Dec 1 2010 11:25am

Innocent Bystander: Some thoughts on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ivan Vorpatril

Lois McMaster Bujold’s booksIvan Vorpatril is the tall goodlooking cousin of Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of most of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga. Ivan appears in most of the books, usually as a foil to Miles. He’s a very interesting character who starts off looking very simple but develops a fascinating complexity as the books go on. Nobody knows how to do a spearpoint better than Bujold, she takes books and books building her spear so when the point hits you it goes in really deeply.

Spoilers for everything pre-Cryoburn.

All the book-links are to my posts about the books.

Like Miles, we see Ivan before he was born and being born in Barrayar, during the War of Vordarian’s Pretendership. (Or, as it’s recently been renamed, the Pretender’s War.) Unlike Miles, Ivan managed to stay inside his mother’s womb for the fullest possible gestation—more than nine months. His parents were hiding in Vorbarr Sultana and were discovered by the enemy while Lady Alys was in labour. His father was killed, and Lady Alys was saved by Cordelia, Bothari, Drou and Kou. Ivan was delivered by Bothari on Kou’s jacket in a slum house where they all took refuge.

He never knew his father, Lord Padma Vorpatril. We don’t see much of him either, but from what we do see (from Cordelia’s point of view) he seemed an amiable enough Vor aristocrat. We also see that he’s considerably taller than Aral. (Time after time Miles thinks if not for the soltoxin damage he would be as tall as Ivan, never looking at Aral’s height or thinking about this.) Padma’s influence on Ivan was mostly by his death—heroic and stupid, he led the enemy back to Alys when he went out to find a doctor. He was dead, and therefore Alys was focused exclusively on Ivan. His other lingering influence was his blood—Padma’s mother was younger sister to Aral’s mother—they were both Vorbarra princesses. That’s Ivan’s real genetic problem, not his own Vorpatril family, where he doesn’t stand all that high, but his potential Salic bloodlines that put him very close to the Imperium. 

We first see Ivan properly at seventeen, where Miles says it was years before he found out that Ivan wasn’t his middle name. This strongly implies that “That idiot Ivan” was what Aral and Cordelia normally said around the house. Ivan has been typecast as an idiot, and he plays up to it. He wants to be seen as an idiot, not as a potential replacement for Miles, still less Gregor. Aral says that must have made him a very Machiavellian five year old, but five year olds do take on strategies like that. “Do you think of yourself as an innocent bystander?” “God knows I try to be,” sighed Ivan. He tries to slide along, an idiot, not a target, not someone to involve in plots, not someone to assassinate. His career is like that, good enough, regular promotions on time, nothing outstanding. He doesn’t want to be noticed. He’s going to be a target and a threat whatever he does, and his way of dealing with that is to try not to draw any more attention to himself.

The main force in Ivan’s life right up to Memory is his mother, Lady Alys. With no husband, no partners, and no other children, Ivan is most of her focus. As he gets older she becomes the social leader of Vorbarr Sultana, but she can’t let him go. Ivan lives in his own apartment, unlike Miles, but he isn’t detached from his mother until she becomes involved with Illyan. And at that point, almost thirty, he panics. He’s been chasing women with a catch and release policy—he’s been avoiding matrimony, which is what his mother most wants. As soon as she loses interest, he becomes desperate to marry—at the end of Memory and all through A Civil Campaign he’s in a state of romantic panic.

After the exciting events of his birth and escape from the city with his mother and Kou, we don’t know much about his childhood. He spent some time at Vorkosigan Surleau—the incident with Miles and Elena and the weapons cache (“You might never get the chance again to drive one of those old tanks!”) happened when they were children. Apart from that we mostly see his reflexes—firstly when it comes to not hurting Miles, because Miles’s bones could break so easily, and then also the way he’s so easily persuaded by Miles. Miles trusts him—and in Brothers in Arms Miles recognises how much of a brother Ivan is to him. Ivan also grew up with Gregor—five years older, and already Emperor.

