Tamora Pierce: Knights, Spies and Romance!

“Tris: “I was reading.” 
Sandry: “You’re always reading. The only way people can ever talk to you is to interrupt.” 
Tris: “Then maybe they shouldn’t talk to me.” 
~ Tamora Pierce (Briar’s Book (Circle of Magic, #4))

Tamora Pierce has officially made it on to my three (it used to by two) favorite authors list, along with Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine.

Tammy has written many books, and many series. I didn’t read her series in order, and didn’t have any trouble understanding anything, but I would have enjoyed them more if I had. I haven’t read them all yet, but my goal is to do so soon. Here is a list of all her books, written in order,  and a short summary of all the ones I have read so far (I included summaries from Tamora’s Website and the books themselves for ones I haven’t read yet). My favorite one (out of the ones I have read) is Squire, in the Protector of the Small series, but the Trickster series comes in close second.


1. Alanna: The First Adventure

2. In the Hand of the Goddess

3. The Women Who Rides Like a Man

4. Lioness Rampant

The main character in this wonderful series, Alanna of Trebond, disguises herself as a boy, changes her name to Alan, and goes to the capital city to become a page, squire, and finally, a knight. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task, and Alanna faces many difficult changes, problems, and decisions in her adventures. First, of course is the challenging task of keeping her true identity a secret. In medieval times, ladies were not allowed to become knights, and Alanna would lose everything, maybe even her life if someone found out. She deals with this problem by wearing a special corset to flatten her chest, and never swims or bathes with the other boys. In the second book, In the Hand of the Goddess, Alanna becomes a knight, and now spends all her energy trying to defeat her old magic teacher, Duke Roger, who has now become her enemy and a threat to the kingdom. In a last attempt to stop him from killing the people she loves, she duels with the Duke. During their duel, his sword point slices her from collar-bone to navel, slitting open her special corset, and revealing to the crowds her true gender. Despite all these hardships that Alanna must overcome, she fights well, killing Duke Roger, and is allowed to stay a knight because of all the good she has done for the kingdom. Alanna becomes a wonderful knight, and shows the entire kingdom that she can handle being the only lady knight, and proves that she is a wonderful problem solver, able to accept hard changes and make good decisions.

In the next few books, she finds herself facing her greatest fears (some of them all over again) and making hard decisions, mostly about love.

1. Wild Magic

2. Wolf-Speaker 

3. Emperor Mage

4. The Realms of the Gods

This series is about Daine, a wild mage.

Veralidaine Sarrasri, the main character, called Daine, has a way of grabbing your attention and not letting go till the end of the book. Daine’s personality and special talents keep you interested. Daine has a very large amount of the rare wild magic in her. Wild magic is a special type of power that lets the bearer communicate with all types of animals (non-human immortals included) heal them, shape-shift into any animal, and enter their minds. Not only does Daine have wild magic, but she is an amazing archer, making an even more talented character. I admire Daine mostly because she is the person I would love to be, if I lived in a magical world in medieval times. She is the type of character that I love to read about and see grow, learn new things, and have exciting experiences. She is the character that makes this book interesting, leaving you under the covers with a flashlight to see what she does next.


1. Magic Circle: Sandry’s Book

2. Magic Circle: Tris’s Book

3. Magic Circle: Daja’s Book

4. Magic Circle: Briar’s Book

I haven’t read this series yet. All I know is that it was written for younger readers, as opposed to the rest, which are young adult books.

Set in a different universe from the Lioness and Immortals books, this quartet centers around four unusual young mages. Sandry, a noble whose parents died recently, has power with thread, from spinning and weaving to simple knot-tying. Daja, a Trader, is the only survivor of a shipwreck in which her family drowned. Declared to be bad luck and banned from life with other Traders, she is free to learn to work metals and, through metal, to work magic. Tris, the merchant’s daughter, is no orphan, but her family doesn’t want her. Briar is a street rat, a thief and convict. Only at the temple city of Winding Circle does he learn that his strange love of growing things is more than a need to garden. Brought together in a house inside the temple city’s walls, watched over by the mages Lark, Rosethorn, Frostpine and Niko, the four struggle to be friends, to exercise their magic, and to survive. Each book centers on one of the four, but make no mistake: they are bound tightly together, and the events that affect each of them also strengthen their connections to one another.

