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Penric's Demon, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and self-published on July 6, 2015, is a novella in the World of the Five Gods Series.

Publisher's Summary[]

On his way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric comes upon a riding accident with an elderly lady on the ground, her maidservant and guardsmen distraught. As he approaches to help, he discovers that the lady is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, "master of all disasters out of season", and with her dying breath she bequeaths her mysterious powers to Penric. From that moment on, Penric's life is irreversibly changed, and his life is in danger from those who envy or fear him.

Plot Summary[]

Penric kin Jurald, the 19-year-old youngest son of the former Lord, was traveling to Greenwell to marry Preita, a wealthy cheese merchant's daughter, when he came upon an elderly woman dying on the road ahead of him. He stopped to help her, and instead received her extremely powerful chaos demon. He fell unconscious and was carried to the local hospital.

His marriage-to-be was off, everyone he cared about was afraid to touch him, and he'd had no training in how to manage any demon, much less an extremely powerful one. So he was sent on a three-day journey to Martensbridge, where an Order of the Bastard was that could determine what action needed taking. Along the way, he came to know his demon companion somewhat and named her Desdemona.

Upon arriving at his destination, Penric met Learned Tigney, a former sorcerer who ran the Order. Tigney had little to say to Penric beyond grim warnings, but he did permit Penric to read in the library while he studied the problem. Meanwhile, Penric's new roommate Clee decided to introduce him to his own brother, Lord Rusillin kin Martenden. In addition to owning a castle that was nearly surrounded by the local lake, Lord Rusillin also headed a mercenary company working for the Earl of Westria.

Rusillin invited Penric to his castle for a dinner. During the meal, Rusillin and Clee contrived to drug Penric so they could murder him and steal his demon for themselves. Desdemona cleared the drug from the wine cordial as he drank it, and so was not unconscious. Rather than let himself get killed, he set fire to the castle and fled by swimming across the lake, then walked back to the Martensbridge Order of the Bastard. On arrival he found Clee laying charges against him for attacking the castle, with Learned Tigney not particularly inclined to believe Penric's tale. However, Tigney stepped out soon after and returned with Learned Broylin, Saint of Idau. Penric pleaded with the Bastard through Broylin not to destroy Desdemona, and offered his service to the God; the Bastard accepted his offer, and Desdemona was permitted to survive.

The Princess-Archdivine Llewyn kin Stagthorne wished to learn what had occurred, and summoned Penric. He told his tale and she took him into her service, promising he could begin by going to the Bastard's Seminary at Rosehall.

Major characters[]

Supporting characters[]

Minor characters[]

The gods[]

Behind the scenes[]

The events in Penric's Demon take place approximately 150 years after those in The Hallowed Hunt.