Thursday, April 15, 2021

Masquerade in Lodi (Penric and Desdemona #3.5), by Lois McMaster Bujold

Spectrum Literary Agency, October 2020

Penric, and his demon, Desdemona, are still relatively new in the canal city and seaport of Lodi, and his position as Archdivine Ogial's court sorcerer. When Penric is called to the Gift of the Sea charity hospice for sailors to see a "poor mad fellow" fished out of the sea by a fishing ship, whose problem might be of the supernatural kind, he finds, indeed, that the young man is demon-ridden.

While Penric is in the hospice physician's office discussing how how quickly they can get a Saint of the Bastard there to relieve the unidentified young man of his demon, the young man and the demon, alarmed by the visit from Penric and Desdemona, escape from the hospice. This makes a relatively simple, if unpleasant, task far more difficult. It's seemingly a good development when a woman and another young man show up--the demon-ridden young man's mother, and a friend, who was a shipmate on the ship the demon-ridden fell overboard from. More eyes, someone who can join the search knowing where in Lodi the young man, at least, might think to hide, etc. Penric also learns where to find the Bastard's Saint in Lodi. She's a young woman who grew up in the Bastard's orphanage on the Isle of Gulls, and still resides there.

The fact that all this has happened on Bastard's Eve, a night of revelry and partying in the streets, and a day and night Penric might reasonably have expected to have off, does not make things easier for him, or indeed for the Saint, Chio, whose birthday is officially Bastard's Day. Though truthfully, in addition to doing her job as the Saint, she's rather pleased to be able to get out on the town on Bastard's Eve, with less strict chaperonage than the orphanage would normally have allowed.

What follows has Penric and Chio learning new things about Lodi, the demon they're chasing, how Saints and sorcerers can work in relatively close proximity to each other (too close, and Desdemona would rather hide), and about that helpful young man who wants to help find and rescue his friend. And who may have an interest in the demon-ridden young man's sister.

It's a great little adventure, and a visit with Penric and Desdemona. Recommended.

I bought this book.

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