After fourteen books as a supporting character to Miles, Ivan finally gets his own entry in Lois McMaster Bujold’s long-running space-opera Verkosigan saga.
While Ivan’s life has never been quite as dramatic as his cousin, that all quickly changes when he agrees to do a favor for his old friend, By. All he had to do is protect a beautiful woman and her half sister from various enemies that would do them harm. But before he can turn around twice, Ivan is protecting two political fugitives via a hasty marriage of convenience and dealing not only with the political fallout from that but also the personal fallout from him mother and various friends back home.
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is a blend of space opera and romantic comedy that reminded me a bit of one of my favorite entries in this long running series A Civil Campaign. Ivan and Ted meet, get married and then proceed to get to know each other and fall in love. The Ivan/Tej storyline feels like it comes from the pages of your standard bodice-ripper romance novel, though thankfully Bujold allows readers to use their imagination to fill in certain aspects. (Translation: there are no long, drawn out, over the top love scenes here involving unique descriptions of parts of the anatomy. Though I’m fairly certain that fan-fic writers are hard at work even as we speak to fill in those gaps).
Thankfully, there’s enough politics and space opera thrown in so that novel doesn’t veer too far off field and into the romantic comedy arena too much. It’s nice to see Ivan get a chance to step out of the shadow of his cousin and after spending 400 plus pages with him here, I wouldn’t protest if Bujold decided to give us more another entry with Ivan front and center.