(From Tamora Pierce’s Website)


1. First Test

2. Page

3. Squire

4. Lady Knight

In First Test by Tamora Pierce, Keladry of Mindelan (Kel) has many problems in her life as a probationary page. She is the first girl to take the new opportunity given to girls to become a page. When she arrives, she is greeted with the horrible news that she is to be put on probation, though no boy page has ever had to go through a test year. She also sees the terrible sight of her new room torn to shreds, with mean messages written on the walls, and puddles of oil and urine on the floor. During her first year as a probationary page, she continues to be bullied by the boys who are against girl pages. However, despite these troubles, she proves the other pages and her training master that she can become a page by learning to ride the too-big horse she is given, and tilt better than the other first years even with the lead-weighted lance only she has. Her sparrow friends, and her human friend, Neal, help support her as she proves women and girls can become knights, even with extra challenges and troubles not given to other boys. Throughout this wonderful book, Kel shows the reader how capable she is with solving her own problems, no matter how difficult.

In the next three books, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight, Kel is released from probation, becomes a page, then a squire to Lord Raoul, and becomes a Lady Knight. in Squire, she falls in love with Cleon, but their relationship just doesn’t work out. The last book, Lady Knight, I abandoned reading when I first picked it up, but the second time I gave it a try I loved it. It is a little different from the others because she is now a Knight and is not living  at the castle anymore. Also, instead of it being about her learning experiences, it is about a war with Scanra, a neighboring country. She was given a a vision by the Chamber of the Ordeal, and it returns to her often in Lady Knight. It is about huge man-killing robots and the man who makes them out of dead children’s spirits. Kel knows that the Chamber is sending her on a mission to stop this man. That is exactly what she does, although nothing is easy about it.


1. Magic Steps

2. Street Magic

3. Cold Fire

4. Shatterglass

This quartet picks up the lives of Sandry, Briar, Daja and Tris four years after the events of The Circle of Magic quartet. The four are out on their own for the first time.

(From Tamora Pierce’s Website – click here to read more about each book)


1. Trickster’s Choice

2. Tricksters’ Queen

This is a slightly different series than Alanna and Kel, because Aly, the main character, is a spy for a rebellion, not a knight. Also, it takes place in the Copper Isles, not Tortall. This is my second favorite series by Tammy, and I love her variation from knights to spies.

From book 1, Trickster’s Choice:

Alianne is the teenage daughter of the famed Alanna, the first lady knight in Tortall. Young Aly follows in the quieter footsteps of her father, however, delighting in the art of spying. When she is captured and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Islands, it is this skill that makes a difference in a world filled with political intrigue, murderous conspiracy, and warring gods.

From book 2, Trickser’s Queen:

No longer a slave, Alianne is now spying as part of an underground rebellion against the colonial rulers of the Copper Isles. The people in the rebellion believe that a prophecy in which a new queen will rise up to take the throne is about to be realized. Aly is busy keeping the potential teenaged queen and her younger siblings safe, while also keeping her in the dark about her future.


1. Will of the Empress

2. Melting Stones

I haven’t read either of these, unfortunately.

