Monday, March 5, 2018

Down in a hole, losing my soul

I seem to be hitting the greatest hits of the 90's with my titles lately.

Anyrate, as I mentioned, the library actually has hard copies of Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric and Desdemona novels, which lead me to Penric's Mission. Which much like the last volume takes place a bit later in the timeline than the previous volume. As in his previous employer is deceased, and he's now working under a different government official.

So, we join Penric on board a ship pulling into the port city of Patos in Cedonia, on a mission of recruiting a general who's allegedly up for defecting due to dissatisfaction with the Cedonian government. Unfortunately, Penric gets detained and tossed into an oubliette for espionage.

In the mean time, we meet the widow Nykis, who's "twin" brother Adelis (Same father, different mother, both born on the same day. Adelis is the legitimate twin and heir to his father.) happens to be the general Penric seeks. Unfortunately Adelis has also been imprisoned for treason. Nykis tries to help him escape, but he feels that he should be allowed to plea his case and have the Father of Winter show the truth of his claim. The administrator who's arrested both Penric and Adelis disagrees, and has Adelis blinded with boiling vinegar prior to releasing him to his sister's care.

Not long after, they decided to execute Penric by filling his cell with water to drown him. Penric uses his sorcery to condence parts of the water into ice long enough to escape.

Penric and Desdemona track down the siblings and manage to cure Adelis's eyes, which when the government manages to come check on him, leads to a chase across the countryside on horseback. A minor attraction blossoms between Penric and Nykis, although given the novella ends abruptly, I have no idea how that's going to work out.

It's, as always, a good read. Bujold's writing here is one of her best, where one feels a bit like one is savoring a gourmet meal of words served up with savory sauces at a Michelin starred restaurant.I can only hope the next one becomes available soon.

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