cover image The Orphans of Raspay

The Orphans of Raspay

Lois McMaster Bujold. Subterranean, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59606-972-5

Bujold’s seventh addition to her fantasy World of the Five Gods series (after The Prisoner of Limnos) offers a pleasant little side quest for Penric, a Temple sorcerer, and Desdemona, the chaos demon living inside him. Sent overseas on a problem-solving mission by the archdivine of Orbas, Pen is captured by pirates and hurled into their noxious brig, where he finds two young sisters from Raspay, Lencia and Seuka Corva. The girls were kidnapped while searching for their absentee father and are to be ransomed or sold at the pirates’ port. Their mother’s dead and their father’s in the wind, so Pen and Desdemona take responsibility for their safety. Bujold creates a series of amusing misadventures as Pen, Desdemona, and the girls try to escape the pirates and the slave brokers with the girls, interspersed with reflections on his marital situation, and inherited memories from Des’s previous human hosts. Pen’s knack for “borrowing trouble” (as Desdemona puts it) and the respect he has for those less fortunate are both as endearing as ever. Series fans will be gratified by this gentle but diverting episode.(July)