A picture of Dr. Barlow and Count Volger in an April Fools' picture posted on Scott Westerfeld's blog

You know what I've always thought, sir? That this war's been as good as over since they wound up on the same side!

Bauer, Goliath

The relationship of Dr. Barlow and Count Volger is only hinted at in the novels, but is very popular in fandom, where it is known as Varlow.

Dr. Barlow is married, and her feelings for Volger do not seem to be romantic.

In the seriesEdit

Count Volger and Dr. Barlow first meet in Leviathan when Volger comes to discuss a hostage exchange to release Alek with the Leviathan's crew. Dr. Barlow offers to be taken to the castle as the Clankers' hostage. Though they do not interact much in this book, Alek thinks that the two are very alike, because they both pretend not to speak the language of the other's group when they are hostages in the hopes of getting more information.

In Behemoth, Alek comes back from Istanbul to find that Count Volger has been recieving newspapers from Dr. Barlow, and that the two have decided to share information. Volger calls her "a most interesting woman." The idea of Dr. Barlow and Count Volger working together seems to disturb Alek.

In Goliath, Dr. Barlow and Volger continue their practice of sharing information. At the end of the novel, Dr. Barlow looks to give the count the periodicals she has saved for him. Volger's face softens when he sees her, and Alek, Klopp, Bauer, and Hoffman observe them talking in a corner. Klopp, Bauer, and Hoffman note that they are "an odd pair" and are "quite suited to each other."

In the Bonus Goliath Chapter, Volger and Dr. Barlow dance with each other at the Zoological Society fancy dress party.