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Mira's Last Dance

(Penric and Desdemona (Publication order) #4)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,620 ratings  ·  324 reviews
In this sequel to the novella “Penric’s Mission”, the injured Penric, a Temple sorcerer and learned divine, tries to guide the betrayed 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 a ...more
Kindle Edition, 90 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc
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Popular Answered Questions
Lois Bujold Eventually. Not necessarily the one you first expect...

Ta, L.…more
Eventually. Not necessarily the one you first expect...

Ta, L.(less)
Nirkatze The books were originally released as ebooks on Kindle, so you can check with your library if they have an ebook system. I know the Overdrive Library …moreThe books were originally released as ebooks on Kindle, so you can check with your library if they have an ebook system. I know the Overdrive Library carries at least some. The first six stories have been collected in print editions, named Penric's Progress and Penric's Travels, so you could check for those as well. Very nice print editions of the novellas are published individually from Subterranean press, but probably less likely to be found in a library. If you want to support the author though, purchasing the ebooks through say, Amazon, Nook, Kobo etc usually give around 60-70% of the purchase price as royalty to the author, depending on the price of the book.(less)

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 ·  3,620 ratings  ·  324 reviews

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Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Light fun, maybe less impressive than the rest of the Penric novellas, but this one has more of one thing than all the others combined. Boobs.

It was very funny, and even though it's basically a direct follow up from Penric's Mission, still a roadtrip novel, it was a delight just for seeing Penric have to cross-dress. :)

That's what you get when one of your ten demons was a courtesan! The poor boy never stands a chance. :)
David Holmes
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mira's Last Dance is the silliest thing Lois McMaster Bujold has written since A Civil Campaign. It's clear she's enjoying her semi-retirement and just writing whatever the heck she feels like.

I don't mind that one bit. I had a giant grin stretched across my face for most of the book.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas, fantasy
3rd read: Bumping it up to 5 stars this time because it may be brief but I enjoy it so much.

2nd read: Still good!

1st read: I loved Penric's interactions with his companions and Mira. This certainly addresses what Penric's life can be like as a man with 10 female personalities inside his head! A few scenes made me laugh aloud!

This is much briefer than the previous novella (which was the first half of Penric, Nikys, and Adelis' journey), and I hoped for a more tidy ending. Maybe #5 is coming soon?
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The story in this one was pretty much a direct continuation of the story in Penric's Mission.

Penric, Nikys, and Adelis, are still trying to flee to Orbas but the journey through the last parts of Cedonia proves anything but smooth and is hindered by the fact that Penric is still recovering from the happenings at the end of the last novella.

The story was decent enough but not quite as exciting as the story in Penric's Mission. It might just be a personal preference but I've always preferred int
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 24, 2021 is currently reading it
Shelves: fantasy
Second half of the fantasy adventure that started in Penric’s Mission ...more
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, chaste
I'm deeply disappointed. And I can't say why because spoilers. But I'll try in general terms. I don't like how passive and even withdrawn Nikys became. I had thought better of her. This isn't the woman who defied and planned and schemed and accepted help, but asserted her own terms while doing so. And that change made me sad. Bujold's mastery of story is still strong. Penric is still dazzling and inventive and I still love his continuing growth with, through, and in spite of Desdemona. So this i ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A pleasant and amusing excursion in a favorite writer’s newest series, my second from among the five novellas so far that feature the scholar, sorcerer, and priest Penric and the more earthy and sarcastic “demon” possessor, Desdemona. This one is involves a challenging journey out of a country where Penric and his companions, a brother and sister, are being hunted for their role in some secret mission there. All we know is that Penric is recovering from some magical attack that damaged his heart ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wish Bujold would have stopped at Penric's Mission. It had a perfectly good ending. This brings nothing new, apart from (view spoiler) What is worse, Penric and Desdemona are more annoying than funny. Unforgivable. ...more
Olga Godim
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
Loved it. This novella is the conclusion to the previous one, Penric’s Mission. Remember I griped about that one: that it didn’t have an ending. Now it does, with Mira’s Last Dance .
This story is much lighter in tone than Penric’s Mission, with moments of unrestrained hilarity interlaced with sadness. Penric’s mission is a success, all the characters are safe; they found what they were looking for, or at least got as close as it was possible in the confines of their world, but the story doesn
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

