cover image Penric’s Mission

Penric’s Mission

Lois McMaster Bujold. Subterranean, $25 (264p) ISBN 978-1-59606-844-5

Bujold pushes series protagonist Penric in new directions in his third adventure in her World of the Five Gods (after Penric and the Shaman). In this tale, rather than working directly for the Bastard’s Order, Penric has been seconded to the Duke of Adria and sent in secret to Cedonia to recruit Gen. Adelis Arisaydia to the duke’s service. He is discovered almost immediately upon landing in Patos and consigned to a dungeon that’s designed to be escape-proof. Adelis is also apprehended, blinded by the Cedonian forces, and left in the care of his sister, Nikys Khatai. Penric must make innovative use of the chaotic magic conferred upon him by his demon, Desdemona, in order to escape his cell, heal Adelis, and assist the trio in its flight. Even in combat, he finds ways to use his destructive powers that cause no permanent harm. As the story continues, Bujold also introduces the potential for romance between Penric and Nikys, albeit under the disapproving eye of Adelis. Penric is an unusual hero facing unique dilemmas and his third tale is a pleasure to read. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Dec.)