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Archive for March 5th, 2021

Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars




Lois McMaster’s “Penric and Desdemona” series of novellas represents the kind of fantasy I most enjoy: “small” adventures rather than yet another Grand Quest To Save The World(tm). A mostly ordinary person caught in unusual circumstances faces a problem – now, how does he solve it?

In this series, the main characters are Penric, a minor noble who shares his mind-space with a demon that is itself host to the personalities of all the beings it “co-habited” before. It’s name is “Desdemona.” To learn to deal with his condition, Penric became a sorcerer-priest of “The Bastard,” one of the five gods of Bujold’s setting. Together, Penric and Desdemona’s adventures (so far), involve solving murder mysteries in a fantasy medieval setting. In that, they are a fantasy version of the well-known detective team trope.

The fifth book in the series, but third in the setting’s internal chronology, “Penric’s Fox” wasn’t as satisfying, but still enjoyable. The actual mystery itself wasn’t hard to figure out, the clues being rather “on the nose.” It felt almost as if the purpose was less the mystery than to see familiar characters develop a bit and to set the stage for later stories.

Still the writing is good, the characters enjoyable, and the setting interesting. Recommended for fantasy fans looking for a good, quick read.



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