Penric’s Shaman

A lovely novella about a young magician-priest in a world where Gods are real, the mostly-benevolent demon possessing him (actually, ten demons; it’s complicated), another priest who’s less uptight than he seems at first, a runaway shaman, several ghosts, and some very unusual dogs. It’s set in Bujold’s Curse of Chalion world, but you don’t need to have read those novels to read this. However, I would ideally read “Penric’s Demon” first for background.

This feels much more fresh, human, and heartfelt to me than recent Vorkosigan novels. The characters are well-drawn in a short space, with compelling predicaments both practical and moral/ethical. There are no real villains among the major characters, just people with different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and duties. The climax was very touching. I love the way Bujold depicts the Gods. They are awe-invoking, worthy of worship without negating the value or meaning of human choice.

Penric's Mission

This one picks up ten years after the last. Penric is older but still his essential self, no less sweet for being a little more world-weary. I liked Shaman a little more but mostly because I was more intrigued by the magic and loved the climax of that one so much. Mission is also very good, just different.

Penric's mission, a bit of secret letter delivery, goes pear-shaped almost immediately, tossing him into a particularly nasty dungeon (and enabling an inventive escape). He then assigns himself a new mission involving some difficult medical magic (warning for graphic eye injury) and an understated romance.

If the magic has gone out of the Vorkosiverse, at least to my taste, it's very much alive in these stories. They're inventive, thoughtful, and heartfelt.
muccamukk: Dot and Phryne looking at each other and smiling, pretty hats. (MFMM: Companions)

From: [personal profile] muccamukk


I really loved the first one of these (Chalion has always been my favourite Bujold), but am waiting for non-kindle versions of these.

From: [personal profile] helen_keeble


Oh, I had no idea she'd published sequels to Penric's Demon! Thank you!

I hope this indicates a continued return to Chalionverse; I agree with you that there's much more spark in them than in Vorksiverse at the moment.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon


Glad you're enjoying them. Made my day when I stumbled on Penric's Mission a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea there was a new one due out.

From: [identity profile] jorrie-spencer.livejournal.com


I need to buy and read these next two Penric books, I did enjoy the first a lot. Inventive magic and inventive escapes are not always easy to find in my reading!
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