I've waited for years for Ivan Vorpatril to get his own story. He's been playing the not-overly-bright clown for long enough, and it's good to see him get a little bit of the attention he has carefully avoided.
As the quietly capable but unambitious staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral, Ivan has been enjoying his bachelor life. Both his cousins, Emperor Gregor and Imperial Auditor Lord Miles Vorkosigan, have cooperated by producing heirs that make Ivan much less a target of interest. All is going smoothly, until Byerly Vorrutyer shows up at the door of his temporary apartment on Komarr, asking him to please go charm and protect a young woman whom Byerly believes may be on the hit list of a crime syndicate he's investigating.
The young woman, Tej Arqua, and her half-sister Rish, are fleeing the capture of their home at Jackson's Whole, and they don't know who, if anyone, from their family has survived. They're hoping their brother who went to Escobar for medical training will still be there and safe--but they've been unable to reach Escobar, and now they're nearly out of resources. They don't find it easy to trust Ivan, but when a hit team catches up with them and Ivan helps dispatch it, they reluctantly accept his offer of temporary shelter in his apartment.
At this point, they think he's just another Barrayaran military officer, and Ivan has no idea what Jacksonian House they're from. But when the local police want to talk to Ivan about the apparent kidnapping of Tej, and the bad guys report Tej to Immigration, they quickly find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and Ivan comes up with the brilliant idea of marrying Tej.
And then, of course, the real complications start.
This is not one of the more serious entries in the series. This is a comic romp, with added light romantic comedy, Barrayaran style. It might not be the best place to start the series, but if you've enjoyed past entries, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is a lot of fun.
Chronologically, it fits between Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn.
I borrowed this book from the library.