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Penric's Fox

(Penric and Desdemona (Publication order) #5)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,706 ratings  ·  326 reviews
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, murd ...more
ebook, 113 pages
Published August 7th 2017 by Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  3,706 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animalia, fantasy
Third in the series of Penric fantasy novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I'm kind of getting into these! Penric, scholar and sorceror (courtesy of Desdemona, the demonic spirit that shares his body), Penric's fishing expedition with his friend Inglis (the shaman from the prior book, Penric and the Shaman) gets interrupted by Locator Oswyl, who wants Penric's and Inglis's help with another murder case. The body of a sorceress has been found in a remote wood, with two arrows in her back, and no ...more
Returning to the land of the Five Gods to an earlier point in Penric's life, we're treated to a rather untraditional whodunnit.

This murder isn't just about a sorceress. Her demons are also victims. And where will they go? The funky world of shamanism, of course, with all the problems that encompass. Loss of identity, living one's life out in another's body, etc.

That's bad enough, but there's rather more intrigue and this is a full-fledged mystery.

In some ways, this has a bit more going on than t
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a sequel of sorts to Bujold's earlier novella Penric and the Shaman. It was set a few months after that one and saw a return of most of the characters we encountered there. Just like with Penric and the Shaman the focus here in Penric's Fox was around a murder mystery tale!

I actually liked this a little bit more than Penric and the Shaman but not quite so much as the other Penric novellas. This set of Penric's friends are growing on me but are still not as much fun as the ones we have
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A novella about a sorcerer and a shaman trying to help out with a murder case in the woods and getting creative in a case of the victim’s soul passing to a mother fox. Penric, our hero, is a young man studying to be a sorcerer is this medieval low-tech society, but he is already blessed with a lot of powers through the spirit of a dead female sorcerer, Desdemona, the incarnated “demon” at residence inside him. I got a kick out of their often sarcastic inner dialog and conflicts over what to do. ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas, fantasy
3rd read: I always forget at the beginning what the plot of this one is (other than the fox thing) and then a third of the way through I go "OMG I love these three people investigating crimes - maybe the whole series will be about this! oh wait, the series is not about this...." Anyway, on this reread, I found the conclusion more emotional than usual (possibly just the PMS talking but also compassion, the utter waste of revenge, etc.) and then wondered if we'll ever see Oswyl again, because we t ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Anyone who has read many of my reviews knows that I'm a huge LMB fan. Nonetheless, I have to give this installment of Penric a big "ehh". This one takes place soon after Penric and the Shaman, which is my second favorite of the Penric tales so far. It's a murder mystery of sorts, complicated by a missing demon. While there are some patented LMB sweet moments and quirky characters, I was not enthralled. Not enough going on, and not enough point to the story.

Also: this isn't out in audio yet, so I
Jacob Proffitt
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
This is part of a series that I prefer to read in chronological (as opposed to publication) order. I really like the build up and knowing some of the story behind characters that I might miss, otherwise.

These stories are delightful. They're small enough, and consistent enough, that I don't think I'll go too in-depth here. Pick an order and just start. Bujold's world is well-realized and Penric and Desdemona are great to spend some time with. I particularly like the application of chaos in the be
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Penric’s Fox was the most recent addition to the World of the Five Gods and the Penric novella series. In this one, Bujold backtracks a little and gives us a pretty direct follow-up story to Penric and the Shaman, revisiting all the characters from that one while providing them with a nice little mystery to solve. In terms of all the Penric novellas, I think this one falls in the middle. The writing quality was great as always, but this one tended to be slow. There was some nice action towards t ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The overall story arc in this direct sequel to "Penric and the Shaman" was stronger. The murder investigation that is at the heart of this novella held more suspense than the story of the predecessor. The solution was foreseeable, but this didn't deduct much from the fun while reading. The Shamans from book 2 are back, this time with reinforcement and I just love them!

Another great addition to Penric's NCs is his 'employer' the Princess-Archdivine Llewyn kin Stagthorne who has all the wonderful
Jason Koivu
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Jumping into the middle of a series is seldom the best option. But hey, I had a chance to finally read one of Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy books, so I snatched at it. I've stayed away from her stuff, because the covers are terrible. Yes, I just said I judged her books by their covers. I am a terrible person. Fact is, many of them look childish or goofy. I assumed they were kiddy books. Yes, I ASSUMED!!! I'm batting a thousand for terribleness. Anywho, I found this novella on Audible for free a ...more
Melissa McShane
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot, though not as much as I did Penric and the Shaman. On the other hand, I dearly loved that two of the characters from that book showed up again here, and I hope that means it's a trend.

The story is more straightforward a mystery than the first two (chronological) books, which may be why I didn't love it; I have a tendency to compare books within a series, or by an author, and rank them accordingly. By comparison to most other fantasies I've read in the last year, this is still
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

When I saw the announcement earlier this week that there was a new Penric and Desdemona novella, I immediately ran (figuratively, of course) to Amazon to buy a copy, and dropped everything to read it immediately. This series of novellas, set in Lois McMaster Bujold’s World of the Five Gods, are absolutely marvelous treats, every single one. And Penric’s Fox is no exception.

Penric’s Fox, while being the fifth book in the series in publication order, is actua
Sherwood Smith
Jul 08, 2018 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I've been saving these for the right occasion. Last night being far too hot to sleep for the third night in a row, I turned on the light at a quarter to three a.m. queued the story up, and spent the rest of the night reading this quietly wonderful addition to the Penric tales.