Will of the Empress (from Tamora Pierce’s Website):

Slowly Daja, Tris, and Briar return to Summersea and Sandry, but they are not the carefree youngsters they were when they left to travel with their teachers. They have things they don’t really want to share with the others in their old mental link. Sandry, trying to regain their old closeness, feels rejected and angry: she feels punished. With their refusal to renew their old ties bitter in her mind, she can’t believe it when they agree to Duke Vedris’s request that they accompany Sandry on a long-overdue visits to the lands and family that Sandry has in Namorn. The duke is right to worry about Sandry’s trip to the north. Empress Berenene of Namorn does not like it that any of the income from the vast Landreg estates has been leaving Namorn to fill Sandry’s pockets. She wants that money–and her marriageable young cousin–to stay in Namorn, where Berenene can manipulate both for the enrichment of her throne. Moreover, when she sees how powerful Sandry’s three young mage friends are, Berenene decides that she wants them to stay as well. To convince the four young people to stay, the wily, beautiful and powerful empress has an empire full of tricks: great mages who can trap less powerful ones, handsome young men and women devoted to her who will court whoever she orders them to, tax laws to beggar people who look to Sandry for help, family ties like Sandry’s cousin Ambros and his family, greenhouses and gardens beautiful enough to enchant even the most hard-hearted of garden mages. She is willing to offer Briar, Tris, and Daja money and power to serve her. She is intelligent, and she has a will of steel. What can four eighteen-year-olds do against her? It is not as if they are even strong at this point: Tris is besieged by visions, Sandry by lovers, Daja by love, Briar by horrific dreams from the last two years. They have people to look after, a madman, and Sandry’s new maid and her children. How can they possibly defy imperial Berenene and her powerful servants?

Melting Stones (from Tamora Pierce’s Website):

Residents on one of the Battle Islands south of Emelan have sent a call for help to Winding Circle temple: their plants and trees and the animals who live around them are dying off in patches, for no reason that they can work out.  From Winding Circle come two familiar figures: prickly green mage Rosethorn, whose plant magic will help her to decipher what’s ailing the plant life on the island, and Briar’s former student, the obstreperous stone mage Evumeimei, or Evvy, who is eager to travel once more. With them comes the eager and nervous Dedicate Initiate Myrrhtide, who will help them to communicate with Winding Circle should they need to, and the companion Evvy met while she, Rosethorn, and her former teacher Briar were traveling in distant Yanjing, Luvo, a being who is best described as a walking, intelligent rock. Though supposedly Evvy and Luvo are simply along for the ride, they are pulled into the island’s mystery when Evvy is caught up by the wild spirits loose in an immense bubble of molten rock quite close to the surface of the island. What Evvy, Luvo, Rosethorn, and the people of the island can do in the face of a fast-approaching volcano will be anyone’s guess. Can they evacuate the island?  Or worse–will they try to shift a volcano?


1. Terrier 

2. Bloodhound

3. Mastiff 

In Bloodhound, Beka Cooper faces a new problem in the form of silver coles (false coins) in the city of Corus. Beka is a Dog, a member of the Provost’s Guard, and the equivalent of today’s policemen. As a Dog, she takes charge the instant she finds out about the new silver coles poisoning the city’s money stream. After finding nothing helpful in Corus, Beka and her senior partner, Clary Goodwin, travel to Port Caynn to survey the city for any hints about the source of the colesmithing. Along the way, Beka gets into trouble with Pearl Skinner, the Rogue (leader of thieves) of Port Caynn, for disrupting the “peace” of her city. She also meets the very attractive, flirty inventor of the new game Gambler’s Chance, Dale Rowan, who may play a part in the colemongering. Beka faces a real problem in both Port Caynn and Corus because winter is approaching, and with coles in the money stream, prices are shooting up and tension is spreading. Beka keeps a careful record of all the important events that happen, plus more, pulls the reader in and gets them interested in the intense plot of this amazing book.

important resource: visit Tammy’s page to learn how to pronounce her names and places in all her books. Very helpful with Tamora’s large imagination :-)!


~ by monierosie on January 28, 2012.

3 Responses to “Tamora Pierce: Knights, Spies and Romance!”

  1. […] Tamora Pierce: Knights, Spies and Romance! (iloveromanticfantasy.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Tamora Pierce is my favorite author! 🙂

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