Initially, I rated this as 3 stars and then I went back and listened to the last 40 min of the story and changed it to 4 stars. This story raised a lot of interesting questions because really hit the point about boundaries for Penric. He is a person in himself but he has multiple female personalities living inside his body & mind. I felt it was odd how easily Pen could act as Mira and laughed at the times that he willingly let Mira have control of his body. Yet, the pieces that touch
Peter Tillman
I'm late to the party on these -- this is my first Penric novella, and it was a delight. The Mira persona is quite something: "It's lovely to know I can still hook them in." The hookee is General Chadro, and Mira is reluctant to throw him back: "He's charmingly persistent. . . ."

The writing is Bujold at her best. I tried the first two Chalion books years ago and didn't care for them, then tried the first Sharing Knife, which was just OK. And the less said about "Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen"
Nicole Lisa
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, 2020
This is a direct sequel to the previous installment rather than a stand-alone story.

For some time, as a writer, I have been contemplating whether and in what circumstances I or someone else could write a story about a man dressed as a woman that is not a farce. That has some of the power the reverse kinds of stories have over some readers (which are less likely to be farces). After all, when a woman disguises herself as a man, it's seen as her seizing agency and power, usually, that is out of he
Mira’s scenes were excellent and everything else was mediocre in comparison
S.J. Higbee
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First of all, my firm advice would be to first read Penric’s Mission before plunging into this one. While Bujold’s deft writing won’t leave you floundering, you are coming in halfway through this particular story arc and as it is a novella, it necessarily is more compressed and faster-moving than a novel so there simply isn’t the time to compensate for the inevitable gaps in the backstory.

This is another gem. I have loved the character progression Penric has undergone since becoming an accidenta
Lis Carey
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, novella
Penric is leading General Arisaydia and his widowed sister through now-hostile Cedonia to what they hope will be sanctuary in the Duchy of Orbas. It's a difficult and tricky journey, with dangerous delays. Temporarily stranded in the city of Sosie, they take refuge in a high-end brothel.

The brothel has a little problem with pests at the moment, which Penric, with his need to shed chaos, is able to help with. What he doesn't initially anticipate is that Mira, one of the ten women whose personali
Hélène Louise
I love Penric's novellas and hope they'll be assembled in a book someday.

This story is rather special, quite contemplative in its one way. Penric and Nikys relationship has reached a dead end (or maybe not ^-^), because of sensible and oh so logical feminism. Nikys' arguments are clever and could be used for many nowadays women who have to chose between their carrier and their relationship...

Penric is somewhat tame is this story, reminding me Miles in his Auditor's days. He hands the reins for a
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Direct sequel to "Penric's Mission," and developed from the (stated, and oddly accurate) notion that "men dressed as women seem more risible than women dressed as men." This and the previous story go together so well that they read like parts of an intended novel that somehow, when the author got to the end, just didn't make up a whole, so she issued them separately. It's still fun and as writing sets the bar higher than most fantasy writers can reach.

Bujold's Wit and Wisdom (a continuing series
Tim Hicks
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'd have gone full five except that this feels more like a stretched short story than a novella. And it's all a big setup for one hilarious scene, in which one of Penric's submerged personalities deploys hitherto-unknown skills in a ... wait, he's going to WHAT? Lois McMaster Bujold is going there? No! Way! Of course, the key moments are offstage, but that's as it should be.

General Arisaydia was just a grump the whole time. As if he and the author had had a spat and weren't speaking.