Another thing that happened before his first appearance in The Warrior’s Apprentice is the lightflyer races through the Dendarii Gorge with Miles. We know it’s a dangerous place for lightflyers—we know Aral crashed two lightflyers there while in suicidal drinking mode after the Escobar invasion. (I wonder if Miles knows that?) Miles and Ivan take turns trying to make their other one lose their lunch, doing more and more dangerous things, until the point when Miles does it with his eyes closed and Ivan doesn’t challenge again. I think what we learn about Ivan from this is that he’s brave and stupid, though not any more stupid than Miles, and that he does have a sense of self-preservation and it’s much more sensible than Miles’s. If either one of them is an idiot at sixteen flying their lightflyers through that gorge, it isn’t Ivan.

When they were older he tried to put sexual pressure on Elena. We don’t know if this happened at Vorkosigan Surleau or in Vorbarr Sultana when she was on a visit there. This is the least pleasant thing about Ivan, and we know he repeated it in Tau Verde, because she used unarmed combat skills repelling him. We also hear that Alys wants Aral to tell Ivan to stop having sex with the servants—and we don’t know the consensuality status of that sex. It’s iffy even if it’s entirely seduction, because there’s a power imbalance. It’s sexual harassment—and we know from Elena that he doesn’t take a politely expressed “no” as reason to stop. He does seem to grow out of this, mostly.

Offstage, and sometime before Cetaganda, Ivan had an affair with Lady Donna Vorrutyer, who turns up as Lord Dono in A Civil Campaign. Lady Donna was more than ten years older than him and taught him a great deal about sex and women—and we do not see him being obnoxious with women after this. He’s still “gallant” and interested in sex without consequences, but we don’t see anything worse than picking up a student and taking her out for dinner. So maybe all the sexual harrasment was youthful indiscretions. Also—Miles has the advantage of Cordelia and her Betan experience, whereas Ivan only has Alys. He’s going along culturally with what he sees around him. He’s a lout at seventeen, as Aral calls him, he makes girls cry. But he does learn better.

Ivan’s career is exactly as it’s supposed to be—Academy, then a stint in Ops in the Capital, promotion to Lieutenant, a stint in Security at the Embassy on Earth getting some galactic polish, then back to Ops in the Capital. He wants ship duty, of course, but there isn’t enough to go around. The problem with duty in Vorbarr Sultana is that is doesn’t get him away from his mother—and as he says in ACC, he joined the service to get away from his mother. When we see him doing his job—in the “Weatherman” section of The Vor Game and in Brothers in Arms, he’s always doing just enough to be comfortable and competent, never excellent but never awful either. However, when he needs to make a hole in the security system to let Miles back into the Embassy, he does it. Galeni says he’s good at his escort duties.

In Memory, when he’s helping Miles with the problem of Illyan, we see him at his best. He says he’d rather die than be left alone with Simon, and Miles notes that and sends him in, and he goes. And Illyan says, “Ivan, you idiot, what are you doing here?” as part of his malfunctioning memory, and it makes me cry every time because it goes all the way back to The Warrior’s Apprentice and because Ivan isn’t an idiot and he’s grown out of being a lout, he’s brave and he’s gone back into the room. And when Lady Alys gets there, Illyan condoles with her on the loss of Padma, at the time of Ivan’s birth. It wouldn’t have been possible to write that scene without all the long spear of the rest of the series leading to it.

A Civil Campaign is when we first get to see Ivan from inside. Ivan’s feeling strangely directionless both because his mother seems to have lost interest in him (because of the stress of organising the Royal Wedding and her new love life) and because Miles also seems to have stopped needing him. Right up to Memory Miles has needed Ivan. Ivan has always been there. “I’m not your donkey,” Ivan says, but he has been, and he expects to be. When Miles says he’ll manage without, he doesn’t know how to cope. Ivan’s normal position with regard to Miles is refusing and being persuaded. At the climax Miles starts to call him an idiot and Ivan refuses it—Ivan has saved the day.

