I admit up front that I cannot be in any way objective about a Lois book. I love her, and I love everything she writes. She could write beatnik Vogon poetry about office supplies and I would buy it in hardback. She has great characters, great stories, and great writing. She is my favorite by a mile, and a new Lois book is like Christmas.
So, obviously, I loved this book. It’s the latest in the Miles Vorkosigan series, but this one’s about his cousin, Ivan Vorpatril. There’s a lot of background, so I’m not sure how confusing it would be if you’d never read a Vorkosigan book, but Ivan’s adventure could still stand on its own as far as the story and the people.
Ivan is a captain in the military on the planet Barrayar. On a trip off-planet with his admiral boss, he is reluctantly dragged into a snafu where he is trying to protect a lady fugitive, and she thinks he’s one of the assassins on her trail. Ivan ends up stunned and tied to a chair, but still does his best to charm Tej, who is scared and on the run, far from her home planet. The task Ivan believed would be temporary becomes increasingly complicated as he tries to protect Tej from his own military as well as her powerful family’s powerful enemies.
We’ve got political intrigue, criminals with hearts of gold, plain ol’ bad-guy criminals, lords and ladies, spies, genetically modified supporting characters, romance, drama, interplanetary shenanigans, and lots of callbacks to the absolutely glorious world of Barrayar for those who love to spend time there. It’s great to see Ivan in a starring role, even though I missed Miles.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you should read the Miles books. If you’re a fan of fantasy, you should read the Chalion series, as well as the Dag and Fawn books. If you’re a fan of good books in general, you should read everything.