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Penric's Mission, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and self-published on November 2, 2016 as an e-book is a novella in the World of Five Gods set about 6 years after Penric's Fox. It is immediately followed by Mira's Last Dance.

A reading of the introduction by the author can be found on Baen on Facebook


Publisher's Summary[]

Learned Penric, a sorcerer and divine of the Bastard’s Order, travels across the sea to sunlit Cedonia on his first covert diplomatic mission, to attempt to secure the services of a disaffected Cedonian general for the Duke of Adria. However, nothing is as it seems: Penric is betrayed and thrown into a dungeon, and worse follows for the general and his kin. Penric’s narrow escapes and adventures — including his interest in a young widow — are told with Bujold’s remarkable energy, wit and humor. Once again, Bujold has created unforgettable characters and a wondrous, often dangerous world of intrigue and sorcery. Fourth novella in the Penric and Desdemona series.

Plot Summary[]

Penric and Desdemona traveled to Cedonia to recruit General Adelis Arisaydia to come work for the Duke of Adria, but were arrested almost the moment they'd arrived. Upon escaping a few days later, they learned that the General had been arrested for treason and blinded; he was in his sister Nikys's care.

So Penric gathered some medical equipment and came to their aid. He spent the next weeks rebuilding Arisaydia's eyes. Then a group of representatives of the empire arrived to check up on Arisaydia. The discovery that he'd begun to be able to see again did not bring them joy - their leader tied Arisaydia and Nikys up and prepared to redo the destruction of his eyes. Penric and Desdemona put a stop to this; then sent Nikys and Arisaydia off to flee southwards. His attempt to question their leader, a man named Tepelin or Velka (or neither name), yielded only a small piece of information - that Minister Methani was behind the accusation against the General.

The three of them fled south together, though whether to Orbas or to a coast to try to get a boat to Adria was a matter of contention between them. When they reached Skirose, Arisaydia decided to resolve the contention by leaving with Nikys while Penric was shopping for food for the group.

Penric discovered them gone and checked the ostlers; a small one had indeed rented two horses for them. He was on the point of giving up and heading to Adria alone when their pursuit arrived at a larger horse-rental and collected nearly all their horses; they had a sorcerer in tow, as well. They stopped for a meal, and Penric stole the sole remaining horse, a hostile monster named Pighead that tried repeatedly to divest itself of its rider. He then took off after Nikys and Arisaydia ahead of them, finding them climbing a mountain path. They climbed together until Arisaydia claimed they were unlikely to find a better place to fight from and rested and waited, and gathered rocks. The pursuers arrived soon after.

Their sorcerer, Learned Kyrato, approached first. After a five-fold series of challenges admonishing Penric to surrender, they began to do battle. When the battle began to go badly for Kyrato, he ordered his demon to kill Penric by attacking his heart. Desdemona prevented the attack from succeeding, though Penric was seriously injured; she then dropped the mountainside on the attackers, ending the battle. Any who were not trapped fled. Arisaydia inspected the area and killed Velka; the rest were permitted to live. Penric got Nikys to help him go to Kyrato, where he gave the trapped sorcerer water and a long sermon on proper maintenance of a demon; he also gave Kyrato's demon a name - Kuna.

Arisaydia then carried Penric while Nikys carried their goods; they climbed the rest of the way up the mountain to the border with the next district. Pursuit was unlikely to follow for several days after the results of their last battle.

Major Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]

  • Velka

Minor Characters[]

  • Learned Kyrato and Kuna

The Gods[]

Behind the scenes[]

General Arisaydia's blinding is deliberately similar to the tale of Belisarius.