Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold

Ivan has grown up, and when not crouched in Miles's shadow, his heroism and versatility show through for a fun romp through the Barrayar we've come to know and love.

The book really starts when Byerley--no-goodnik cousin to Dono, Richars, Miles, Ivan, and half the High Vor--shows up to recruit Ivan's assistance in keeping a damsel-in-distress safe. Simple enough, except that Ivan's legendary womanizing abilities are not up to the task of getting on said damsel's good side. Stunners are fired, ImpSec is called in, and we end up back on the surface of Barrayar, dodging Lady Alys, Jackson's Whole assassins and Cetagandan Haut-wives.

Oh, and Simon, retired chief of ImpSec and Ivan's um-stepfather is bored. Bored.

The book is well worth the buy. But know what? The * incandescence* of the Vorkosigans is missing. Ivan realizes his potential, sure. But after Cordelia and Aral and Miles and Ethan, who held the fate of planets in the palms of their hands, and dealt with shattered circumstances with such profundity, Ivan just doesn't...measure up. Unfair to Ivan, unfair to Bujold even, perhaps, but much as Simon holds his um-stepson in high regard, he would never call him a Great Man.

Also, not enough Byerley.

But I would seriously recommend this book and the rest of Bujold's work to anybody - if you haven't read it, you don't know what you're missing.