Still a go
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was probably the funniest of the novellas so far. It genuinely made me laugh, and I really could not help but get a Some Like it Hot vibe, that I kind of adored. (view spoiler) I'm not sure if this novella wrapped up the plot lines begun in the previous (chronologically) novella, or if it was setting up for something else, the ending was kind of ambiguous and almost rushed. Still, this was jus ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I find Bujold so comforting. There's a lot of common elements between Penric/Nikys and Miles/Ekaterin, but Penric is much more likable and compelling for me (if only because he has far more empathy and he is considerate of others), and even though a lot of the plot here is sold as a romp, the details sell it - Nikys's emotional fragility, Mira's ethical rules, the concern Des has for the woman with cancer, Penric's trauma from the time he worked with patients. It comes alive on the page, and I a ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Marvelous, as Bujold so often is. Does end on a five-gods-damned emotional cliffhanger, however.
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
Oh, gosh! IDK what to say. I enjoyed this one much more than Penric's Mission...

...but I am hating the woman Penric fell in love with. She does not deserve him in the least. Ugh. *spits*
Stephen Richter
Starts off where Penric's Mission left off. Penric and his two new friends are still on the run. His new friends see a different side of Penric, namely Mira, one of the personality that make up the demon Desedemona. Again the audio was finely voiced by Grover Gardner. ...more
Rachel Brown
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story is more of a extended ending to Penric's Mission, continuing on just a few days from the last one as Penric and company at last try to make it across the boarder. It focuses more on the budding romance between Penric and Nikys. The feeling of tension is much less and the moments of humor shine through. It is a fun little story, while enjoyable doesn't feel as if the stakes are high like the last one. It is interesting to see Penric and Nikys, who obviously are attracted to one another ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the foreword of one of her books Bujold comments on how she likes to think of the worst thing she can do to a character - here she excels herself and manages to make the same thing be the worst she can do to three characters at once. Don't want to go into detail because of spoilers.
Really enjoyed this, it is funny, wince making and thought provoking while also being an adventure.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: tfn, fantasy-romans
More enjoyable than the previous -- the turn to comedy meant less ponderous magic and less unpleasant moralizing. Still, Nikys is an incredibly weak character, with all the tendencies of Ekaterin as love-interest-function magnified, and few of the threads that kept that character individuated as a real person. I really dislike Bujold's tendency to introduce love-interests who are utterly socially isolated and so totally (or near-totally) dependent on the hero. ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really love Penric, Nikys and Adelis. The characters are all so well done (something Bujold really shines at in all her books). This was my favorite novella of the series so far. It was just a fun adventure that had me laughing out loud in places. It was very reminiscent of some of Mile's funny antics and troubles in the Vorkosigan books. My only complaint was the story didn't have an ending really and just left me hanging a bit. ...more
Text Addict
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sff2020_f
Quite a change of pace from the others. Somehow we missed getting a copy of Penric's Mission so I was *very* confused for a bit, but I think that if you're reading them all in a row, the way I did, the lighter plot here is a nice rest from the DRAMA. Not that I object to the drama. But all drama all the time gets old. ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite by far!
Mira, oh Mira! What fun you have caused!
This book explores some of the difficulties Desdamona’s female bent inflicts on Penric. I loved every second of it.

And the romance! I actually cried for Penric. I wonder if I took it more seriously than even he did!😂
Jun 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Another short novel in the Penric line that plays its cards too safely to be thrilling, and too tamely to be dangerous. There are nice touches in the thinking around gender and health, but it doesn't carry the novella far - and it is a short novella, perhaps more properly a short story. ...more
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse

Other books in the series

Penric and Desdemona (Publication order) (10 books)
  • Penric's Demon (Penric and Desdemona, #1)
  • Penric and the Shaman (Penric and Desdemona, #2)
  • Penric’s Mission (Penric and Desdemona, #3)
  • Penric's Fox (Penric and Desdemona, #5)
  • The Prisoner of Limnos (Penric and Desdemona, #6)
  • The Orphans of Raspay (Penric and Desdemona, #7)
  • The Physicians of Vilnoc (Penric and Desdemona, #8)
  • Masquerade in Lodi (Penric & Desdemona, #9)
  • The Assassins of Thasalon (Penric and Desdemona, #10)

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