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Penric's Fox, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and self-published on August 7, 2017 as an e-book is a novella in the World of Five Gods set shortly after Penric and the Shaman.


Publisher's Summary[]

Some eight months after the events of “Penric and the Shaman”, Learned Penric, sorcerer and scholar, travels to Easthome, the capital of the Weald.  There he again meets his friends Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl.  When the body of a sorceress is found in the woods, Oswyl draws him into another investigation; they must all work together to uncover a mystery mixing magic, murder and the strange realities of Temple demons.

Plot Summary[]

Called to Easthome in the Weald, Princess Llewyn kin Stagthorne naturally chose to bring her young temple sorcerer, Penric kin Jurald. While there, he arranged a bit of time to go fishing with his friends Inglis kin Wolfcliffe and Senior Locator Oswyl.

Oswyl showed up late and conscripted the Pen and Inglis to assist him in dealing with the very recent murder of a sorceress. They travelled with him to a bit of woods owned by Baron kin Pikepool, where they determined: yes she had been a sorceress; yes, the two arrows shot at her had killed her; the distance implied by the bow needed for the shots made it unlikely the demon would have been able to jump to the shooter; no, she did not leave a ghost behind; for some reason the murderer apparently shot at a fox as well; and by the way, no, they didn't know where the demon went. They took her body to the Bastard's Order in Easthome, where she was immediately recognized as Learned Magal, a well-liked sorceress who was unlikely to have travelled on her own into those woods. Her supervisor, Hamo, was very upset about her death.

Penric got permission from the Princess to continue working on the case. She also got him to attend a party where he found an opportunity to chat with the new Baron Wegae kin Pikepool; he was a scholarly young man who clearly could not have committed the deed.

The next morning, he and Inglis returned to the woods and explored. It seemed likely the demon had jumped to the fox. They found a heavy-set man with a walking stick had tracked their fox for some time. Further, the local forester - a man named Treuch - was setting traps to catch foxes alive, then taking them to a barn stall in a nearby village and leaving them there.

Meeting with Oswyl and his assistant Thala after their exploration, they learned that Baron kin Pikepool's uncle, the former baron, had been convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death, but had escaped and taken up as a mercenary. He was reported as having died while with the company. Oswyl requested Penric's assistance in arranging a meeting with Baron Wegae, where they learned further than the uncle, Halber, had in fact been well-skilled with a bow and that his conviction of murder had been aided by the testimony of a sorceress, named Sverda or Svedra.

Penric went to pay a visit to Hamo - yes, Svedra had carried the same demon that Learned Magal had received only a few months back.

The following morning, Inglis added some friends to their group: three shamans, one of whom, Lunet, carried a fox spirit. They all travelled, with Baron Wegae, to the same village in the wooded tract. Lunet found their demon-carrying fox and convinced her to come with them, bringing her cubs along. On the return trip from the woods to the village, Treuch tried to shoot the fox with his bow. Penric sent the arrow astray, then he and Inglis took Treuch into custody. On their return to the village, Penric and Desdemona found Treuch's hut had two people inside: Baron Wegae and a violently angry man - his uncle Halber, intent on murdering him. Halber was berserking - neither breaking his weapons nor his fingers could end his onslaught. Penric ended up having Desdemona break Halber's back, risking her if Halber were to die as a result.

Hamo decided to keep the fox alive, allowing the demon to remain in the world; he began a search to find a suitable partner for a damaged demon. Halber was hanged. Penric made arrangements with the shamans to spend a year with them learning how their magic worked and allowing them to learn more of how demons functioned. Thala and Oswyl began dating Inglis and Lunet.

Major Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]

Minor Characters[]

  • Thala
  • Lunet

The Gods[]