Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness Series #1) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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Read by Trini Alvarado
Approx. 5 hours, 4 cassettes

Becoming a legend is not easy, as young Alanna of Trebond discovers when she disguises herself as a boy and begins training to be a knight. Alanna's skills and stubbornness help her befriend Prince Jonathan but alienate his evil uncle, Duke Roger. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, this ...
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Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness Series #1)

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Read by Trini Alvarado
Approx. 5 hours, 4 cassettes

Becoming a legend is not easy, as young Alanna of Trebond discovers when she disguises herself as a boy and begins training to be a knight. Alanna's skills and stubbornness help her befriend Prince Jonathan but alienate his evil uncle, Duke Roger. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, this book is a rousing introduction to the intensely satisfying story of Alanna.

Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure. "From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight." And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page. But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's first adventure begins -- one that will leard to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land. Alanna's journey continues.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tomboyish, adventuresome Alanna becomes a knight and a shaman over the course of her trials in the Song of the Lioness quartet. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Actress Trini Alvarado, known for her roles in such films as Little Women and Paulie: A Parrot's Tale, superbly narrates this unabridged audio version of Alanna: The First Adventure (Atheneum, 1983), the first book in the popular The Song of the Lioness quartet. Tamora Pierce's story of Alanna, a girl of noble birth who disguises herself as a boy in order to become a knight, is a spirited fantasy/adventure that is only made more captivating by Alvarado's lively performance. Alvarado brings Alanna's determined, yet at times insecure character to life. By utilizing several accents, she deftly distinguishes the many supporting characters from one another. The quality of the audio is clear, and the reading is well paced. Pairing Alvarado's vocal talents with Pierce's well written and engaging story makes this a quality audiobook worthy of inclusion in any audio collection.-Lori Craft, Downers Grove Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417720613
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Song of the Lioness Series, #1
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 1,155,281
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tamora Pierce
In the sixth grade, Tamora Pierce was encouraged by her father to start writing and she immediately got hooked. Once she discovered fantasy and science fiction, she tried to write the same kind of stories she read, only with teenaged girl heroines who were usually missing from the 1960s stories.

Before her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied psychology, Pierce rediscovered writing when she wrote her first original short story since tenth grade. She sold her first story a year later and then enrolled in a fiction writing course during her senior year. When her teacher suggested that she tackle a novel, her childhood ideas came back to her and she began her first sword and sorcery novel.

Pierce then worked as a housemother in an Idaho group home for teenaged girls, who loved hearing Alanna’s story from the in-progress quartet, Song of the Lioness. As Pierce continued to write and send out manuscripts, she moved to Manhattan to get her publishing career off the ground.

Pierce still lives in Manhattan with her husband, writer/filmmaker Tim, and their three cats, two parakeets, plus a floating population of rescued wildlife. She enjoys her hectic life as a full-time writer and she hopes that her books leave her readers with the feeling that they can achieve anything if they want it badly enough.

Tamora Pierce is a popular author of fantasy books for teenagers. In her latest quartet, Protector of the Small, readers follow heroine Kel as she rigorously trains for the knighthood.

From the Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt


The First Adventure
By Tamora Pierce

Simon Pulse

Copyright © 2005 Tamora Pierce
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689878559

Chapter One: Twins

"That is my decision. We need not discuss it," said the man at the desk. He was already looking at a book. His two children left the room, closing the door behind them.

"He doesn't want us around," the boy muttered. "He doesn't care what we want."

"We know that," was the girl's answer. "He doesn't care about anything, except his books and scrolls."

The boy hit the wall. "I don't want to be a knight! I want to be a great sorcerer! I want to slay demons and walk with the gods -- "

"D'you think I want to be a lady?" his sister asked. "'Walk slowly, Alanna,'" she said primly. "'Sit still, Alanna. Shoulders back, Alanna.' As if that's all I can do with myself!" She paced the floor. "There has to be another way."

The boy watched the girl. Thom and Alanna of Trebond were twins, both with red hair and purple eyes. The only difference between them -- as far as most people could tell -- was the length of their hair. In face and body shape, dressed alike, they would have looked alike.

"Face it," Thom told Alanna. "Tomorrow you leave for the convent, and I go to the palace. That's it."

"Why do you get all the fun?" she complained. "I'll have to learn sewing and dancing.You'll study tilting, fencing -- "

"D'you think I like that stuff?" he yelled. "I hate falling down and whacking at things! You're the one who likes it, not me!"

