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Lois McMaster Bujold's novella Penric's Demon is set in her World of the Five Gods, and like the three novels she has written in that secondary universe, it deals with a relatively unsuspecting person who finds themselves caught up in the doings of the Gods and and other supernatural beings.

Penric is the youngest son of a somewhat impoverished and not particularly important noble house. A naive young man without any discernible gifts or talents, he has no real future other than marriage to a local girl of good family and a life of helping out his brother the baron around the estate.

But then, while he's on his way to his betrothal, everything changes. Stopping to perform a small act of charity for a dying woman, he finds himself possessed of, or by, a powerful demon, a creature of sorcery and of the Bastard God. And it is in this act, and in coming to terms with the old and powerful demon he has inherited, that we realise that Penric indeed has a powerful gift, and one that is sadly lacking in both his world and our own - a greatness and generosity of spirit.

Penric's Demon is a well-crafted - and at times very funny - tale of an engaging young man and a powerful demon, who through their connection become much more than either would have become without it.


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