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The Prisoner of Limnos, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and self-published on October 26, 2017 as an e-book is a novella in the World of Five Gods set immediately after Mira's Last Dance.


Publisher's Summary[]

In this sequel novella to "Mira's Last Dance", Temple sorcerer Penric and the widow Nikys have reached safety in the duchy of Orbas when a secret letter from a friend brings frightening news: Nikys's mother has been taken hostage by her brother's enemies at the Cedonian imperial court, and confined in a precarious island sanctuary.

Their own romance still unresolved, Nikys, Penric, and of course Desdemona must infiltrate the hostile country once more, finding along the way that family relationships can be as unexpectedly challenging as any rescue scheme.

Plot Summary[]

With Arisaydia and Nikys safely in Orbas, Penric kin Jurald lacked an official reason to stay. In fact, the Duke of Adria was letting him know that he was to return - his mission had failed and it was time to return to his job. As Penric considered whether to return and give up his hopes of marrying Nikys, she arrived with a letter from Tanar Xarre addressed to Arisaydia - Nikys's mother Idrene (and co-mother for Arisaydia) had been arrested and was being kept prisoner on the island of Limnos a short distance from Thasalon, the capital of Cedonia.

Rather than allow her mother to be used as a hostage against her brother, Nikys was determined to come to the rescue. Penric volunteered to help and the two of them went to Duke Jurgo, seeking assistance. Jurgo was not willing to provide people, but he did give them a good purse and routing instructions, at least partly in the hope that Penric would afterwards agree to become a resident scholar-sorcerer in Orbas.

The two of them traveled to the outskirts of Thasalon, where Tanar lived with her mother Lady Xarre and her personal body-servant Surakos Bosha. Tanar and Bosha explained the layout of the island and retreat on Limnos, along with the security precautions intended to keep men from going into the temple complex on the island. Penric decided the simplest route was to pretend to be a woman and substitute himself for Idrene. Bosha accompanied them to the island's shore and waited a short distance from the docks. The switch was accomplished with no trouble, Nikys and her mother escaped the island with Bosha, leaving Penric in Idrene's room.

Penric had no clear idea how to escape other than to leave the room during the night and find his way to the outer stairway, traditionally only used by penitents who were willing to risk death climbing its narrow, rail-lacking way up the cliff. As it happened, during the night Idrene's other child, master bridge builder Ikos showed up intending to rescue her. He had a complex pulley-and-ropes machine that he used to climb from the penitent stairs to her window. So, Penric rode with him down to those stairs and the two of them went down to water-level, where a fishing boat awaited them.

They all met up in Akylaxio, a small town nearby, and began searching for boats that were planning to travel around the Cedonian peninsula, preferably without stopping at Thasalon on the way. A suitable Saonese boat was found, and they waited until dawn to board it. Meanwhile, pursuit was closing in. A courier from Thasalon arrived with a description of Idrene and orders to seize her if found. Penric used a shamanic geas to convince him to hand over the document and to believe that he'd accomplished his mission.

On the boat ride out, Nikys and Penric and Desdemona talked out Nikys's concerns about marrying, and she decided to do so.

Major Characters[]

Supporting Characters[]

Minor Characters[]

Behind the scenes[]

Similarities between Limnos and real-life Athos (gender-swapped) are not accidental.