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Penric and Desdemona Books In Order

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Publication Order of Penric and Desdemona Books

Penric's Demon (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penric and the Shaman (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penric's Fox (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Masquerade in Lodi (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penric's Mission (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mira's Last Dance (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Prisoner of Limnos (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Orphans of Raspay (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Physicians of Vilnoc (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Assassins of Thasalon (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Penric and Desdemona is a series of fantasy fiction novels by Lois McMaster Bujold, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy novelist. Lois was born in Columbus Ohio and went to Upper Arlington High School before proceeding to Ohio State University. She has been a voracious reader all her life and got into science fiction when she was nine and started reading her father’s science fiction paperback books and magazines. She would later expand her reading repertoire to include poetry, history, war, mysteries, travel, and romance. Lois began to write in junior high and by the time she was in high school she was collaborating on extended storylines with her best friend Lilian Stewart. In college, she majored in English but she quickly got bored with it as she loved the creative rather than the critical aspects of study. She then went on a biology tour in East Africa which provided much of the background and landscape of her debut novel. After college, she worked at the Ohio State University Hospital as a pharmacy technician before she quit to start a family. During this time, the only meaningful writing she did was a 60-page pastiche on Sherlock Holmes.

It was when her friend Lillian started writing that Lois thought she could do it too. While she first wrote as a hobby she found it too draining and demanding and figured that it would only make sense if she did it professionally. McMaster Bujold’s first novel was “Shards of Honor” that she finished writing in 1983. She also wrote several short stories that she submitted to several magazines including “Twilight Zone Magazine.” She won her first Nebula with the serialization of “Falling Tree” her fourth novel and broke into historical fantasy with “The Spirit Ring” that she published in 1992.

The Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold are delightful novels featuring the lead characters Penric and Desdemona whose story is told over the course of the series. The stories are set in the fantastic world of the five gods that are the Bastard, the Father, the Sister, the Mother, and the Brother, all of who are very intriguing characters in their own right. The lead in the series is Penric, a sorcerer, temple divine and former nobleman. He had become a temple divine after he was accidentally possessed by Desdemona a demon. While Desdemona and others of her ilk are known as demons, they do not take the character of inherent evil as seen in common lore. Instead, they are more impish and mischievous than anything. While Desdemona is a powerful and old demon, she regularly engages in some playful banter and good-natured teasing. As such, there is no shortage of entertainment in the communication between Penric and his demon. In this world, a person becomes a sorcerer when they are inhabited by a demon much in the same way one would become a rider by acquiring a horse. The church is in charge of the demons on the world and does not like the situation though there is not much it can do about it.

“Penric’s Demon” the first novel of the series is the story of a wretched mortal that is entangled in the fights between the gods. The protagonist is Lord Penric, a man on his way to his wedding when he stumbles upon a traveling group that was forced to halt its journey when an elderly woman fell ill. Penric decides to help as any good citizen would. It turns out she is a Temple divine that is pledged to one of the five gods of the Quintarian theology named The Bastard. Just like in the real world the Bastard is often treated as an outsider. He is deemed responsible for the disasters that happen out of season and even as his presence is needed for balance, he is deemed a demon and is tolerated rather than loved. The old lady is named Desdemona and is a learned sorceress which means she has a perceptive spirit that can impart special powers onto a host. Desdemona ultimately dies of her sickness and then imparts her demon into Penric, changing his life forever.

“Penric and the Shaman” the second novel of the series is a novella set about four years since Lord Penric met Desdemona and became a sorcerer. Since that time, Penric has grown in the spiriti world and is now a divine of the Bastard’s Order and is a full-fledged sorcerer with full braids. He is also a temple scholar and during the day he spends his time at the court of the Princess-Archdivine or studying the many scrolls and books he finds in the library. He is having the time of his life when Oswyl a Locator of the Father’s Order destroys the tranquility when he shows up looking for a murder suspect. The suspect is thought to be a Shaman that had killed a man and then stolen his soul, making it impossible for the ghost to be claimed by the five gods. Oswyl has appealed for a sorcerer from the Princess-Archdivine who has offered the services of Penbric alongside several guards to help him in his quest for the man on the run from justice. But nothing is ever as it seems in this world.

“Penric’s Mission” the third novel of the Penric and Desdemona series opens to Lord Penric on a ship to Cedonia. He recently made friends with the Duke of Andria who has sent him on a secret mission to the faraway country. But things go awry right from when he lands in Cedonia. Penric and his demon have to apply some magic, quick thinking and other ingenious tactics to deal with intense feelings of love and dungeons. They have to try to heal what may just prove to be impossible to heal and then escape across the country in a daring plot. They get into several near-death situations even as the people they try to help are often not cooperative or in the least grateful. The last novel of the series is told from the perspective of Nikys who is the sister to general Arisaydia of Cedonia. Penric needs to fight against or with Nikys to survive the peril of his adventures in Cedonia.

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Book Series In Order » Characters » Penric and Desdemona

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