The characters are delightful, especially Penric and his very old chaos demon Desdemona. The use of Des's chaos magic was interesting here, as well as the exploration of shamanic magic. I particularly liked Lunet, the shama
Beth Cato
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through the publisher via Netgalley.

The Penric and Desdemona series is such a cozy delight, and the fifth novella continues that experience without missing a beat. The plot follows like a fantasy melded with a murder mystery: a woman found dead in the woods, with Penric and friends called to solve not only the riddle of her murder but to find where the woman's demon-ally went after her body expired. There are false leads and suspect interviews and, of course, the titular fox
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: magic, sff, short, fantasy
I continue to enjoy this series. It's a compelling elaboration of the world, and this world is expertly and beautifully built. I very much like the characters, too, especially Penric and the wonderful Desdemona.

However. This book, for me, was marred by two things. Well, two things that are fair and one that isn't. So, the fair things: the serial novella format is a problem, because Bujold feels the need to explain everything at the beginning of each story, requiring inevitably clumsy infodumps.
Barb in Maryland
5 stars for this direct sequel to 'Penric and the Shaman'.

A review that contains more than "Squeeee" may be forthcoming. Once I come out of my good book coma, that is.

ETA: I am so happy the author went back in time to fill in some of the years between 'Penric and the Shaman' and 'Penric's Mission'. Our Penric is still young and optimistic in this one.
The plot is a simple mystery--who killed a young Temple sorceress? and why?, with the added what happened to her demon?. Not a spoiler--all is re

I planned to listen to this one last because I know it takes place before the part I'm at now in the series but I'm glad I went ahead and listened to it first. It was a nice mix of humor, Pen's drive to learn and a little mystery to solve. Fun look into the world and more info about the magic + demonic relationships.
Di Maitland
Lois McMaster Bujold is fast becoming my all-time favourite author (Orson Scott Card previously held this honour). She writes fabulously, has the most wonderfully gentle protagonists, and, no matter the genre or the series, can always be relied on to provide a beautiful, heart-warming journey.

Depending on your perspective, Penric's Fox is either the third book (chronologically) or the fifth book (in publication order) in the Penric and Desdemona series. As it heavily features characters introduc
Olga Godim
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
I don’t believe I never wrote a review for this novella. It’s probably my third re-read of it, and the story reads as fresh and delightful now as it was the first time I ever read it. Chronologically, it is the third of Penric’s stories, a murder mystery Penric and his demon Desdemona encounter when they visit the kingdom’s capital. There are interesting new characters in the story, and the old friends I knew and liked from the previous two novellas. Penric shines in this tale, his compassion, i ...more
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
“You’re feeling guilty about lying to a fox?” Des asked, amused. “Only you, Pen”

Despite the confusing numbering system, this is Bujold’s third novella in the Penric thread. Part of a greater corpus but stands well by itself. The right balance of backstory and plot momentum.

“There is no question people can get theology wrong, too.” “People can get almost anything wrong,” sighed Oswyl. “Theology cannot be an exception.”

Fuller development of characters and the usual spate of ethical issues. Bujold
Stephen Richter
In publishing order this is book #5 but in relationship to the story it is the #3 tale. Penric is reunited from the characters from Penric and the Shaman to investigate a murder of a sorceress. This short tale follows Penric, Shaman Ingish, and Senior Locator of the Father's Order Oswly as they try to figure out who would kill a sorceress and where did her demon go ? ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Penric and Des are so enticing and it's nice to have a new peek in their earlier years together.
I love his interaction with the archiduchess, all the bittersweet when we know from previous novella how much he cares about her.

The Sherlock Holmes touch is also nice.

I was a bit reminded of the Mountains of Mourning, but I don't know why exactly.
Next time I reread it, I will reread them both, maybe I will be able to pinpoint the impression down.

Edited 04/12

Huh, this is still my less favorite of Pe
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I kind of love these novellas. They aren't amazing or anything, they're pretty cute and they're short and right now that's what I want from a book. The dialogue is funny enough, the characters are either pretty decent or legitimately good, and did I mention how she gets a whole story contained in less than 200 pages? I appreciate that. I think because she established the main characters well enough in the first two novellas, Bujold can sort of just think up random situations and pop out books ba ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, owned
This wasn't by any chance the most substantial thing Bujold has ever written, but it was fun, gripping and adorable in parts. I always want more Desdemona, but the worldbuilding in this series is just so satisfying and good. And Penric is a protagonist whose innate decency and desire to do the right thing by those he comes across make him a pleasure to be around.

I am seriously thinking about getting the omnibus.
David Holmes
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid Penric & Desdemona tale. It started out as a three-star read but turned into something better, with the addition of a character quite unlike any I've read before. While the details of this persona must come largely from the reader's imagination, I appreciate that opportunity to imagine. ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A better read than the second novella, though not as good as the first. The larger cast helped. As did the slightly different setting, though really we don't see that setting as all that distinct of a place. But the larger cast helps, and the larger world leaks through. As always a simple breezy style. Sure it's a murder mystery but one with interesting magic. ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rounded up. 3.5-3.75 stars
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was more of a mystery!
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I didn't care for this novella as much as I typically do Bujold works (which, admittedly, is a great deal). Perhaps because not really any new characters or developments - and it was almost work to get through, which again is not the norm for me re Bujold. Ah well. ...more
It feels weird describing a murder mystery as fluffy fun, but that's pretty much what this is. Cute foxes, kind characters, interesting worldbuilding, and a plot with no surprises. I enjoyed my time with Penric, but I wished Des made more of an appearance, too. ...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)
  • Mira's Last Dance (Penric and Desdemona, #4)
  • 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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