Saturday, 29 December 2018

Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold is chronologically the third novella in the Penric and Desdemona series, but the fourth that I’ve read. It immediately follows Penric and the Shaman. These novellas are set in the World of the Five Gods, but you don’t have to have read the novels to read the novella series, and indeed I haven’t.

Some eight months after the events of Penric and the Shaman, Learned Penric, sorcerer and scholar, travels to Easthome, the capital of the Weald. There he again meets his friends Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl. When the body of a sorceress is found in the woods, Oswyl draws him into another investigation; they must all work together to uncover a mystery mixing magic, murder and the strange realities of Temple demons.

This book follows on fairly directly after Penric and the Shaman (well, apparently, it's eight months later), which was slightly confusing since the last Penric book I read was Penric's Mission set ten years or so later. That said, it more or less stands alone, except that it helps to have read the very first book of the series, Penric and Desdemona, to understand Penric and the world and sticking to chronological order (even if the author doesn't) generally helps.

Anyway, this was an interesting and entertaining read. Penric and his friend Shaman Inglis end up investigating a murder which involves a missing demon and no clear motive. I very much enjoyed following Penric and friends as they stepped through the crime, discussed possibility and eventually (rather dramatically) landed on the final answer. As expected from Bujold, the story was also fairly amusing (although I hold that this series is less amusing than the Vorkosigan books).

Highly recommended for fans of the Penric and Desdemona series and not inaccessible to new readers (though it's not my recommended starting point). I have two more novellas left to read in the series so far, and this book has made me consider buying them immediately (and the only reason I haven't is because I'm waiting for an imminent ebook gift card).

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2017, self-published
Series: Penric and Desdemona book 3 of 6, both publicationly and chronologically speaking
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased from Apple Books

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