Monday, December 7, 2015

Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold

This story is a bit like the rhyme regarding the fellow journeying to St. Ives, who met a man with seven wives. A minor nobleman, Penric, is on his way to his wedding, when he meets a party traveling with a sorceress whose demon has somewhat more than seven lives. When the woman is stricken with a heart attack suddenly, our well-meaning bumbler tries to assist her, and ends up with the demon jumping in to inhabit his body, as the sorceress passes away.

His wedding plans in sudden turmoil, his future in doubt, Penric is dispatched quickly to a temple of The Bastard in Martensbridge, where the Learned Tigney is in charge. It is hoped that the Learned will have some idea what to do about Penric's demon. On the journey there, however, Penric, always a curious fellow, begins to make the acquaintance of his inhabitant in perhaps a deeper way than any of its previous...owners?...have done, and actually gives it a name, speaks to it kindly, and asks for stories of its past lives.

Various adventures in the temple and town ensue, as Penric simply tries to survive and find out what path his new life should take, and the more politically minded folks in the story either try to get control of the demon for themselves, for its powers, or to banish it from the land of the Five Gods forever.

A nice little novella my favorite Bujold fantasy realm.

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