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Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold
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Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold is chronologically the third novella in the Penric and Desdemona series, but the fourth that I’ve read. It immediately follows Penric and the Shaman. These novellas are set in the World of the Five Gods, but you don’t have to have read the novels to read the novella series, and indeed I haven’t.

This book follows on fairly directly after Penric and the Shaman (well, apparently, it's eight months later), which was slightly confusing since the last Penric book I read was Penric's Mission set ten years or so later. That said, it more or less stands alone, except that it helps to have read the very first book of the series, Penric and Desdemona, to understand Penric and the world and sticking to chronological order (even if the author doesn't) generally helps.

Anyway, this was an interesting and entertaining read. Penric and his friend Shaman Inglis end up investigating a murder which involves a missing demon and no clear motive. I very much enjoyed following Penric and friends as they stepped through the crime, discussed possibility and eventually (rather dramatically) landed on the final answer. As expected from Bujold, the story was also fairly amusing (although I hold that this series is less amusing than the Vorkosigan books).

Highly recommended for fans of the Penric and Desdemona series and not inaccessible to new readers (though it's not my recommended starting point). I have two more novellas left to read in the series so far, and this book has made me consider buying them immediately (and the only reason I haven't is because I'm waiting for an imminent ebook gift card).

4.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Dec 29, 2018 |
Eight months have passed since the events in Penric and the Shaman, and Learned Penric is in Easthome, where in between his duties to the Princess-Archdivine, he's visiting with his friends, Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl. Unfortunately, their planned day of fishing is interrupted when a sorceress's body is found in the woods. As awful as the death itself is, the question of who killed her is matched by an equally appalling question: What has happened to her demon?

Penric continues to grow, as a sorcerer and as a divine, and continues to break new ground in ways his superiors don't necessarily expect. There's a lot to explore in this world of sorcerers, shamans, and gods who from time to time take an active hand in the world. Unlike many fantasy worlds, this one has a religion that isn't just a cheap knockoff of Christianity, whether portrayed positively or negatively. Bujold has put thought, work, and probably research into constructing a convincingly different religion, and doesn't treat believers as gullible fools.

I'm looking forward to reading his later adventures.

I'm going with internal chronological order, as Bujold recommends, rather than publication order. Which you do is a matter of personal preference and, except for the first two, shouldn't involve many spoilers.

I bought this book. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Excellent as always. This one is tucked in after Penric's Shaman, before Pen goes to work with the physicians. Another investigation, of a murdered sorceress (which means, a demon on the loose...probably). A lot of strange threads drawn together - honestly, the chance of Pen's meeting Wegae is the most unlikely (based on his spectacles!). A really nasty villain, too. Pen learns a bit more about shamans, and starts to expand his horizons in terms of studying. Very enjoyable...and now I want to reread all of them, in internal-chronology order. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Sep 15, 2018 |

We're back in Penric and Desdemona territory, but actually not in sequence, this being set third in what's currently a series of five. It's a murder mystery with demons, where I must admit I spotted the likely villain quite early, but the journey of discovery of our main characters was very entertaining, and also it's great to see Bujold allowing her young protagonist to mature through the course of what is quite a short story. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 31, 2018 |
This takes place soon after Penric and the Shaman, but because Bujold doesn’t always write her series in chronological order, it was released after a couple of later Penric books. While it makes more sense now to read Penric’s Fox straight after Penric and the Shaman, it’s such a self-contained story that jumping from the later books back to this one works just fine.

Penric and his friends from Penric and the Shaman investigate the murder of a temple sorceress. Oswyl is tasked with finding the murderer, but Pen and Des are more concerned with finding the sorceress’ demon; Inglis gets some shaman-friends to help.

I enjoyed this a lot, especially seeing Pen interact with another sorcerer and with the princess-archdivine - some of their conversations hit some unexpectedly serious and emotional notes.

Before I read this, I was hoping that further instalments in this series would be set after the later books. But now I don’t mind either way, so long as there is more of Pen and Des - I’m confident that whatever stories Bujold chooses to tell next will be interesting. ( )
  Herenya | Mar 9, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Saint-Onge, LaurenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"No, you can't make a Great Earthworm!" said Inglis, sounding indignant.
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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.
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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, and they must all work together to uncover a mystery mixing magic, murder, and the strange realities of Temple demons.… (more)

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