But Ivan is in emotional freefall. He’s spent his whole life being pushed around by other people’s expectations and trying to get away from that, and now nobody’s expecting anything of him. With Gregor married and having heirs, and the same with Miles, he isn’t in the position he’s always been in of being just three heartbeats from the Imperium. He’s a Captain in Ops, without ship experience, he’s a friend of Gregor’s, and everything that was pushing on him has stopped pushing on him. God knows he’s been trying to be an innocent bystander—what happens when he doesn’t need to try, when he gets what he wants, when nobody is bothering with him? What does he want, for himself, at thirty, if he’s done being an idiot?

I cannot wait for the Ivan book.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and eight novels, most recently Lifelode. She has a ninth novel coming out in January, Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

Cassandra Cookson
1. cass
There is going to be an Ivan book? Really? Tell me more!!!

Sara H
2. LadyBelaine

I love Ivan to widdle-widdle pieces and am on tenterhooks waiting for Ivan book.
Jo Walton
3. bluejo
Cass: There's going to be an Ivan book, and she's been reading from it at signings for Cryoburn. It's set after DI and before Cryoburn, somewhere in that eight year gap. And that's honestly all I know. I haven't heard a title or a date and I don't think it's finished, though she doesn't usually read from things unless they're well along. WANT.
Leigh Butler
4. leighdb
Nice analysis.

I, too, cannot wait for the Ivan book. I was fascinated by his POVs in A Civil Campaign, and loved the way Bujold has throughout the books shown us (rather than told us) who Ivan really is behind the "I'm an idiot" facade.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
You missed some of my favorite Ivan bits
- Vor Game, when Miles finally realizes that Ivan's appearance is odd, notes that Ivan has the family memory - Vorbarra genes derived, I guess - and how can someone collect so much data and not do anything with it.
- Cetaganda where Ivan has the two girls romantically but was given medicine that renders him impotent, so he pleasures them alterantively claiming that it is part of an old Barrayan tradition. Hilarious.
- The scene in Mirror Dance where he goes to party with Mark and gets depressed because he misses Miles being there and making snarky comments about everyone. Touching scene.
- Ivan's complete marital panic in ACC where he keeps asking Koudelka girls to marry him.

I am very curious as well what Ivan will do next and what his future involves. Very curious to see who he will pick for a longtime partner. Looks like the "Vor buds" are out. I'm betting on a Betan. Haven't really seen young Betan women on screen.

Maiane Bakroeva
6. Isilel
The Ivan book!!! Finally!!! That's great. I hope that we see Gregor too - he is such a fascinating and underused character and having him interact primarily with Ivan rather than Miles could be very interesting.

Anyway, IMHO it is a pity that Bujold seems reluctant to drop a real challenge on her stellar Vorkosigan saga cast - something like a WW2 in space, with all of them having to pull their weight and more and preferably in not too predictable ways (i.e. Miles _not_ being the great admiral or secret agent, but Ivan having to be either/both, Gregor somehow getting into the thick of things while Miles has to hold the Imperium together and avoid going nuts in the process, Cordelia coming out of the shadows once again, etc).

Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn were just too "safe", IMHO. And much as I adore Miles, I still feel that for the most part his books were a bit too "comfortable" and nearly always allowed him to find the best possible solution for planet- or galaxy-spanning problems without getting anybody hurt, apart from himself (with which he is pretty much OK, psychologically).
And not only were they the best solutions short-term, but apparently had no long-term reprecussions either - like wars that Miles had meddled in resulting in dictatorships of the victors or other unpleasant realistic consequences of short-term interventions by an outside party.

