A novella. Dust jacket by Lauren St. Onge (the Subterranean Press edition). Originally self-published.
In this sequel to the novella “Penric’s Mission”, the injured Penric, a Temple sorcerer and learned divine, tries to guide the betrayed General Arisaydia and his widowed sister Nikys across the last hundred miles of hostile Cedonia to safety in the Duchy of Orbas. In the town of Sosie the fugitive party encounters unexpected delays, and even more unexpected opportunities and hazards, as the courtesan Mira of Adria, one of the ten dead women whose imprints make up the personality of the chaos demon Desdemona, comes to the fore with her own special expertise.
Lois McMaster Bujold (born 1949) is an American speculative fiction writer. She is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record, not counting his Retro Hugo. Her novella "The Mountains of Mourning" won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. In the fantasy genre, The Curse of Chalion won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the 2002 World Fantasy Award for best novel, and both her fourth Hugo Award and second Nebula Award were for Paladin of Souls. In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award. In 2013 she was awarded the Forry Award. In 2017 she won a Hugo Award for Best Series, for the Vorkosigan Saga.
The bulk of Bujold's works comprises three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion Series, and the Sharing Knife series.