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This brief tale is an enjoyable listen if you're a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's wonderful character-driven fantasy, and if you've already read her magnificent "Curse of Chalion."
"Penric's Demon" takes place in the same world as "Chalion"--the World of the Five Gods--although it's set 100 years earlier and in a different country. And in this time and place, the world seems less dark, the gods more benevolent, and the demons less destructive than in "Chalion." Penric, the rather naive younger son of a minor noble family in the sheep-herding, cheese-producing hinterlands, is on his way to his betrothal ceremony when he stops to help a dying old woman. But no good deed goes unpunished. The dying woman is a "learned divine" (priestess) and (oops!) a sorceress, so instead of becoming betrothed, Penric winds up hosting the dead divine's demon, "Desdemona." Grover Gardner, is, as always, a terrific narrator.
To sneak in a review of another book, I strongly suggest reading "The Curse of Chalion" before "Penric" (or any other Five Gods tale). The spellbinding magic and theology of this world is much better served by the slow, subtle, and magnificent unfolding of its mysteries in "Chalion" (and its sequel, "Paladin of Souls") than by the balder and more straightforward presentation in this prequel novella. In fact, Penric inspired me to listen to "Curse of Chalion" again--I first read it two years ago--and I've been even more impressed the second time around. That's saying something, since I was blown away the first time. "Chalion" recently made both Amazon's and Goodreads' "Top 100 SF/Fantasy Reads," and deservedly so; I'd put it in the top 25. It's a superb, beautiful tale of heartbreak and courage, suffering and magic, betrayal and redemption.
I'm not sure whether I heard correctly, and I don't have the printed books to check, but to me Penric's family name sounded suspiciously similar to the family name of two of the major characters in "Curse of Chalion." Makes me wonder if Bujold might have a "bridge" book in the works. Anything she publishes is cause for celebration, so that or any other book from her would be good news!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
She can't write them fast enough. Always a treat! Waiting for the next with great eagerness.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
great story but a bit short loved the characters bought all three as love Lois bujold great setting
This was simply too short It could esily have been a little longer story .
0 of 1 people found this review helpful