The Cordelia duology just had that realistic, poignant edge where the protagonists didn't have the luxury of having optimum solutions for their problems and despite all their efforts people still died... It will always have a special place in my heart because of it and I was kind of hoping that Miles et al. might go in similar direction eventually, after growing up a bit. But apparently, it is not to be...
Pamela Adams
7. PamAdams
And the 'Ivan throws the baby (Miles) in the (iced) bathwater' scene. Galeni is worried about Miles' depression and near-catatonia, and Ivan shrugs it off- this is fairly normal Miles to him.

I don't see Ivan with a Betan- what Betan is going to want to live on Barrayar? (other than Cordelia, who after all, was in love) I want to think of him as happily single forever- Uncle Ivan to Miles' growing horde.
Sean Arthur
8. wsean
Yeah, the Miles-ice-bath scene is probably my favorite Ivan moment. It perfectly encapsulates their relationship, and what Ivan is really all about.

I think that was the point where it finally struck home that no, Ivan was not an idiot, that he does truly care for and understand Miles, that all that other stuff is just a facade he desperately tries to keep up.

Can't wait for the Ivan book.
Cassandra Cookson
9. cass
Thank you, Jo, for the update. I will take Ivan anyway I can get him, but I would also like to see the stakes raised a bit. Cyroburn was enjoyable, but rather "meh" in terms of emotional investment.
Rob Munnelly
10. RobMRobM
@6 Isilel (see, I've been getting your handle right finally) - Agree strongly that we need to see higher stakes in a future Vorkosigan book, although DI had threatened and actual harm to both Miles and Bel so there was some skin in the game. I believe we are overdue for a Cetaganda invasion. Let's see Miles, Ivan and Gregor act in a war footing with families and future on the line. Rob
Chuk Goodin
11. Chuk
Wow, that post was almost like reading a whole Ivan novel. :-) Still looking forward to the real thing though.
12. OtterB
RobMRobM mentioned the scene in Mirror Dance where Mark finds Ivan in the gazebo, missing Miles. Ivan came alive for me as more than an amusing sidekick at that moment.

My other favorite Ivan moment is rescuing Lord Dono in ACC, then showing up at the Council of Counts just in time to save the day. And didn't he realize at that point that he'd blown his idiot cover, so to speak, with Gregor?

Glad to hear there's an Ivan book in the works.
13. LAJG
@6 Isilel: I would love to read that book.

Bujold created her Vorkosigan universe so broadly that I suspect that if she ever ran out of ideas she could ask her fans for some, and get a gazillion different requests. The Ivan book would be first on my list (lucky me, that's happening!). I would also love to see a General Piotr book, a book about Miles' kids, or even the adventures of Byerly.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
@12 - You mean you like the "Saving Dono's Privates" scene? I also like the funny bit in ACC when Ivan uses the private number to set up the Dono talk with Gregor and then Gregor sends staff to make sure Ivan is in the room when it goes down the next day.

By the way, the call to Gregor is where Ivan's idiot cover is blown. Very savvy move and Gregor picked up on it.

@7 - childless is not ordinarly an option for the last surviving member of his line, especially when it's not clear that Falco has issue either. Married or not, I'd like to have Ivan find a worthy long-term partner. I can't think of a female character we have seen so far that would suit. If not a Betan (and I agree you put a finger on the big reason my prediction may not work - although no doubt Cordelia or Miles' grandmother could play Baba if a worthy candidate appears), perhaps a Komarran or a Sergeyian. He also did like the Cetagandan ghem ladies....

john mullen
15. johntheirishmongol
Let's face it, if you were going to hang out with someone, it would more likely be Ivan than Miles. Miles would drive you insane pretty quickly.

I can see Ivan falling for a Betan, but not ever consider mayying one. I think he does think hes ready for marraige. He just needs someone who will standup to his mom.

I don't have any issue with the last couple of plots. Just because you don't have running space battles, doesn't mean there wasn't a big plot underneath.

