When a mysterious plague breaks out in the army fort guarding Vilnoc, the port capital of the duchy of Orbas, Temple sorcerer Penric and his demon Desdemona are called upon by General Arisaydia to resurrect Penric’s medical skills and solve its lethal riddle. In the grueling days that follow, Pen will find that even his magic is not enough to meet the challenges without help from dedicated new colleagues—and the god of mischance.
“The Physicians of Vilnoc” is the eighth Penric & Desdemona novella, following about a year after the events of “The Orphans of Raspay”.
“Bujold’s delightful latest tale of Penric … is another winner in Bujold’s already strong series.”
- Publisher’s Weekly *Starred Review* on “The Prisoner of Limnos”
“Series fans and fantasy readers who seek well-drawn characters will love this tale.”
- Publisher’s Weekly on “Mira’s Last Dance”
“Best-selling author Bujold follows her Hugo-nominated “Penric and the Shaman” (2017) with another adventure featuring the sorcerer Penric and his resident 200-year-old chaos demon, Desdemona. ... Series fans will be delighted with this tale, which begs for continuation.”
- Booklist on “Penric's Mission”
“Set in the ‘World of The Five Gods’ (The Curse of Chalion; Paladin of Souls; The Hallowed Hunt), Bujold’s novella takes series fans back to a well-known realm in an exciting new adventure. The varied voices, especially between Pen and Desdemona, add a fun slant to a serious tale."
- Library Journal on “Penric and the Shaman”
“Bujold follows ‘Penric’s Demon’ with another brief tale set in her World of the Five Gods, this time combining supernatural sleuthing with finely drawn characters and a panoply of emotions... This is a wonderful expansion of her World of the Five Gods."
- Publisher’s Weekly *Starred Review* on “Penric and the Shaman”
“Fans of the Chalion tales will again be drawn in by the intrigue of the religious dynamics, the fantasy aspects of the "magic" and the complexity of character that Bujold is so masterful at creating.”
- RT Book Reviews on “Penric’s Demon”
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children. She began writing with the aim of professional publication in 1982. She wrote three novels in three years; in October of 1985, all three sold to Baen Books, launching her career. Bujold went on to write many other books for Baen, mostly featuring her popular character Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, his family, friends, and enemies. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Her fantasy from Eos includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife series. In 2020, Bujold received the Damon Knight Grand Master Memorial Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. www.dendarii.com
The timely, well-told ninth fantasy in Bujold's Penric and Desdemona series (after The Orphans of Raspay) returns to the World of the Five Gods where temple sorcerer Penric and chaos demon Desdemona, who cohabitate Penric's body, deal with a plague heretofore unknown in the Duchy of Orbas. The disease first sweeps through the fort where Penric's brother-in-law, General Adelis Arisaydia, is in charge. When Penric arrives to provide his magical assistance, the fort's senior physician has just fallen ill, leaving Penric to work with apprentice Rede. Penric and Desdemona take on exhausting rounds of ministering to the soldiers at the fort, the residents of the adjacent village of Tyno, and, eventually, the citizens of Vilnoc, among them Penric's wife and newborn daughter. As the illness spreads, Penric, Desdemona, Rede, and others desperately work to understand its origins but it will take a bit of divine intervention to solve that mystery. In past outings, Penric's and Desdemona's wit have helped them out of many scrapes, but here they must rely on dogged, wearying persistence. Fantasy works seldom dwell on something as mundane and intangible as sickness, making this a rare tale. As always, it is the humanness of Penric and his demon that makes these characters shine. Series fans will be pleased.
This book was supposed to come out before Covid 19 hit but delays forced it to come out during the pandemic. This isn’t a story about magical cures to unknowable diseases but about resolute endurance and keeping on until there’s a solution.
A good read for when you’re stuck in the endless middle of a crisis.