Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
|Author||Lois McMaster Bujold|
|Audio read by||Grover Gardner|
|Cover artist||Dave Seeley|
|November 6, 2012 (hardcover)
(e-book was sold from June 2012)
|Media type||Print (hardcover), e-book|
|Followed by||Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen|
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is a science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. The action centers on Miles Vorkosigan's cousin Ivan Vorpatril, now a captain, and a Jackson's Whole refugee called Tej. By internal chronology, the book is set a year or so after Diplomatic Immunity (2002), about four years before Cryoburn (2010).
Serving as aide-de-camp to the Chief of Operations of the Barrayaran Imperial Service, Captain Ivan Vorpatril reluctantly lets Imperial Security agent Byerly Vorrutyer (with whom he had uncomfortable dealings in A Civil Campaign) into his flat late one night. Byerly shows Ivan a photo of Tej, a young, attractive woman who is connected somehow with the subjects of his current undercover investigation. By believes that his subjects' interest in the young woman is not friendly, and asks Ivan to strike up an acquaintance with the woman to find out what she is up to, and possibly to supply some protection. Despite his strong misgivings, Ivan agrees to do what he can.
Ivan attempts to pick her up, but she proves immune to his charms. When he shows up at her building (without her giving him the address), she lets him into her apartment, so that her companion Rish, an athletic woman with bright blue skin, can shoot him with a stunner. They tie Ivan to a chair in their living room and go to bed. When the apartment is broken into by two men, Ivan manages to alert the women, who stun the intruders. Since the apartment is now clearly compromised, Ivan offers his flat as a refuge. The two women reluctantly consent.
Later, as misguided Komarran police and immigration officers close in, in order to save himself and his guests from a mixture of false and true charges, Ivan proposes a marriage of convenience to Tej. The impromptu wedding makes Tej a Barrayaran subject, sidetracking charges against her of being an illegal immigrant and Ivan of being her kidnapper.
It turns out that Tej is the youngest daughter of a deposed baron of Jackson's Whole, a planet based on Laissez-faire free market economics where what would be illegal activities elsewhere abound. Her family's House Cordona had been recently taken over by force by a competitor. In the wake of the apparent murder of their entire immediate family, they were trying to avoid bounty hunters sent by the new owners. Now part of the family of a High Vor lord, Tej and Rish travel to Barrayar with Ivan, where the two women can be more secure.
Then, unexpectedly, Tej and Rish are reunited with nearly their entire family. Their relatives have come to Barrayar to acquire the financial resources needed to attempt to take back their House. Tej's grandmother knows of an underground Cetagandan bunker forgotten since the Cetagandan invasion had been defeated a century ago. It is filled with looted treasure, but it turns out that Imperial Security's headquarters has inadvertently been built just across the street from where the bunker is buried. Ivan is drawn into the scheme to dig their way to it (very quietly using an experimental biological organism). When the smuggler the baron had hired to transport the treasure trove proves to be more interested in the bounty on the family, the entire scheme falls apart, literally explosively, and they end up trapped in the bunker. Fortunately, Imperial Security digs them out and Ivan secures his future happiness with Tej.
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance was nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. At Tor.com, Jo Walton described it as "adorable as a whole", "deeply readable and tons of fun", and "also a really remarkably good science fiction novel", comparing it to Georgette Heyer's Cotillion, while at Locus Online, Paul Di Filippo compared it to a Gilbert and Sullivan farce, and to a "lighthearted and absurd" version of the works of C. J. Cherryh, complimenting Bujold's execution in alternating the viewpoint between Ivan and Tej. The SF Site's Steven H Silver, conversely, felt that the alternating viewpoint was not executed as well as it could have been, and that Ivan "makes a better support[ing] character than a primary character"; Silver conceded, however, that Ivan and Tej may "seem less than dynamic merely in comparison to Bujold's more typical protagonists".
- Miles Vorkosigan/Naismith: His Universe and Times. Appendix to Captain Vorpatril's Alliance notes that Ivan (and thus Miles) is 35 in this novel, and 39 in "Cryoburn".
- "2013 Hugo Award Nominations".
- The Ivan Book: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, reviewed by Jo Walton, at Tor.com; published December 4, 2012; retrieved March 7, 2017
- Paul Di Filippo reviews Lois McMaster Bujold, at Locus Online; published December 15, 2012; retrieved March 7, 2017
- CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE, by Lois McMaster Bujold; reviewed by Steven H Silver, at the SF Site; published November 2012; retrieved March 7, 2017
- Bujold, Lois McMaster. "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance-eARC". Baen Books. Retrieved November 18, 2012.