In this 550-page stand-alone sequel, Beka Cooper, the first-person protagonist of Terrier, finally becomes a full-fledged Dog. (For those of you who missed that trilogy starter, "Dogs" are the guards who serve under Lord Provost to keep the peace in Tortall.) In her first important assignment, she must sniff out the culprits in an international counterfeit money scheme. A rookie cop who will win the empathy of any perceptive teenager; the linchpin volume of an exciting fantasy series.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Yes, Beka has graduated from "Pup" to "Dog" the city of Corus' police jargon for a first-year patrolmanand already she is in trouble. She cannot keep a partner or keep her nose out of criminal plots considered beyond her abilities, but she is tough, honest, obsessed, and newly blessed with Achoo, a much-abused scent dog. Suddenly, squashing Rogue Queens and counterfeiting rings seems possible. With her growing self-confidence, even a love affair seems possible. Beka Cooper could easily become one of the most honored heroines in the realm of Tortall. This is no small distinction in the fantasy universe (readers will see shades of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, without the surreal humor), created by Tamora Pierce. It should be noted, however, that Beka's world is a night world, and Pierce has peopled it with night people. Prostitutes, discussions of birth control, and a nicely portrayed transvestite make this a definite young adult read, and it will be read, because as usual with Pierce's books, this title is hard to put down! Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
Two hundred years before Alanna disguised herself as a boy to become a knight in Pierce's The Song of the Lioness quartet, Beka Cooper, the ancestor of Alanna's husband, George Cooper, master thief and spy, joins the Provost Guard to become a police officer. Beka was a trainee in the first book, Terrier (Random House, 2006/VOYA February 2007). In this middle book of the trilogy, she is a junior police officer, and her second year on the force is quite a challenge. She goes through four unsuitable partners and is abandoned by Pounce, her god cat, who is off on a personal mission. Beka gets a replacement in Achoo, a scent hound she rescued from an abusive trainer. The ghosts in pigeons and the spirits in spinning dust funnels still talk to her, which comes in handy when she and Goodwin, her former trainer, go to Port Caynn to investigate who is behind the spread of counterfeit silver coins. The investigation leads her to Pearl, the dangerous Rogue of the city, who is involved in a scheme that puts all of Tortall at risk. Beka also meets and falls in love with a young bank courier, who shows her a good time but then bids her a fond farewell when she returns home. This compelling first-person narrative, recounted by Beka in the pages of her journal, includes a vivid cast of characters and lots of action. It is fantasy, an excellent police procedural, and an immensely satisfying read. Mystery and fantasy fans will be eagerly awaiting the next installment of Beka Cooper's adventures. Reviewer: Bonnie Kunzel
In this sequel to Terrier, Pierce explores a rougher, less magical side of Tortallan history through the journal of Beka Cooper, junior Dog in the Provost's Guard. Beka's restless tenacity in the hunt runs her afoul of city authorities and criminal leaders alike when she is sent to the neighboring town of Port Caynn to investigate an influx of counterfeit coins that threatens the economic stability of the entire kingdom. Beka must stay focused on her investigation while retaining her cover and navigating her romance with a handsome gambler who may or may not be involved in the counterfeiting ring she is bound, by law and by personal commitment, to sniff out. Bloodhound retains the element of fantasy that captivated fans of Pierce's earlier Tortallan legends, but its focus on the coarse realities of city life makes Beka's tale even more relatable to modern readers well-versed in the crimedrama genre. Reviewer: Nicole Barrick
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
Fans of Pierce's medieval fantasy police-procedural series will love this book as much as Terrier (Random, 2006). Beka, 17, is serving her first year as a Dog (police officer) in the Provost's Guard. She and her mentor and old partner, Goodwin, are sent from Corus to Port Caynn to try to discover the source of the counterfeit silver coins that are flooding the region, causing soaring grain prices and riots in Corus. Beka is accompanied by Achoo, the scent hound she rescued from its abusive handler. While in Port Caynn, she and Goodwin tangle with Pearl, Queen of the Thieves, and her crew. Beka falls for Dale, a handsome and charming gambler and bank courier who may be in league with Pearl. The action drags a bit in the middle to focus on the romance but makes up for it in the end. Pierce vividly imagines this world in which police procedures are different, yet similar to those of today. Ponce, Beka's wise cat, who is also a God, is mostly absent but Beka's other unusual magical sources of information-pigeons inhabited by talking ghosts of the dead and spirits in spinning dust funnels-continue to add to the series' appeal. Beka is as headstrong and feisty as ever and frequently makes errors in judgment but is willing to learn from her mistakes. She truly earns the nickname Bloodhound as she faithfully narrates her story through journal entries.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
In this second volume in Pierce's historical Tortall trilogy, Beka Cooper is now a junior Dog (police officer) in the Corus slums. Beka's uncompromising morality will never make her popular, but it nets her a high class of friends-and gains her a new scent-hound (endearingly named Achoo), rescued from a brutal former master. Her latest adventure starts slowly, with creeping worry about the large number of counterfeit silver coins she's seen. Soon she's investigating the counterfeits in the nearby city of Port Caynn, befriending gamblers and making enemies of both magistrates and criminals. Beka's Tortall is clearly distinct from the 200-years-later Tortall of the Alanna books: Elizabethan-inspired (and decipherable) slang adds earthy flavor, and the thin line between crime and law shows more subtlety than the high-fantasy good and evil of Alanna's world. Despite the languid pace, Beka's detective work will appeal not just to Pierce fans, but to lovers of police procedurals. After all, the detail-oriented, plodding movement of the story-much like Beka's own method-builds to a well-established, satisfying revelation. (Fantasy. 11-14)
Read an Excerpt
Thursday, September 6, 247 H.E.
