Captain Vorpatril's Alliance Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is the latest science fiction novel (as of March 2014) in the Vorkosigan Saga. Unlike most of the other books, it doesn't feature Miles Vorkosigan, but rather his cousin, Ivan Vorpatril.
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Stationed on the planet Komarr, Captain Vorpatril reluctantly agrees to Imperial Security undercover agent Byerly Vorrutyer's request that he find out who a suspicious young woman is and what she may be up to. However, Tej and her female companion Rish mistake him for an assassin and take him captive. He gains their confidence when he distracts two kidnappers who break into their apartment late that night, allowing Rish to stun the intruders.

He hides them in his apartment, and they exchange information. The women are from Jackson's Whole, a lawless planet where the major and minor Houses (corporations cum personal fiefdoms) make Deals. Their House recently suffered an extremely hostile takeover, and they suspect that their parents (who ran House Cordonah) and the rest of their family are dead. When the Komarran authorities show up (to arrest him for "kidnapping" Tej), Ivan improvises and has Tej marry him so that they can't take her into custody without going through much red tape.

Later, the entire Cordonah family, less one turncoat who betrayed them, shows up safe and sound. The matriarch knows of a hidden underground facility full of looted treasure, a leftover from the Cetagandan occupation of Ivan's home planet of Barrayar generations before. They need money to finance the taking back of their House. The facility, unfortunately, now lies underneath the headquarters of Barrayaran Imperial Security, so they have to release an untested biotech organism to dig a tunnel to it very quietly.

The treasure turns out to be extremely valuable, but the smuggler Tej's father had hired to cart it away decides he wants the bounty offered for the Cordonahs instead. In the ensuing firefight, the entrance collapses, trapping the family and Ivan in the facility. Fortunately, the fighting is so noisy that Imperial Security is alerted, and they are dug out. The Cordonahs are allowed to leave with a 10% finder's fee (still a large sum). Tej decides to stay married to Ivan, and they are "exiled" to a diplomatic post on a nice, peaceful planet far, far away.
Best part of story, including ending: For some reason, Bujold has forgotten that a good story needs a potent villain. This is a serious flaw, not only here, but also in her previous Vorkosigan novel, Cryoburn. Much of the time, the biggest threat Ivan faces is disapproving in-laws.

Best scene in story: With all the digging around, the Imperial Security headquarters building sinks into the ground, much to everyone's amazement.

Opinion about the main character: Ivan's a feckless individual who has spent his life trying to avoid attracting attention. That's not good for the protagonist of a novel.

The review of this Book prepared by J. Lee a Level 10 Peregrine Falcon scholar

Chapter Analysis of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Tech./$$$/Info hunt    -   Yes Stealing/recovering/destroying    -   money/gems/treasure Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   humans in a futuristic society Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Lois McMaster Bujold Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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