Lady Knight (Protector of the Small Series #4)

( 343 )


Kel has finally achieved her lifelong dream of being a knight. But it’s not turning out as she imagined at all. She is torn between a duty she has sworn to uphold and a quest that she feels could turn the tide of war. . . .
“Unrelentingly realistic in its depiction of the horrors of war . . . Pierce provides exquisite details of the weaponry, topography, and culture of her world, and her control of a ...

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Lady Knight (Protector of the Small Series #4)

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Kel has finally achieved her lifelong dream of being a knight. But it’s not turning out as she imagined at all. She is torn between a duty she has sworn to uphold and a quest that she feels could turn the tide of war. . . .
“Unrelentingly realistic in its depiction of the horrors of war . . . Pierce provides exquisite details of the weaponry, topography, and culture of her world, and her control of a voluminous cast of characters is masterful.”

When she became a knight, eighteen-year-old Kel hoped to be given a combat post, but instead she finds herself named commander of an outpost of refugees, where she must face the unnatural forces of the evil Balyce.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of Tamora Pierce, the fourth and final Protector of the Small installment is here!

Keladry of Mindelan has become a knight, and she can't forget one crucial task that the Chamber of the Ordeal has set before her: to destroy the Nothing Man, Blayce the Gallan, the leader of horrible killing machines. Now that that war-thirsty King Maggur has "brought all Scanra's clans into his grip," Kel is determined to fight any invading troops until she can enter Scanran territory and find Blayce. Unfortunately, she's been given a position that makes it rather difficult -- head of a refugee camp, away from the front lines. Can she stand to push back the battle fire that burns within her? Will she ever conquer Blayce and live up to her nickname as Protector of the Small? With her honor to Tortall -- along with her life -- at stake, Kel makes some powerful choices that could mean victory or defeat.

Packed with startling, graphic action and reassuring humanity, Lady Knight is a thrilling conclusion to Pierce's four-book series. Not only is Kel a fierce knight, but her humor and modesty make her a true leader that anyone would want on their side. The ending is also energizing and suspenseful, and we can only hope that Tamora Pierce might spin off more books from one of Lady Knight's many characters. A lion-hearted success! Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
PW called this fourth and final book in the series, in which Keladry ("Kel") of Mindelan realizes her dream of becoming a knight but soon discovers that it brings unforeseen responsibilities, a "compelling conclusion." Ages 12-up. (Aug.)n Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This eagerly awaited fourth and final book in the Protector of the Small series will not disappoint Pierce's many fans. Keladry of Mindelan is one of two lady knights in all the kingdom of Tortall. Tortall and its neighbor Scanra are engaged in military conflict, and Kel joins Tortall's armies near the shared border. Upon arriving, Kel does not receive a battle assignment as she had hoped, but the command of a refugee camp instead, a task not to her liking. Nevertheless, with Scanra's phantom killing machines on the rampage, Kel discovers her talents for compassion and diplomacy are needed to safeguard the war's victims. In a wrenching conclusion, Kel must choose between the army and her refugees, when a Scanran mage kidnaps refugee children and Kel's superiors order her to abandon the refugees to a murderous enchantment. Disobeying orders, Kel attempts a perilous rescue whose outcome brings the series to a well-paced conclusion. Unrelentingly realistic in its depiction of the horrors of war, this novel draws the reader into a complete and believable fantasy world. Pierce provides exquisite details of the weaponry, topography, and culture of her world, and her control of a voluminous cast of characters is masterful. Readers will be gratified by Pierce's ability to develop Kel's maturing personality, as well as those of characters from previous novels. Hand this chunky novel to your resident Pierce readers and watch them devour it gleefully. Every teen collection should stock this title. VOYA CODES: 5Q 5P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Random House, 448p,
— Caitlin Augusta
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2002: In this last book of the series, set in the medieval fantasy land of Tortall, 18-year-old Kel has finally achieved her dream of becoming a knight. She is only the second woman to attain this status, and when she is kept from battle and placed in charge of a refugee camp she is angry at first. But then the camp is brutally attacked by magical machines, and action is called for. Meanwhile, Kel has had a vision of a man who has created these awful machines-powered by children's souls-and she knows it is her destiny to stop him. Kel can communicate with animals, which often comes in handy, but her bravery, brains, and skill as a commander are even more important than her magical skills. This is a wonderful series, filled with action and adventure while tracking the growth of Kel as she struggles through her knighthood training. In this final novel, readers will see parallels with the events of 9/11, as Pierce points out in her notes and acknowledgments at the end. (There is also a list of the cast of characters and a glossary.) It's satisfying to see Kel growing into her new role as knight and succeeding in her destiny as Protector of the Small, saving the children and animals she loves and finally defeating a nasty enemy. (Protector of the Small, Book 4). KLIATT Codes: JS*-Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Random House, 431p., Ages 12 to 18.
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-In this fourth and final book in the series, Kel is now 18 and her knighthood is guaranteed after she passes her final test as a squire, which involves facing her fears and overcoming them while in the Chamber of the Ordeal. During the Ordeal, she has a vision of an ugly little man directing monsterlike, metal machines to kill children and use their souls to fuel them. She hears a voice telling her that her task is to find this "Nothing Man" and stop the killing, and she becomes determined to steal away, hunt him down, and destroy him. Orders dictate otherwise and Kel finds herself the Commander of a refugee camp for people who've lost their homes in the fighting between Tortall and neighboring Scanran. While she is away from camp, it is attacked and many refugees, mostly children, are kidnapped. She disobeys orders and rides off alone to try to save them. This meaty book has lots of fighting and challenges to Kel's authority, allowing her once again to prove that she is equal to the men. Her compassion for those weaker than herself and her strong leadership skills make her an appealing protagonist. All of the characters from the previous books are here, and Pierce neatly ties all the plot threads together in a way that should please her fans. She also provides a helpful list of characters and a glossary. This is an essential and satisfying book for anyone who enjoyed the others in the series.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375829086
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/24/2004
  • Series: Protector of the Small Series, #4
  • Pages: 429
  • Sales rank: 86,628
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce has captured the imagination of readers everywhere with her twelve acclaimed books set in the magical medieval realm of Tortall, as well as with her fantasy books for younger readers. She lives in New York City with her husband, Tim, and their four cats and two birds. Visit her at both and Look for the entire Song of the Lioness quartet as well as Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen on audio from Listening Library.
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Read an Excerpt