I think it might be interesting to have Ivan have to stretch and actually be stuck with taking charge for a change. And then be given more responsibility. And find he enjoys being grown up. Then he will be ready for a wife.
16. Anarra
I personally doubt that Cordelia normally said "that idiot, Ivan" around the house. She seems to me to be too Betan for that. Aral, maybe.

But I read that more as a bit of Miles hyperbole than that he literally thought "idiot" was Ivan's actual name.

I'm glad to hear there is an Ivan book! I hope it's more engaging that Cryoburn. I liked it, but it was meh for me, too (alas!).

I've wanted more of Ivan since Ceteganda. He certainly came across as an idiot only on the suface for me from then on. It'd be interesting to see Uncle Ivan to both Miles and Gregor's kids. But I'd really like to see more of him interacting with Miles. Those scenes are so much fun to read.
17. EmmaPease
I also am looking forward to an Ivan book though Ivan will, I suspect, have to be dragged into it by the author.

One question I have and I don't think it has been answered is what was Alys's birth family? Was she born a Vorpatril? For that matter what was Gregor's mother, Kareen's, birth family? I very much doubt that the heir to the throne was married to anyone except the highest Vor so she should have left close kin who are Counts or married to Counts (barring her relatives choosing the wrong side during the Pretendership).
18. MindElemental
Very enjoyable post and discussion! I've been looking forward to an Ivan novel for years, so paradoxically, I'm taking the confirmation that we will get one in my stride.

Ivan is much more of a jerk in The Warrior's Apprentice than in the later books, with feeling up Elena being the most glaring offence. Jo, you've suggested in-character explanations -- that he grew up, that Donna was a positive influence -- but I always chalked it up to "The Author Had A Better Idea". After all, LMB retconned other aspects of Ivan's backstory post-TWA; it makes sense that she might have toned down his personality as well.
Jo Walton
19. bluejo
Emma Pease: Princess Kareen's relatives are mentioned, but not named, in ACC -- one of her maternal relatives is proposed (in the green silk room!) to go with Cordelia and Alys to view Laisa. Other than that, all I can say is that I too would very much like to know. I'm sure Alys was a Vor, but other than that... do you think she might marry Illyan? (In a class of his own.) And if so, do you think Gregor might make him Vor? It would be like the Duke of Marlborough. On the other hand, she could be like Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill's mother) who insisted on keeping her title even when widowed and remarried to a commoner. Or she could be like Lady Diana Cooper, daughter of a Duke, married to a commoner, who insisted on keeping her own courtesy title of Lady Diana when her commoner husband became a Viscount and she should have become Lady Norwich. She viewed it as a demotion for her, because it was a newly created title, and her father was the 12th Duke of Rutland. I could absolutely see Alys with this argument, remaining Lady Alys Illyan. But it's hard to imagine her not being Vor.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
Jo - Vorkosigan Wiki says Alys was raised Vor and has two sisters, but didn't give a supporting cite. Rob
Nick Eden
21. NickPheas
I too would very much like an Ivan book.

@6. Agree entirely about the last couple of books playing things too safe. Which is alas also true of the Sharing Knife series. All of them just a bit too cosy.

Perhaps Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls were too cathartic?
Maiane Bakroeva
22. Isilel
I may be confused, but wasn't it mentioned in Barrayar that Ezar selected Kareen because she had no immediate family to protest her treatment by Serg? Oh, and I'd kill for general Piotr -Prince Xav books! End of the Time of Isolation, the Cetagandan occupation, Mad Yuri - there is so much rich material there. But IIRC Bujold said that it was all too dark for her to write about... Sigh.
Jo Walton
23. bluejo
Isilel: She said that it would be unkind of us to wish her to be in a bad enough frame of mind to want to write it. So naturally, I don't, fascinating thought it would be.
Pamela Adams
24. PamAdams
Wasn't Nikki watching a vid series about Prince Xav? Perhaps we could get copies.........
25. Joel Polowin
Ivan has grown up a lot since his early appearances, but his attitude towards women — even in A Civil Campaign — grates on me. He doesn't care much for cats but "He had to admit, a young animal of almost any kind made an excellent prop; he'd noted the way Madame Vorsoisson's cool expression had softened as he'd noodled with the furry little verminoid." And "Ivan was expert in the uses of a lightflyer for breaking down psychological barriers and creating the proper mood. A few gentle swoops and you could almost always evoke some of those cute little shrieks where the young lady clung closer, her chest rising and falling as her breath came faster through parted and increasingly-kissable lips."

