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Penric's Labors (Masquerade in Lodi/ The Orphans of Raspay/ The Physicians of Vilnoc) (2023)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Penric and Desdemona - Chronological Order (Masquerade in Lodi (4), Orphans of Raspay (8), Physicians of Vilnoc (9)), World of the Five Gods - Chronological Order (Penric & Desdemona Omnibus 3 (1.4, 1.8, 1.9)), Penric and Desdemona - Publication Order (Omnibus 7, 8, 9), World of the Five Gods - Publication Order (Masquerade in Lodi, Orphans of Raspay, Physicians of Vilnoc)

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711373,791 (3.86)13
"Penric and Desdemona are back in three novellas from Grand Master Lois McMaster Bujold. Masquerade in Lodi: Bastard's Eve is a night of celebration for most residents in the canal city of Lodi-but not for sorcerer Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona, who find themselves caught up in the affairs of a shiplost madman, a dangerous ascendant demon, and a very unexpected saint of the fifth god. The Orphans of Raspay: When the ship in which they are traveling is captured by Carpagamon island raiders, Temple sorcerer Penric and his resident demon Desdemona find their life complicated by two young orphans, Lencia and Seuka Corva, who are far from home and searching for their missing father. Pen and Des will need all their combined talents of mind and magic to unravel the mysteries of the sisters and escape from the pirate stronghold. The Physicians of Vilnoc: When a mysterious plague breaks out in the army fort guarding Vilnoc, the port capital of the duchy of Orbas, Temple sorcerer Penric and his demon Desdemona are called upon by General Arisaydia to resurrect Penric's medical skills and solve its lethal riddle. In the grueling days that follow, Pen will find that even his magic is not enough to meet the challenges without help from dedicated new colleagues-and the god of mischance. Includes a new introduction, "outroduction," and suggested reading order by Lois McMaster Bujold"--… (more)
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I always like settling down with "Pen and Des": they're amusing, they have captivating adventures, there are satisfying philosophical musings and Bujold's writing style is such a pleasure.

Nevertheless, this trio of novellas was disappointing. The stories were more like vignettes and disjointed at that. My favourite adventure was Masquerade in Lodi. The others seemed less developed, though I was very taken with the two girls in The Orphans of Raspay.

For myself, the leap to Penric's life in Vilnoc with his wife (Nikys), mother-in-law, and Adelis Arisaydia (brother-in-law) was abrupt and it felt like a major development had been skipped. Readers will have last seen the developing romance with Nikys in Penric’s Travels.

As for the final novella, The Physicians of Vilnoc, there was no unifying theme to build on the Penric saga, simply a story of disease and discovery of its cause. Obviously I am not a fan of the novella-format, except when there's a unifying thread such as seen in the two previous collections (Penric's Progress and Penric's Travels). ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | May 26, 2023 |
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Penric and Desdemona - Chronological Order (Masquerade in Lodi (4), Orphans of Raspay (8), Physicians of Vilnoc (9))
World of the Five Gods - Chronological Order (Penric & Desdemona Omnibus 3 (1.4, 1.8, 1.9))
World of the Five Gods - Publication Order (Masquerade in Lodi, Orphans of Raspay, Physicians of Vilnoc)
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"Penric and Desdemona are back in three novellas from Grand Master Lois McMaster Bujold. Masquerade in Lodi: Bastard's Eve is a night of celebration for most residents in the canal city of Lodi-but not for sorcerer Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona, who find themselves caught up in the affairs of a shiplost madman, a dangerous ascendant demon, and a very unexpected saint of the fifth god. The Orphans of Raspay: When the ship in which they are traveling is captured by Carpagamon island raiders, Temple sorcerer Penric and his resident demon Desdemona find their life complicated by two young orphans, Lencia and Seuka Corva, who are far from home and searching for their missing father. Pen and Des will need all their combined talents of mind and magic to unravel the mysteries of the sisters and escape from the pirate stronghold. The Physicians of Vilnoc: When a mysterious plague breaks out in the army fort guarding Vilnoc, the port capital of the duchy of Orbas, Temple sorcerer Penric and his demon Desdemona are called upon by General Arisaydia to resurrect Penric's medical skills and solve its lethal riddle. In the grueling days that follow, Pen will find that even his magic is not enough to meet the challenges without help from dedicated new colleagues-and the god of mischance. Includes a new introduction, "outroduction," and suggested reading order by Lois McMaster Bujold"--

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