‘Penric and the Shaman’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 101/100


Penric and the Shaman By Lois McMaster Bujold

eBook Edition

Finished on 11/23/2017


Description: In this NOVELLA set in The World of the Five Gods and four years after the events in “Penric’s Demon”, Penric is a divine of the Bastard’s Order as well as a sorcerer and scholar, living in the palace where the Princess-Archdivine holds court. His scholarly work is interrupted when the Archdivine agrees to send Penric, in his role as sorcerer, to accompany a “Locator” of the Father’s Order, assigned to capture Inglis, a runaway shaman charged with the murder of his best friend. However, the situation they discover in the mountains is far more complex than expected. Penric’s roles as sorcerer, strategist, and counselor are all called upon before the end.

Genres: Fantasy, Novella, High Fantasy, Mystery

A sorcerer-detective, an accursed dagger and a ghost walk into a bar…

Spoiler-tastic review

This is a short story in the ‘World of the Five Gods’ series by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Reading this book has reminded me why Bujold’s ‘World of the Five God’s’ books are among my favorite. The relationship between the divine and the mundane in this setting is positively delightful. Religion in this setting has a spiritual quality I’ve not seen in similar fantasy novels in the genre. Too often in this genre gods are rendered too mundane, too human, stripping them of the ethereal quality one expects from a higher power.

I loved pretty much everything about this novel. It was a mystery novel set in a fantasy setting, where the religion and magic is key to solving the crime and saving the day.

Plot: Strong. Pen and his buddy-cop Olwyn must track down a missing shaman accused of murdering an important lord. My one (tiny) complaint is that Bujold used variants of this plot before in both ‘PALADIN OF SOULS’ and ‘THE HALLOWED HUNT.’

Characters: Pen and Desdemona have continued to develop. Olwyn is a stern ‘bad cop’ to Pen’s ‘good cop. Inglis is a frantic shaman trying this best to save his best friend from annihilation.

Pacing: Well paced, with regular revelations to keep the plot and characterization turning steadily.

Stay Sunny!



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