Review Blog

Sep 28 2007

Terrier, (Beka Cooper, book one. A Tortall Legend) by Tamora Pierce

cover image

Born into the Lower City, Beka's mother is a friend of some with influence and money and when she dies, Beka and her siblings are taken into the lord's household, where Beka decides she will train to be a Guard. Teamed with two Dogs, Goodwin and Turnstall, they are put on the night shift in the Lower City, a den of thieves, pickpockets and rats, and one of their first assignments is to discover why Crookshank's grandson has been killed.
The Shadow Snake, a story told to quieten children, has come to life and is stealing young ones from the streets, blackmailing their parents into their safe return.  Some, like Crookshank, do not believe in the Shadow Snake and refuse to pay, never seeing their children again.

Shy Beka, a Puppy, a trainee, has to follow her Dog's orders, but with her special powers she is able to pass on information. The city's pigeons speak to her, passing on the cries of the newly dead, wanting release, and she hears the cries of those children killed by the Snake. But some of the pigeons' cries are definitely not children, so the Dogs begin to investigate adult murders as well. The two investigations run parallel to the other until they become intricately involved, Beka finding that memories from her past help solve the kidnappings and murders.

The scope of Tamora Pierce's new novel is breathtaking. She tells a powerful story of a young woman coming of age, finding her place in the world. Enmeshed with magic, trials and mysteries, Beka Cooper will enthrall all of Pierce's fans and more. Pierce's mesmerizing world is endless as she peoples it with a huge cast of characters, all with a part to play within the magnificent medieval setting. A glossary at the end will help with the new words, and the list of characters with their parts is helpful for those gasping at the sheer size of the story. I loved it and was thrilled to find that this book is simply Book One. Fran Knight

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