She grinned. "You should've been Alanna. They always teach the girls magic -- " The thought hit her so suddenly that she gasped. "Thom. That's it!"

From the look on her face, Thom knew his sister had just come up with yet another crazy idea. "What's it?" he asked suspiciously.

Alanna looked around and checked the hall for servants. "Tomorrow he gives us the letters for the man who trains the pages and the people at the convent. You can imitate his writing, so you can do new letters, saying we're twin boys. "You go to the convent. Say in the letter that you're to be a sorcerer. The Daughters of the Goddess are the ones who train young boys in magic, remember? When you're older, they'll send you to the priests. And I'll go to the palace and learn to be a knight!"

"That's crazy," Thom argued. "What about your hair? You can't go swimming naked, either. And you'll turn into a girl -- you know, with a chest and everything."

"I'll cut my hair," she replied. "And -- well, I'll handle the rest when it happens."

"What about Coram and Maude? They'll be traveling with us, and they can tell us apart. They know we aren't twin boys."

She chewed her thumb, thinking this over. "I'll tell Coram we'll work magic on him if he says anything," she said at last. "He hates magic -- that ought to be enough. And maybe we can talk to Maude."

Thom considered it, looking at his hands. "You think we could?" he whispered.

Alanna looked at her twin's hopeful face. Part of her wanted to stop this before it got out of hand, but not a very big part. "If you don't lose your nerve," she told her twin. And if I don't lose mine, she thought.

"What about Father?" He was already looking into the distance, seeing the City of the Gods.

Alanna shook her head. "He'll forget us, once we're gone." She eyed Thom. "D'you want to be a sorcerer bad enough?" she demanded. "It means years of studying and work for us both. Will you have the guts for it?"

Thom straightened his tunic. His eyes were cold. "Just show me the way!"

Alanna nodded. "Let's go find Maude."

Maude, the village healer, listened to them and said nothing. When Alanna finished, the woman turned and stared out the door for long minutes. Finally she looked at the twins again.

They didn't know it, but Maude was in difficulty. She had taught them all the magic she possessed. They were both capable of learning much more, but there were no other teachers at Trebond. Thom wanted everything he could get from his magic, but he disliked people. He listened to Maude only because he thought she had something left to teach him; he hated Coram -- the other adult who looked after the twins -- because Coram made him feel stupid. The only person in the world Thom loved, beside himself, was Alanna. Maude thought about Alanna and sighed. The girl was very different from her brother. Alanna was afraid of her magic. Thom had to be ordered to hunt, and Alanna had to be tricked and begged into trying spells.

The woman had been looking forward to the day when someone else would have to handle these two. Now it seemed the gods were going to test her through them one last time.

She shook her head. "I cannot make such a decision without help. I must try and See, in the fire."

Thom frowned. "I thought you couldn't. I thought you could only heal."

Maude wiped sweat from her face. She was afraid. "Never mind what I can do and what I cannot do," she snapped. "Alanna, bring wood. Thom, vervain."

They rushed to do as she said, Alanna returning first to add wood to the fire already burning on the hearth. Thom soon followed, carrying leaves from the magic plant vervain.

Maude knelt before the hearth and motioned for the twins to sit on either side of her. She felt sweat running down her back. People who tried to use magic the gods had not given them often died in ugly ways. Maude gave a silent prayer to the Great Mother Goddess, promising good behavior for the rest of her days if only the Goddess would keep her in one piece through this.

She tossed the leaves onto the fire, her lips moving silently with the sacred words. Power from her and from the twins slowly filled the fire. The flames turned green from Maude's sorcery and purple for the twins'. The woman drew a deep breath and grabbed the twins' left hands, thrusting them into the fire. Power shot up their arms. Thom yelped and wriggled with the pain of the magic now filling him up. Alanna bit her lower lip till it bled, fighting the pain her own way. Maude's eyes were wide and blank as she kept their intertwined hands in the flames.

Suddenly Alanna frowned. A picture was forming in the fire. That was impossible -- she wasn't supposed to See anything. Maude was the one who had cast the spell. Maude was the only one who should See anything.

Ignoring all the laws of magic Alanna had been taught, the picture grew and spread. It was a city made all of black, shiny stone. Alanna leaned forward, squinting to see it better. She had never seen anything like this city. The sun beat down on gleaming walls and towers. Alanna was afraid -- more afraid than she had ever been....