I should have known tonight’s watch would kiss the mule’s bum when Sergeant Ahuda stopped me after baton training. “A private word, Cooper,” she told me, and pulled me into a quiet corner of the yard. Her dark eyes were sharp on my face. We’d gotten on well since I’d finished my Puppy year and in my five months’ work as a Dog. I couldn’t think what I might have done to vex her.
“Your reports have gotten sloppy.” That was Ahuda, never one to soften her words. “You leave out detail, you skip what’s said. You used to write the best reports of any Puppy or first-year Dog, but not of late. Have you slacked on the memory exercises?”
I gazed at the ground. Of course I’ve been slacking. What’s the use, with partners like I’ve had? Ahuda put her brown fist under my chin and thrust my head up so I’d look her in the eye. “Shall I send you back to Puppy training for a refreshing in memory study?”
“Sarge, please don’t.” The plea left my mouth before I could stop the words. Goddess, not Puppy training again, not even one class! I’d never hear the end of it!
Ahuda took her fist away and propped it on one of her sturdy hips. “Then however you kept your memory quick before, start doing it again. Steel yourself, wench! You’re not the only first-year Dog with partners who are less than gold. Work with it!”
She marched back to the kennel. I went to wash and put on my uniform. We had the Happy Bag to collect tonight, me and my partner Silsbee. Our route took us along Fortunetellers’ Walk, where I’d be sure to find a shop that sold journal books. I’d thought I wouldn’t need to keep one after my Puppy year, but if Ahuda was complaining of my reports, it was time to start again.
I didn’t even have Pounce to make me feel better as we mustered for the Evening Watch. The cat had stopped coming with us three days after I’d been partnered with Silsbee. I’d begged him to come. It was Pounce’s remarks about folk, and about Silsbee himself, that made it easier for me to walk patrol with the man, but Pounce would have none of it.
He bores me, and he only lets you do boring things, too, my annoying constellation cat said. I see no reason why both of us should be bored.
And so I went out to collect our Happy Bag’s worth of bribes with Silsbee and no one else, listening to him jabber about the meal his wife had prepared before he came on watch. Those huge meals are one reason that when we reached our patrol route, I visited all the shopkeepers with businesses upstairs. On Fortunetellers’ Walk they went up three and four stories, each room with a crystal reader, or a palm reader, or any other kind of reader. Silsbee stood below and blabbered with the ground-floor shopkeepers. They brought him drinks and cakes, stupid loobies. Did they think he’d run after the Rat that stole their goods? I did all the climbing in the miserable heat, just as I would run down their Rats when they came.
We gathered the Happy Bag and finished our watch. Ersken invited me to supper with him, his partner Birch, and some of the others, but I was in no mood for it. I just don’t feel like I earn that extra bit from the Happy Bag with Silsbee dragging at me all the time. It makes me feel low.
I was walking through the kennel courtyard when I noticed that Silsbee waited by the gate. He crooked a finger at me. “A word with ye, Cooper,” he said.
My temples banged. The last thing I wanted was any kind of speech with that sheep biter when I was off duty, but he was my senior partner. I went to him.
“I’ll speak with Sergeant Ahuda, but ye’ve the right to know first. I’m requestin’ a new partner.” He dug at his teeth with a wooden pick. “Ye really deserve that name they give ye, Terrier. Y’ are a Terrier. Ye make me nervous, with yer hands and feet twitchin’ and yer teeth grindin’, allus wantin’ t’ chase after every wee noise and squeak. Even in this weather! If I was younger—but I ain’t. It’s best we say we’re not suited before we get fond.”
“You’re cutting me loose.” I said it slow, just to be sure I had it right. It hurt, to hear the nickname I was so proud of turned against me.
“Ye give me fidgets.” He shrugged and held out his hands as if to say, “What am I to do?”
“You—” I said, trying not to show my fury. “Do you know how many Rats I could have caught and hobbled, had you not held me back?”
“Now, Cooper, don’t make me write ye up for sauce.” He waved that disgusting toothpick at me. There was a chunk of something on its end.
“You want to hear sauce?” Two weeks of working with the louse boiled over and out of my mouth. “You walk a bit, and you stop for a jack of ale. Then you stroll a block or three, till you need ‘a wee tidbit,’ as would feed a family of five. A cove gets his pocket picked? ‘We’ll have Day Watch pick that Rat up,’ you say. ‘There’s folk with children to feed on Day Watch as can use the bribes.’ Someone cries murder a street over? ‘Plenty of folk hereabouts put up a shout because they like to make me run. I ain’t a-fallin’ for that trick again.’ Once we get there, any Rats are gone—it’s enough to make a mot scream.”
“I’m beginnin’ t’ see why ye’re not well favored when it comes to partners, Cooper,” he said. “Ye say nothin’ for days, then ye talk sewer muck.”
He strolled into the kennel, as smug as a tax man with soldiers at his back. I stood there, shaking, my hands clenched so tight around my new-bought journal that they cramped.
From the Hardcover edition.