Storm Warriors

Keladry of Mindelan lay with the comfortable black blanket of sleep wrapped around her. Then, against the blackness, light moved and strengthened to show twelve large, vaguely rat- or insectlike metal creatures, devices built for murder. The killing devices were magical machines made of iron-coated giants' bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long, whiplike tail. The seven-foot-tall devices stood motionless in a half circle as the light revealed what lay at their feet: a pile of dead children.

With the devices and the bodies visible, the light spread to find the man who seemed to be the master of the creations. To Keladry of Mindelan, known as Kel, he was the Nothing Man. He was almost two feet shorter than the killing devices, long-nosed and narrow-mouthed, with small, rapidly blinking eyes and dull brown hair. His dark robe was marked with stains and burns; his hair was unkempt. He always gnawed a fingernail, or scratched a pimple, or shifted from foot to foot.

Once that image-devices, bodies, man-was complete, Kel woke. She stared at the shadowed ceiling and cursed the Chamber of the Ordeal. The Chamber had shown Kel this vision, or variations of it, after her formal Ordeal of knighthood. As far as Kel knew, no one else had been given any visions of people to be found once a squire was knighted. As everyone she knew understood it, the Ordeal was straightforward enough. The Chamber forced would-be knights to live through their fears. If they did this without making a sound, they were released, to be proclaimed knights, and that was the end of the matter.

Kel was different. Three or four times a week, the Chamber sent her this dream. It was a reminder of the task it had set her. After her Ordeal, before the Chamber set her free, it had shown her the killing devices, the Nothing Man, and the dead children. It had demanded that Kel stop it all.