Maude let go of the twins. The picture vanished. Alanna was cold now, and very confused. What had that city been? Where was it?

Thom examined his hand. There were no burn marks, or even scars. There was nothing to show that Maude had kept their hands in the flames for long minutes.

Maude rocked back on her heels. She looked old and tired. "I have seen many things I do not understand," she whispered finally. "Many things -- "

"Did you see the city?" Alanna wanted to know.

Maude looked at her sharply. "I saw no city."

Thom leaned forward. "You saw something?" His voice was eager. "But Maude cast the spell -- "

"No!" Alanna snapped. "I didn't see anything! Anything!"

Thom decided to wait and ask her later, when she didn't look so scared. He turned to Maude. "Well?" he demanded.

The healing woman sighed. "Very well. Tomorrow Thom and I go to the City of the Gods."

At dawn the next day, Lord Alan gave each of his children a sealed letter and his blessing before instructing Coram and Maude. Coram still did not know the change in plan. Alanna did not intend to enlighten him until they were far from Trebond.

Once Lord Alan let them go, Maude took the twins to Alanna's room while Coram got the horses ready. The letters were quickly opened and read.

Lord Alan entrusted his son to the care of Duke Gareth of Naxen and his daughter to the First Daughter of the convent. Sums of money would be sent quarterly to pay for his children's upkeep until such time as their teachers saw fit to return them to their home. He was busy with his studies and trusted the judgment of the Duke and the First Daughter in all matters. He was in their debt, Lord Alan of Trebond.

Many such letters went to the convent and to the palace every year. All girls from noble families studied in convents until they were fifteen or sixteen, at which time they went to Court to find husbands. Usually the oldest son of a noble family learned the skills and duties of a knight at the king's palace. Younger sons could follow their brothers to the palace, or they could go first to the convent, then to the priests' cloisters, where they studied religion or sorcery.

Thom was expert at forging his father's handwriting. He wrote two new letters, one for "Alan," one for himself. Alanna read them carefully, relieved to see that there was no way to tell the difference between Thom's work and the real thing. The boy sat back with a grin, knowing it might be years before the confusion was resolved.

While Thom climbed into a riding skirt, Maude took Alanna into the dressing room. The girl changed into shirt, breeches and boots. Then Maude cut her hair.

"I've something to say to you," Maude said as the first lock fell to the floor.

"What?" Alanna asked nervously.

"You've a gift for healing." The shears worked on. "It's greater than mine, greater than any I have ever known. And you've other magic, power you'll learn to use. But the healing -- that's the important thing. I had a dream last night. A warning, it was, as plain as if the gods shouted in my ear."

Alanna, picturing this, stifled a giggle.

"It don't do to laugh at the gods," Maude told her sternly. "Though you'll find that out yourself, soon enough."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Never mind. Listen. Have you thought of the lives you'll take when you go off performing those great deeds?"

Alanna bit her lip. "No," she admitted.

"I didn't think so. You see only the glory. But there's lives taken and families without fathers and sorrow. Think before you fight. Think on who you're fighting, if only because one day you must meet your match. And if you want to pay for those lives you do take, use your healing magic. Use it all you can, or you won't cleanse your soul of death for centuries. It's harder to heal than it is to kill. The Mother knows why, but you've a gift for both." Quickly she brushed Alanna's cropped hair. "Keep your hood up for a bit, but you look enough like Thom to fool anyone but Coram."

Alanna stared at herself in the mirror. Her twin stared back, violet eyes wide in his pale face. Grinning, she wrapped herself in her cloak. With a last peek at the boy in the mirror, she followed Maude out to the courtyard. Coram and Thom, already mounted up, waited for them. Thom rearranged his skirts and gave his sister a wink.

Maude stopped Alanna as she went to mount the pony, Chubby. "Heal, child," the woman advised. "Heal all you can, or you'll pay for it. The gods mean for their gifts to be used."

Alanna swung herself into the saddle and patted Chubby with a comforting hand. The pony, sensing that the good twin was on his back, stopped fidgeting. When Thom was riding him, Chubby managed to dump him.

