Ahoy there me mateys! These delightful novellas take place in the World of the Five Gods from the trilogy of that name. That said, ye do NOT have to have read the trilogy first, though I did. Book one of the trilogy, curse of the chalion, is one of the best fantasy books I have ever read and I really enjoyed the remaining two.
Early this year I was thrilled to find out that the Penric and Desdemona novellas were being republished in a two-book omnibus set. The first omnibus contained novellas 1 – 3 in the internal chronological order not publishing order. This review is for penric’s travels which contains the novellas 4 – 6. Minor spoilers from the blurbs be used so read at yer own peril . . .
Side note: I used the older covers from Goodreads below just for fun!
I adore Penric and Desdemona. In this novella, Penric has been working with his demon (a combination of twelve female personalities inside of him) for over a decade. It was so enjoyable to see that Penric and Desdemona’s relationship has matured and that their friendship and caring for another is stronger than ever. Penric is on secret mission to Cedonia for his employer. What surprised me about this story is how quickly everything went wrong and the volume of trouble that Penric gets into. I also loved the addition of Nykis. She is a strong-willed woman whose brother, Arisaydia, is involved in Penric’s troubles. I loved watched the three interact. This was an intense little story and I was constantly wondering where it would go next. The small cliffhanger ending made me want more. Luckily the omnibus has more of the story.
““You’re worse than evil. You’re inefficient.”
mira’s last dance
This picks up where the previous one ends and is mostly set in an interlude stop in the town of Sosie. The delays are unwelcome for the characters but completely welcome for me because this novella gives the reader more insight into an aspect of Desdemona called Mira. Mira has an unique set of skills that didn’t get called on in the previous Penric novellas. I adored watching all the women in this book deal with Penric. This novella doesn’t further the plot a whole bunch but certainly gives insight into the characters. It was so much fun.
“Something I did not know at twenty,” said Nikys slowly, “that I do know at thirty, is that when a woman marries a man, she marries his life. And it had better be the life she wants to lead.”
the prisoner of limnos
This installment sees Penric and gang back in safe territory for a small breather until Nikys learns that her mother has been taken hostage. Penric and Nikys set out to rescue her from a woman’s only religious island. It was delightful. I loved the surprise characters. I loved that there was a character that was an albino who wasn’t evil. He is wonderful in fact. I ended up really enjoying how all three novellas were part of a larger story arc. I can’t help but want more of Penric’s earlier life and to see the parts that have been skipped. Arrrr!
“One gives you the shirt off his back, mused Des, and the other offers to help you bury bodies. I do believe you have made some new friends, Pen!”
Side note: I thought that I had finished the series after reading both omnibuses. Turns out there are three other novellas! One takes place between novella three and four. The other two take place after the events at the end of the second omnibus. I will have to track these down.
Goodreads has this to say about the omnibus:
Includes Penric’s Mission, Mira’s Last Dance, and The Prisoner of Limnos . . .
Learned Penric, a sorcerer and divine of the Bastard’s Order, has faced danger and intrigue many times before. Now, he finds himself on his first covert diplomatic mission. Penric must travel across the sea to Cedona in an attempt to secure the services of the Cedonia General Arisaydia for the Duke of Adria. But nothing is as it seems. No sooner than he has arrived, Penric finds himself tossed into a dungeon. If Penric is to survive, he’ll have to navigate treacherous politics—and his own feelings for the young widowed sister of the General.
Mira’s Last Dance
Penric, suffering from injuries attained while escaping from the Cedonian dungeon in which he was imprisoned, must now guide General Arisaydia and his widowed sister, Nikys, across the last hundred miles of hostile Cedonia to safety in the Duchy of Orbas. In the town of Sosie, the fugitive party encounters unexpected delays, and even more unexpected opportunities and hazards, as the courtesan Mira of Adria, one of the ten dead women whose imprints make up the personality of the chaos demon Desdemona, comes to the fore with her own special expertise.
The Prisoner of Limnos
Penric and 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. Now, Nikys, Penric, and Desdemona must infiltrate the hostile country once more, finding along the way that family relationships can be as unexpectedly challenging as any rescue scheme.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
the curse of the chalion – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
paladin of souls – book 2 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
the hallowed hunt – book 3 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
penric’s progress – omnibus 1 (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)
knife children (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)