[Book Review] Possessed priest seeks renegade shaman

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold 


Penric, a demon-possessed sorcerer and a divine of the Bastard’s Order, is content doing scholarly things in the court of the Princess-Archdivine. But when an investigator needs the services of a sorcerer to track a runaway shaman accused of murder, the Princess-Archdivine assigns Penric to accompany Senior Locator Oswyl on his mission into the snowblown winter mountains to capture the shaman and bring him to justice.

Bujold has yet to disappoint. With a few deft strokes, she paints a cast of intriguing characters with rich internal lives and motivations. Brilliant pacing, an engaging plot, and all delivered with that deft  touch I’ve long come to associate with this series. This is also one of the few – if not the only – series (and I count all the Five Gods books in this) that I can think of that handles religion and fantasy beautifully, with a mixture of grace, humanity and irreverent humor. (Lackey’s Valdemar world is the only other one that comes to mind, but there, the spiritualism takes more of a ba

Set in the same World of the Five Gods universe, this is the second in the three-novella series about Penric and his demon, Desdemona. Chronologically speaking, this story happens sometime after The Hallowed Hunt, but before Curse of Chalion. And it is such a treat.

While you absolutely don’t need to have read any of the other stories in the series to enjoy this (each novel in this world is a standalone anyway), fans do get a few Easter eggs here and there. There are a few mentions of different countries within this world and events. And is the renegade Shaman Inglis kin Wolfcliff a descendant of The Hallowed Hunt’s Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff?

Highly recommend this one. And pretty much any of the other books in the series.

Canary Verdict:

Novella provided for review by publisher.

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