cover image Mira’s Last Dance

Mira’s Last Dance

Lois McMaster Bujold. Subterranean, $25 (160p) ISBN 978-1-59606-854-4

Bujold’s Shakespearean fantasy novella returns to the story arc that began in Penric’s Mission, continuing the flight of Temple sorcerer Penric, ex-general Adelis Arisaydia, and Adelis’s sister, Nikys Khatai, from Imperial Cedonian forces. In the town of Sosie, Penric bargains with a local madam, Zihre, offering his magical talents for healing and vermin removal in exchange for a safe haven. So that he may travel incognito, Penric assumes the role of the courtesan Mira of Adria, one of the 10 human personalities, all female, that inhabit his demon companion, Desdemona. When Gen. Egin Chadro, commander of the local garrison, takes a fancy to Mira, it is she—not Penric or Desdemona—who offers the only chance of safety to the three fugitives. While Bujold’s entire series has contemplated gender identity issues, this is the first time that one of the female personalities of Penric’s demon has come fully to the fore. Bujold uses this transformation to help her characters glow and concludes this segment with the promise of more to come. Series fans and fantasy readers who seek well-drawn characters will love this tale. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary. (July)