The twins and the two servants waved farewell to the assembled castle servants, who had come to see them off. Slowly they rode through the castle gate, Alanna doing her best to imitate Thom's pout -- or the pout Thom would be wearing if he were riding to the palace right now. Thom was looking down at his pony's ears, keeping his face hidden. Everyone knew how the twins felt at being sent away.

The road leading from the castle plunged into heavily overgrown and rocky country. For the next day or so they would be riding through the unfriendly forests of the Grimhold Mountains, the great natural border between Tortall and Scanra. It was familiar land to the twins. While it might seem dark and unfriendly to people from the South, to Alanna and Thom it would always be home.

At midmorning they came to the meeting of Trebond Way and the Great Road. Patrolled by the king's men, the Great Road led north to the distant City of the Gods. That was
the way Thom and Maude would take. Alanna and Coram were bound south, to the capital city of Corus, and the royal palace.

The two servants went apart to say goodbye and give the twins some privacy. Like Thom and Alanna, it would be years before Coram and Maude saw each other again. Though Maude would return to Trebond, Coram was to remain with Alanna, acting as her manservant during her years at the palace.

Alanna looked at her brother and gave a little smile. "Here we are," she said.

"I wish I could say 'have fun,'" Thom said frankly, "but I can't see how anyone can have fun learning to be a knight. Good luck, though. If we're caught, we'll both be skinned."

"No one's going to catch us, brother." She reached across the distance between them, and they gripped hands warmly. "Good luck, Thom. Watch your back."

"There are a lot of tests ahead for you," Thom said earnestly. "Watch your back."

"I'll pass the tests," Alanna said. She knew they were brave words, almost foolhardy, but Thom looked as if he needed to hear them. They turned their ponies then and rejoined the adults.

"Let's go," Alanna growled to Coram.

Maude and Thom took the left fork of the Great Road and Alanna and Coram bore right. Alanna halted suddenly, turning around to watch her brother ride off. She blinked the burning feeling from her eyes, but she couldn't ease the tight feeling in her throat. Something told her Thom would be very different when she saw him again. With a sigh she turned Chubby back toward the capital city.

Coram made a face and urged his big gelding forward. He would have preferred doing anything to escorting a finicky boy to the palace. Once he had been the hardiest soldier in the king's armies. Now he was going to be a joke. People would see that Thom was no warrior, and they would blame Coram -- the man who was to have taught him the basics of the warrior's craft. He rode for hours without a word, thinking his own gloomy thoughts, too depressed to notice that Thom, who usually complained after an hour's ride, was silent as well.

Coram had been trained as a blacksmith, but he had once been one of the best of the king's foot soldiers, until he had returned home to Trebond Castle and become sergeant-at-arms there. Now he wanted to be with the king's soldiers again, but not if they were going to laugh at him because he had a weakling for a master. Why couldn't Alanna have been the boy? She was a fighter. Coram had taught her at first because to teach one twin was to teach the other, poor motherless things. Then he began to enjoy teaching her. She learned quickly and well -- better than her brother. With all his heart Coram Smythesson wished now, as he had in the past, that Alanna were the boy.

He was about to get his wish, in a left-handed way. The sun was glinting from directly overhead -- time for the noon meal. Coram grunted orders to the cloaked child, and they both dismounted in a clearing beside the road. Pulling bread and cheese from a saddlebag, he broke off a share and handed it over. He also took the wineskin down from his saddle horn.

"We'll make the wayhouse by dark, if not before," he rumbled. "Till then, we make do with this."

Alanna removed her heavy cloak. "This is fine with me."

Coram choked, spraying a mouthful of liquid all over the road. Alanna had to clap him on the back before he caught his breath again.

"Brandy?" he whispered, looking at the wineskin. He returned to his immediate problem. "By the Black God!" he roared, turning spotty purple. "We're goin' back this instant, and I'm tannin' yer hide for ye when we get home! Where's that devils'-spawn brother of yours?"

"Coram, calm down," she said. "Have a drink."

"I don't want a drink," he snarled. "I want t' beat the two of ye till yer skins won't hold water!" He took a deep gulp from the wineskin.

"Thom's on his way to the City of the Gods with Maude," Alanna explained. "She thinks we're doing the right thing."

Coram swore under his breath. "That witch would agree with you two sorcerers. And what does yer father say?"

"Why should he ever know?" Alanna asked. "Coram, you know Thom doesn't want to be a knight. I do."

"I don't care if the two of ye want t' be dancing bears!" Coram told her, taking another swallow from the skin. "Ye're a girl."

