that is the point at which it really starts to snowball.  Involving an enormous caper, a secret bunker from the days of the Cetagandian occupation, an agent being debriefed by being whipped off under arrest, a stepfather/stepson relationship, an unpleasant reminder of one of Ivan's least favorite moments. . . .

There was one point -- the scene with Falco -- where I thought Ivan and Tej were being railroaded.  It's one thing to have a plot where you know what's going to happen and want to watch it unfold.  It's another when it seems that the author's hand is forcing them that way.  But that was only one scene.


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