Kel guessed that the Nothing Man would be in Scanra, to the north, since the killing devices had appeared during Scanran raids on Tortall last summer. Trapped in the capital by a hard winter, with travel to the border nearly impossible, Kel had lived with growing tension. She had to ride north as soon as the mountain passes opened if she was to sneak into Scanra and begin her search for the Nothing Man. Every moment she remained in Tortall invited the growing risk that the king would issue orders to most knights, including Kel, to defend the northern border. The moment Kel got those orders, she would be trapped. She had vowed to defend the realm and obey its monarchs, which would mean fighting soldiers, not hunting for a mage whose location was unknown.

"Maybe I'll get lucky. Maybe I'll ride out one day and find there's a line of killing devices from the palace right up to the Nothing Man's door," she grumbled, easing herself out from under her covers. Kel never threw off her blankets. With a number of sparrows and her dog sharing her bed, she might smother a friend if she hurried. Even taking care, she heard muffled cheeps of protest. "Sorry," she told her companions, and set her feet on the cold flagstones of her floor.

She made her way across her dark room and opened the shutters on one of her windows. Before her lay a courtyard and a stable where the men of the King's Own kept their horses. The torches that lit the courtyard were nearly out. The pearly radiance that came to the eastern sky in the hour before dawn fell over snow, stable, and the edges of the palace wall beyond.

The scant light showed a big girl of eighteen, broadshouldered and solid-waisted, with straight mouse-brown hair cut short below her earlobes and across her forehead. She had a dreamer's hazel eyes, set beneath long, curling lashes, odd in contrast to the many fine scars on her hands and the muscles that flexed and bunched under her nightshirt. Her nose was still unbroken and delicate after eight years of palace combat training, her lips full and quicker to smile than frown. Determination filled every inch of her strong body.

Motion in the shadows at the base of the courtyard wall caught her eye. Kel gasped as a winged creature waddled out into the open courtyard, as ungainly on its feet as a vulture. The flickering torchlight caught and sparked along the edges of metal feathers on wings and legs. Steel legs, flexible and limber, ended in steel-clawed feet. Between the metal wings and above the metal legs and feet was human flesh, naked, hairless, grimy, and in this case, male.

The Stormwing looked at Kel and grinned, baring sharp steel teeth. His face was lumpy and unattractive, marked by a large nose, small eyes, and a thin upper lip with a full lower one. He had the taunting smile of someone born impudent. "Startle you, did I?” he inquired.

Kel thanked the gods that the cold protected her sensitive nose, banishing most of the Stormwing's foul stench. Stormwings loved battlefields, where they tore corpses to pieces, urinated on them, smeared them with dung, then rolled in the mess. The result was a nauseating odor that made even the strongest stomach rebel. Her teachers had explained that the purpose of Stormwings was to make people think twice before they chose to fight, knowing what might happen to the dead when Stormwings arrived. So far they hadn't done much good as far as Kel could see: people still fought battles and killed each other, Stormwings or no. Tortall’s Stormwing population was thriving. But this was the first time she'd seen one on palace grounds.

Kel glared at him.
“Get out of here, you nasty thing! Shoo!”

"Is that any way to greet a future companion?" demanded the Stormwing, raising thin brown brows.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 343 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 344 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012


    The best one yet! Kel speaks to all of us with her kindness. You HAVE to read this series!( first one called first test. )

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    Loved it

    Read from library: wish i had $ to get digital

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Best teen books!!!!

    I have been reading this author since i was 12 so almost 18 years. I love alanna, and the immortal series is also great but Kel's story holds true as the best teen series in my mind. I saw some reviews that were upset at the lack of romance but to me having a female protagonist that has more important concerns then having sex as soon as possible is a welcome relief after character like Bella in twilight who agrees to marry the guy she loves at 18 because he won't have sex with her without being married (yes i know there were other factors), is a fact that i find very upsetting as a role model for teen girls reading these books. Give me books about honor, self sacrifice, hard word and lessons in morality witu a side of fun, good conversation and young, innocent, love any day over vampires and werewolves. Thank you Tamora Pierce

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    Am I missing something?