"Who's to know?" She bent forward, her small face intent. "From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight -- Thom'll be a sorcerer. It'll happen. Maude saw it for us in the fire."

Coram made the Sign against evil with his right hand. Magic made him nervous. Maude made him nervous. He drank again to settle his nerves. "Lass, it's a noble thought, a warrior's thought, but it'll never work. If ye're not caught when ye bathe, ye'll be turning into a woman -- "

"I can hide all that -- with your help. If I can't, I'll disappear."

"Yer father will have my hide!"

She made a face. "Father doesn't care about anything but his scrolls." She drew a breath. "Coram, I'm being nice. Thom wouldn't be this nice. D'you want to see things that aren't there for the next ten years? I can work that, you know. Remember when Cook was going to tell Father who ate the cherry tarts? Or the time Godmother tried to get Father to marry her?"

Coram turned pale. The afternoon the tarts were discovered missing, Cook started to see large, hungry lions following him around the kitchens. Lord Alan never heard about the missing tarts. When the twins' godmother came to Trebond to snare Lord Alan as her next husband, she had fled after only three days, claiming the castle was haunted.

"Ye wouldn't," Coram whispered. He had always suspected that the twins had been behind Cook's hallucinations and Lady Catherine's ghosts, but he had kept those thoughts to himself. Cook gave himself airs, and Lady Catherine was cruel to her servants.

Seeing she had struck a nerve, Alanna changed tactics. "Thom can't shoot for beans, and I can. Thom wouldn't be a credit to you. I will, I think. You said yourself a grown man can't skin a rabbit faster'n me." She fed her last piece of bread to Chubby and looked at Coram with huge, pleading eyes. "Let's ride on. If you feel the same in the morning, we can turn back." She crossed her fingers as she lied. She had no intention of returning to Trebond. "Just don't rush. Father won't know till it's too late."

Coram swigged again from the skin, getting up shakily. He mounted, watching the girl. They rode silently while Coram thought, and drank.

The threat about making him see things didn't worry him much. Instead he thought of Thom's performance in archery -- it was enough to make a soldier cry. Alanna was much quicker than her brother. She rarely tired, even hiking over rough country. She had a feel for the fighting arts, and that was something that never could be learned. She was also as stubborn as a mule.

Because he was absorbed in his thoughts, Coram never saw the wood snake glide across the road. Alanna -- and Coram's horse -- spotted the slithery creature in the same second. The big gelding reared, almost throwing his master. Chubby stopped dead in the road, surprised by these antics. Coram yelled and fought to hold on as his mount bucked frantically, terrified by the snake. Alanna never stopped to think. She threw herself from Chubby's saddle and grabbed for Coram's reins with both hands. Dodging the gelding's flying hooves frantically, she used all her strength and weight to pull the horse down before Coram fell and broke his neck.

The gelding, more surprised than anything else by the new weight on his reins, dropped to all fours. He trembled as Alanna stroked his nose, whispering comforting words. She dug in a pocket and produced an apple for the horse, continuing to pet him until his shaking stopped.

When Alanna looked up, Coram was watching her oddly. She had no way of knowing that he was imagining what Thom would have done in similar circumstances: Her twin would have left Coram to fend for himself. Coram knew the kind of courage it took to calm a large, bucking horse. It was the kind of courage a knight needed in plenty. Even so, Alanna was a girl....

By the time they arrived at the wayhouse, Coram was very drunk. The innkeeper helped him to bed while his wife fussed over "the poor wee lad." In her bed that night, Alanna listened to Coram's snores with a wide grin on her lips. Maude had managed to fill the wineskin with Lord Alan's best brandy, hoping her old friend might be more open to reason if his joints were well oiled.

Coram woke the next morning with the worst hangover he had ever had. He moaned as Alanna entered his room.

"Don't walk so loud," he begged.

Alanna handed him a steaming mug. "Drink. Maude says this makes you feel better every time."

The man drank deeply, gasping as the hot liquid burned down his throat. But in the end, he did feel better. He swung his feet to the floor, gently rubbing his tender skull. "I need a bath."

Alanna pointed to the bath already waiting in the corner.

Coram glared at her from beneath his eyebrows. "Go order breakfast. I take it I'm to call ye 'Alan' now?"

She yelped with joy and skipped from the room.