I'm looking forward to the Ivan book; I'd like to see more of him from the inside. I'd like to like him better; I'd like to see him dealing with women without that kind of manipulation in mind.
26. Sylvia_rachel
An Ivan book? WANT WANT WANT!
David Dyer-Bennet
27. dd-b
OtterB@12, you've pegged something I was going to point out.

Jo, your argument for Ivan being in free fall sounds good, but in ACC Gregor notices him doing something smart, Ivan notices Gregor noticing, and there's reference to "the reward for doing a good job is a harder job". So I think Ivan is in danger of losing his low profile, or at least of having to fight to keep it. (The emotional side still stands, so he might have to deal with his own emotional issues while also doing a serious and harder job.)

Anyway...I guess we'll find out.

The Miles books put Miles in various levels of danger, personal or family or, sometimes, the existence of his entire society. There's more variety there than most authors do for one character, and it makes sense -- few people spend their whole lives right on the front lines of big issues.

I did still end up feeling that Cryoburn was TOO light. It seems to me that, once Miles gets back to the Embassy (before that he's legitimately in personal danger -- though in fact nothing happens to threaten him in the book), there's very little at stake for him.
Maiane Bakroeva
28. Isilel
Bluejo @23:

She said that it would be unkind of us to wish her to be in a bad enough frame of mind to want to write it.

Well, art requires sacrifices! Much as I adore the Vorkosigan saga; I feel that it could have been so much more if Bujold had been more willing to get out of her comfort zone after the Cordelia duology where she did manage it.

Not every book, of course - I love the variety of Vorkosigan books as much as anybody and The Civil Campaign is among my favorites, along with the dark books like Mirror Dance, Memory, the Cordelia duology, etc. But some.

You can't always have painless solutions for planet and galaxy-wide problems, you can't really get to the bottom of the characters without putting them into truly trying situations, which don't always resolve bloodlessly.

IMHO the 5-Gods books suffer from it too.
29. 9watcher
Re Ivan's future missus: I could see him falling arse-over-teakettle for someone completely unexpected -- a strong woman from the Dendarii hills who's taken advantage of Cordelia's educational scholarships and, oh, started her own successful company. Completely inappropriate, and not at all what Ivan would ever think he could want -- except that a woman like that, despite her low birth status, would fulfill the old saying that a man marries his mother (no Dendarii hill-folk jokes, folks!) -- and she'd likely boss him and everybody else around just as Lady Alys does, and Ivan probably wouldn't even realize it. I expect he'd then have three or four kids, mostly girls, and he'd swing between being proud papa and super-conservative da ("I know all about young men, young lady; I was one!"). Or he could marry a galactic from one of the embassies on Barrayar. Whoever, I just think it would be lovely karma if it turns out to be someone who turns his assumptions and feelings upside down -- and because he is smart (really), he'll eventually have the sense to cut loose his Vor-guy pride for real love -- which, by the way, he's now seen modelled by Aral and Cordelia, Miles and Ekaterin, Mark and Kareen, Delia and Duv, Olivia and Dono, presumably Martya and Enrique, and, oh, yes, the Emperor of Barrayar and the un-Vorish (but brilliant) Empress Laisa -- and Lady Alys and Illyan. As long as he doesn't have to be the first, Ivan could be content to be unusual.

