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Penric’s Fox, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The chapterhouse of the Bastard’s Order lay two streets behind the great stone bulk of the city’s, and the Weald’s, main temple. The old wooden merchant’s mansion that had formerly housed the servants of the white god had burned down twenty years ago, and been replaced with a fine new edifice, built more to the purpose, in the cut yellow stone of this country. As the chief chapterhouse of the realm, and in close competition with its sibling Orders for the other four gods, its architecture was high, balanced, and austere, not nearly as makeshift as the more provincial chapterhouses Pen was used to. It made him feel rather provincial himself.
Last year's Best Series Hugo final ballot included only one series that I had not read before (October Daye). This year's Best Series Hugo final ballot includes only one series that I already knew at all, Bujold's World of the Five Gods, where I think I had read everything except this novella, included with the Hugo voter packet.

We're back in Penric and Desdemona territory, but actually not in sequence, this being set third in what's currently a series of five. It's a murder mystery with demons, where I must admit I spotted the likely villain quite early, but the journey of discovery of our main characters was very entertaining, and also it's great to see Bujold allowing her young protagonist to mature through the course of what is quite a short story. I was certain to vote for the World of the Five Gods for Best Series anyway, but Penric’s Fox confirms my decision. You can get it here.

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