Four days later they rode into Corus just after dawn. They were part of the stream of people entering the capital for the market day. Coram guided his horse through the crowds, while Alanna tried to keep Chubby close behind him and still see everything. Never in her life had she encountered so many people! She saw merchants, slaves, priests, nobles. She could tell the Bazhir -- desert tribesmen -- by their heavy white burnooses, just as she spotted seamen by their braided pigtails. She was lucky that Chubby was inclined to stay near Coram's gelding, or she would have been lost in a second.

The marketplace itself was almost more than a girl from a mountain castle could take. Alanna blinked her eyes at the bright colors -- piles of orange and yellow fruits, hangings of bright blue and green, ropes of gold and silver chains. Some people were staring as openly as she was. Others shoved their goods under people's noses, shouting for them to buy. Women in tight dresses eyed men from doorways, and children ran underfoot, sneaking their hands into pockets and purses.

Coram missed nothing. "Keep an eye to yer saddlebags," he called back to Alanna. "There are some here as would steal their own mother's teeth!" He seemed to be directing this comment at a tall young man standing near Alanna.

The lean young man grinned, white teeth flashing in his tanned face. "Who, me?" he asked innocently.

Coram snorted and kicked his horse onward. The man winked one bright hazel eye at Alanna and vanished into the crowd. She watched him until someone shouted for her to watch herself. She wondered if he really was a thief. He seemed very nice.

They left the marketplace, taking the Market Way up a long, sloping hill. This led them through districts where rich merchants lived, up past the villas of even richer nobles. The crossing of Market Way and Harmony Way marked the beginning of the Temple District. Here the Market Way changed its name, becoming the Palace Way. Coram straightened his saddle. After his years of soldiering, this was like coming home.

Alanna saw countless temples as they rode through the district. She had heard that a hundred gods were worshiped in Corus. There were enough temples for that many, she thought. She even saw a troop of women dressed in armor, the guard of the Temple of the Great Mother Goddess. These women were armed with great double-headed axes, and they knew how to use them. Their duty was to keep men from ever setting foot on ground sacred to the Great Mother.

Alanna grinned. Someday she would wear armor too, but she wouldn't be confined to temple grounds!

The ground suddenly rose steeply. The Temple District ended here. Above them, crowning the hill, was the royal palace. Alanna looked at it and gasped. Ahead of her was the City Gate, carved with thousands of figures and trimmed with gold. Through this gate in the palace wall, kings and queens came down to the city on holy days. Through this gate the people went to see their rulers on Great Audience Days. The Gate was as high as the wall it pierced: a wall lined with soldiers dressed in the royal gold and red. Behind the wall, level after level of buildings and towers rose, up to the palace itself. The area had its own gardens, wells, stables, barracks and menagerie. Outside the wall on the other side lay the Royal Forest.

All these things Alanna knew from her father's books and maps, but the reality took her breath away as a paragraph written in a book never could.

Coram led the way to the courtyard beside the stables. Here servants awaited the arrival of guests, to show them to their rooms, to guide the arrivals' servants and to take charge of the horses. One such servant approached them.

Coram dismounted. "I'm Coram Smythesson, of Fief Trebond. I'm come with Master Alan of Trebond to begin his service at Court."

The hostler bowed. A royal page rated some respect, but not the respect a full-grown noble would get. "I'll be takin' th' horses, sir," he said, his voice thick with the accent of the city. "Timon!" he called.

A slender young man in royal livery hurried up. "Aye, Stefan?"

"One fer his Grace. I'll see t' the bags."

Alanna dismounted and hugged Chubby for a second, feeling as if he were her last friend. She had to hurry to catch up with Timon and Coram.

"Ye'll show his Grace the proper respect," Coram growled in her ear. "A wizard with a sword, he is, and a better leader ye'll never meet."

Alanna rubbed her nose anxiously. What if something went wrong? What if the Duke guessed?

She glanced at Coram. The man was sweating. Alanna gritted her teeth and thrust her chin forward stubbornly. She would see this through.

Copyright © 1983 by Tamora Pierce


Excerpted from Alanna by Tamora Pierce Copyright © 2005 by Tamora Pierce. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 618 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2008

    This book is AWESOME!!