That's what I'd love to see, anyway.
Alison Sinclair
30. alixsin
I'd forgive Ivan a lot because of the way Miles feels about him. If Ivan - tall, sensitive, athletic, in many ways the Barrayaran ideal - had had any meanness in him, he could have made a hypersensitive, energetically overcompensating young Miles miserable. He's an mix of lout and softie (kitten-tree?), with the lout ascendent in his dealings with women because he's become accustomed to such formidable ones that the soft-heartedness doesn't usually come into play
31. William Barnett-Lewis
An insanely great series of articles. Thank you.

I started with the "Mountains" in Analog in another lifetime, it seems. Still here we are.

I often think that perhaps a direction to take Ivan's romances would be with a Betan Herm. The impact on Vor society would be almost as intense as that caused by Cordiellia.

But what I really want in an Ivan novel? His POV, only, in a full novel set between Barrayar and AWA. I want that damn tank story - from his POV! :D

Alas, this is way too far after the posting for Ms. Vor to hear me plead.

32. Mike Schilling
Miles always assumes that, soltoxin aside, he'd look like Ivan, ignoring the fact that Padma and Alys are simply much better-looking than Aral and Cordelia.
33. deb_ditt
Today at WorldCon, Lois said that Ivan's book is currently at 17 chapters but she didn't give an expected end date. She did say that her current book contracts were for books of 100,000 words so it may be a nice long one.
34. A.Beth
A side-note on CryoBurn... For Miles, the stakes are not as low as they might be -- though for a chunk of it, he's at least "roughing it" -- but what about the kid who gets a third of the narration? Really, I think CryoBurn is very much about that kid, that demi-orphan, and the stakes are indeed high: family, home, and hope.

I would love to see a flashback to Lady Donna, setting Ivan-the-Lout straight about little things like "consent does not mean giving in because you have been *pestering* them."
35. DC Winters
Wonderful analysis.

Small nitpick: Ivan's harrassment of the female servants characterized as a "youthful indiscretions" was not "innocent" from those servants' point of view! Sexual assault is NOT a "youthful indescretion." I am glad the Ivan had the opportunity to meet a women who taught him better - and took advantage of it in his future interactions with women.
36. Tehanu
I love, love, LOVE Ivan! And after A Civil Campaign I've been waiting (seems like forever) to see him finally get (a) center stage and (b) a real partner/wife/love. And maybe (c) a chance to boss Miles around for a change. One of the things I love so much about the whole Vorkosigan saga is how the characters grow and change ... so I can't wait to see how Ivan develops. And who he finds who will love him, I hope.
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
Important update - From Bujold's blog from earlier this month - first draft of the "Ivan Book" is done. (She refers to it as the "Bus Draft" - i.e., if she's hit by a bus, the book could still be published.) Going through line editing process now. Still doesn't have a title but ideas are being bandied about. Expected publication date - November 2012. Excellent!!!!

38. The Ragi
Available for pre-order:

"Captain Vorpatril's Alliance"

Rob Munnelly
39. RobMRobM
First 5 chapters of an advance reader copy of CVA are available free on line. Looks enjoyable so far - not just Ivan by Byerly as well.
Paul Howard
40. DrakBibliophile
I've read the complete EARC and it's a Fun Read.
Pamela Adams
41. PamAdams
Okay, the Ivan book has been read, and I CANNOT stop smiling!
Sara H
42. LadyBelaine
I just read this book!

It made my Thanksgiving truly a happy one!
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
@43 Jo - I was hoping you were going to say that. I'm more than halfway through and enjoying it so far.
Ursula L
45. Ursula
Holding my breath for your review. This book seems particularly suited to a good gossip about all the characters.
Rob Munnelly
46. RobMRobM
Mini review - Loved the first half, only liked the second half. In total, enjoyable read but not up to top echelon Bujold.
Deana Whitney
47. Braid_Tug
@ 46, agree that it's not her best, but a very fun one.
Shows us that a board Simon is a bad thing.

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