Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Unsettling Union

Book Review: Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold Exorcist Linda Blair possession

Review: Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold


We are accustomed to thinking of demonic possession as a dire catastrophe. Cue Linda Blair in The Exorcist: Horrific powers ride a young human, warping and twisting both body and soul.

Contrast this with young Lord Penric, a rural younger-son on the way to his arranged wedding with a local cheese-maker's daughter, who stops on the road to render aid to an old woman, and thereby acquires a demon.

Nothing after his initial swoon is what we expect of demonic possession. Penric is wise (or naïve) enough to treat this internal coupling as an alternative to his arranged marriage—after all, the demon, although (perhaps) multiple, is entirely feminine. (And wholly amused by the young man's morning wood.)

Penric's Demon is a novella, barely over 100 pages in length. But Bujold has built entire worlds around novellas before this. The afterword puts this novella into its chronological order in the Chalion ("World of the Five Gods") series: after The Hallowed Hunt, followed by The Curse of Chalion and Palladin of Souls

I have the earlier novels in paperback. I suspect it is now time to reread them and set them into the universe Bujold has written for them.