    Oh my gosh...this book is one of the best books i've read! I used to hate books, but then i read this one...I think it's the combination of adventure, a little bit of a romance, and a girl just trying to find herself that makes it great. I can relate to Alanna so much. The characters are so real, too, that it's hard to forget that they really aren't real. I had been reading another book when my friend let me borrow this and it was so good that i have never finished the book i was reading...i had to finish the series. If you haven't read need is so worth your time and money!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Strong Heroine - caution for very young readers

    Strong Heroine that fights for her dream in a man's world - being a knight. Enjoyed the story. Written for a very young audience (4th-6th) and the simplistic style reflects that. Starts slow but has a lot of action in the middle. That pattern occurs throughout the series with long segments that are slow followed by a short segment of high action. One note of caution for very young readers is that there are several seemingly forced segments where the heroine considers whether to have sex. In every case she decides that it is ok as long as she likes the fella and has her charm against pregnancy. I thought it was a very mature topic handled in an immature manner by an immature character. It was not explicit in any way, however. Some young readers may be uncomfortable with the chapter on the young woman coming of age (learning how to deal with her period).

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This book made me love reading. After reading this in 7th grade

    This book made me love reading. After reading this in 7th grade I became the biggest bookworm I know!! I suggest every girl should read this book to find a heroine to connect to. Since then I've read (and own) almost all of Tamora Pierce's books, and have loved all of them. Even now in my 20's I re-read her books and love them. Whenever I feel the need to read a book I love I always start up here with this series!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012


    All of the books Tamira writes are full of adventure, a bit of suspense and humor. This, the first book in the Alanna series and in fact the rest of the books are no exception. The main character is a young girl who knows what she wants and goes for it. As an added bonus as the main character grows older and more mature so does the content of the books. It's an amazing book and I would, and in fact do, recommend it to everyone looking for an amazing adventure book, or really any book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Love it

    I have read this book a million times, it never gets old.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013


    This book was amazing! I love how strong Alana is, and how she does what she wants in life, no matter the consequences. I think that she is extremelt smart while handling tough situations, and I find myself constantly admiring her. The book itself was terrific. It has a perfect story line, matching characters, with a little romance and comedy. I really enjoy reading this book, and I recommend it to everybody.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book got me in to reading

    I got this book when I was maybe 12, and have been a huge fan of Tamora Pierce ever since. I have re-read all of her books so many times, and they never get old.

    This book will always hold a special place in my heart.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012


    Tamora Pierce is such a wonderful author! I couldn't put it down! All her books are fantastic, especially the Protector of the Small quartet.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Got me into reading

    As a girl who hated reading, this book and the rest of the series made me enjoy reading for the first time ever. I read this series a second time eight years later and I still enjoyed this easy read. It has all the aspects that make a good story. The series has a girl who was told she couldn't do something by the society of the time, situations that are hard for the main character but she comes out on top, magic, fighting, codes of honor, and (for every girl) a litte romance.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    I love these books

    No matterhow many times I have read these books since I was 11 years old.. I have loved them. It is a good clean story for those girls who just dont want another fairy princess

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2011

    Graet as always

    Tamoria Pierce is the best. This is another of her seemingly endless amount of perfect books. This new story adds new elements to the world of Tortall. I especially like how George, who is a decendant of Beka Cooper plays a role in this amazing novel and I can not wait to read the next instalement.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    One of my favorites

    This book is awesome. One of my all time favorites. Tamora Pierce is a legend of a writer!

    I have this book at home as well as the rest of the series and then some. Just thought I'd add my rating here.

    Fantastic YA novel that can be read by the young and the young at heart. The adventure draws you in and who couldn't love a tough young and determined female main characther!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    highly recommended

    Alanna the first adventure: song of the lioness series by Tamora pierce it is in the fantasy genre it was published December 8, 2009 this book is about a young girl named alanna who wants to be knight but her father insists she goes to school to learn about her magic and become a mage. But her twin brother Thom also has magic and doesn't want to go be a knight. So the make a plan and switch places. Alanna takes her brothers place and Thom goes to the temple to learn sorcery.

    I think this is a really good book it is the book that got me hooked on reading, and now I can't stop reading Tamora pierce's books she is a very descriptive writer and i would definitely recommend it to anyone. It is very descriptive and adventurous.

    alanna is a very likable and easy to relate to character, she wants something that wasn't even thought of in that time period, and throughout the story she fights for what she wants and doesn't care what anyone else says. She goes through many trials to hide her true identity. A number of things can happen to her if she gets caught and she meets new people many are fellow pages but some are of the lower city, thieves and robbers, who help her get through training.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of my favotites

    I loved this book. I have read some of her other books but nothing compaires to this thriller. I feel in love with all of the characters and i only hope she will end up with George. I am half way through the second one and i cant wait for her to decide. I recomend this book to anyone who likes a great read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just amazing! So glad I rediscovered this treasure!

