A Penric and Desdemona fantasy novella.


Publication year: 2019

Publisher: Spectrum Literary Agency

Format: ebook

Page count from Goodreads: 127

The novella is set about a year after the events of “The Prisoner of Limnos”. Learned Penric and his demon Desdemona have been together for thirteen years, so they know each other very well. Now, they’re on a ship headed back home. But pirates attack the ship and take it. Penric strongly suspects that they are Quadrene, people who worship only four gods and consider the fifth one, the Bastard, a more powerful demon. Penric is a divine, a priest, of the Bastard. Also, if the Quadrenes know that Penric has a demon inside him, they would kill him. So, he pretends to be a humble scholar.

The pirates throw him into a filthy hold with two small children they’ve captured from a previous ship. The sisters are terrified. Penric realizes that he is the answer to their prayers and it’s his duty to protect them.

This was a fun, quick read, as the Pen and Des novellas tend to be. There’s no character development, though, so it’s lighter than the others. Also, it has darker undertones because the pirates in this story aren’t romanticized. They’re murderers, rapists, and slavers. The sisters’ fate would be awful without Pen. Otherwise, this was a fun adventure, even though the ending was quite convenient.

Penric is his kind, thoughtful self, and a delightful POV character. Desdemona is just as delightful, but their interaction is far more practiced here than in the first stories (of course). No surprises. This is a good, light read for fans of the series. But I recommend starting with the first, Penric’s Demon.