    I was never really interested in reading, and my mother had bought me this entire series when I was young (about 10) as well as Pierce's 'The Immortals' series. I had started reading it then, but for whatever reason never finished. Twelve years later, cleaning out my old room in my parents house I found these books. I figured 'why not?' and started reading them again. What a wonderful surprise!! I couldn't believe how difficult it was for me to put these down!

    Tamora Pierce has a way of writing that will really draws you right in along side the characters, who have amazingly lively personalities and live in a wonderfully diverse and 'alive' world. This book was filled with action, adventure, magic, a little bit of romance, and wonderful heart felt moments that made me laugh and cry.

    If you have a hard time picking up books, but want to try a fantasy/adventure novel, these are great starters, as the four books in the Lioness Series (of which this book is #1) are all around 200 pages. I would also HIGHLY recommend 'The Immortals' as it aids to continue on Alanna's story a little bit, and adds some new wonderfully enjoyable characters.

    ~~Semi Spolier!!!~~
    Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with the 'Trickster's Queen' series about Alanna's daughter. It was very long, and not much action magic to hold my interest at all. While there were some funny parts, and some fights, it was mostly a mystery novel, with a little bit of magic, and politics thrown in the mix. I'm having quite a bit of trouble wanting to sit down and finish the book, despite being only about 100 pages away.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I'm not quite sure how, but somewhere along the way in my fantasy reading I totally missed out on the perfectness that is Tamora Pierce. Most likely this omission is due to my not reading teen books while a teenager. That said, I've had several people recommend I start with Pierce's Alanna series and I am happy to report these books are as wonderful as everyone told me they were. Surprise, surprise.

    Neither Alanna nor her twin brother Thom want to be what their father (and the rest of the world) want them to be. Thom has always preferred books and sorcery to outdoor pursuits while Alanna isn't happy unless she's out riding, hunting, or in general behaving like a boy. Both Alanna and Thom are more than disappointed when their bookish father decides to send them away - Thom to the castle to learn to be a Knight and Alanna to a local convent to study. Desperate to be spared their fates, Alanna chops off her hair and forges letters from their father sending Alanna as a boy to the castle and Thom to the convent to learn sorcery. Upon arriving at the castle, no one guesses Alanna's secret and she is free to train as a page. Though small, the other boys and adults are impressed with the spunky 'Alan' as she is now known and through hard work earns the respect of everyone around her.

    Alanna is wonderful - she never understands her true worth or why those around her love her so much but it's immediately obvious to the reader. She works much harder than anyone else to become the best, especially since she much smaller than the other boys. I also loved Tamora Pierce's frank narrative style that seems to follow Alanna's mental development as well as her physical. Her world building is also a standout - a whole pantheon of gods and intriguing political relationships that continue to lend more maturity to the books as Alanna develops. This series was truly a revelation to me and I can't believe I have waited so long to read them. You can be sure I'll be finishing them in a hurry.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2001

    Pierce has out done herself this time.

    As an avid reader, I was able to find this book and the rest of it's quartet outstanding. In 'Protector of the Small' Pierce's charecters seem life less with the exception of the main one. This book actually allows you to meet all the charecters, from Alanna herself, to the Prince, and down the stefan the Stable Manager. These charecters jump to life from the first chapter. Not only is it not just a gateway for the other three books in it's serise, but I would reccomed it to both girls and Guys, avid reader or not it will shake the reading blues right out of your system.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2000

    Great Opener!!!!

    This book had me from the first page to the last. I pick it up and read parts over now and then. George and Jon are really cool, and Roger is a perfect enemy. Alanna is really brave, braver than I would have been, and shows her sprit in the Black City. You have to read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2015

    Love the series!


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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2015

    Wonderful book!!

    The author does a wonderful job at immersing the reader in a world filled with magic, mystery, adventure and romance. I do agree with the caution for younger readers (12 and under) but even then, there is nothing extremly lewd. You just may find yourself answering questions before your ready to talk about them. You will fall in love with the characters and the world they live in.

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