    What about Cleon?! I have to confess them being together was one of my favorite parts. He was just gone...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Love this book

    I havent read this yet, but i really am looking forward to it! I read squire and finished it ten minutes ago. I nearly forgot i was reading! I wonder what is yet to come, but i'll love it the way i love all tamora pierce's books. I <3 Neal!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012


    You NEED to read this book. :D

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  • Posted June 19, 2011

    Hooked on Pierce

    Picked up the book because I liked the cover--showing a girl in armor. After I started reading it, I realized it was last book in a 4 book series. But by then it was too late. I was caught. So was my son (about 10 at the time). Lady Kel's dedication to her duty causes angst and difficult choices. Her ingenuity and faith in even some of the most unlikely people made this such a fun read.
    Now we are dedicated Tamora Pierce readers and have yet to be disappointed. Weird to start at the end then go backward...but worth it! I have recommended this to many.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    As usual.....

    Ani,other great seris from tamora pierce!! Love Kel shes an great additton to tortall

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2009

    Simply Amazing

    Wow, I have to say that this was a really great book. After rereading it I can say that I actually like it more than last time. True, Pierce leaves some loose ends that are pretty important to the book, but to me I think it had a satisfying ending. Hopefully the last paragraph turns out to be what I think it means. I love Dom! :P

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    Left hanging

    I agree with the other reviews in that we were left hanging at the end of this book. Does Kel end up with Dom or anyone? When will the war with Scandra end? When it ends does she get to command her own troops? Quindan should get his commupance for not having scouts, like Tobe noticed?Wish there was a little more with her and the Lioness, now that they can interact. Tobe deserves his own quartet! But I should say, I did enjoy this book and her others as well. Partial to the Immortal series, thought it was GREAT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008


    i've read the prequels to this book and love the protagonist. i looked forward to reading this book. i agree that it lacks something including romance

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2008

    A reviewer

    I thought this book was exellent, for most of it. It is not as good as the other books in the quartet. I was expecting the fight between Kel and the guy who was making those monster things to be harder for Kel to win and more dramatic- it was suposed to be the climax of the whole book! I did not think it was good enough to be an exciting and defying climax. We all knew she would win- right?. I'm sad Tamora got rid of Cleon but I agree that it would have gotten in the way of the story it he was involved. I was also dissapointed when Kel was given the job of starting and commanding another rescue camp in the end. I think she could do way better (and was worthy of more, with all of her hard work and talents and stuff) than just commanding a bunch of peasant people, she could command a whole army easily! I do think that Kel was suited to the job of running a rescue camp, though, but not for that long. It seemed, in the epolouge, she would be doing that the rest of her life. I think that they could have made a bigger deal out of Kel killing whats-his-name and his sidekick- that was practically half of the war, and they probably would have lost without her doing that. There defidently could have been alot more detail in the end of the book, it seemed hurried to me. The book did have really funny parts too. I agree with some people that the book was just a little boring- nothing new Kel got, learned, encountered, was really challenged with, or expirienced, that she had never dealt with or something like it before. She also didn't really go to new places or meet knew people as much as I would have liked her to. I think that alot of the charachters charechter was lost from a lack of detailed, good, juicy diologe. I loved the charachter Tobe- expessially at the begginging when he was giving her a bit of trouble.The bookwould have been alot beter if Kel would had struggled with more- like people not believing her-being a girl and all, like struggleing taking care of something or with something that she just couldn't do. The book is super good until you get 3/4 of the way through or so when it starts to go downhill. I still highly recomend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2008

    Its was Great but....

    i felt lik it was missin somethin i was hoping for another book and started reading her other books just to find kel. it was exciting and great but the ending was wel... not the best it was just to much of a desapointment. the book was so great i expected a great ending. well atleast her book are good and this one was really good. I was just hoping for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2008


    I love Tamora Pierce's Tortall series'. However, this book left me a little disappointed. In every other Tortall series, the main character got to have their love, and in this one, Kel loses. Why did that have to happen? I realize Kel is a independent woman and that she doesn't want to tied down yet, but couldn't she at least be given the chance, like in the epilogue, to find it later? Most of you reading this review will probably disagree with me, because Kel is such a compelling and interesting character, but I just wanted to say that I hope someday someone agrees.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Wonderful and exciting

    Thats what this book is. Filled with smashing action everyone will enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2007


    It was a extremely good book that I think is the best book Tamora Pierce has written!(The only other one that matched up to this book was Beka Cooper)Great end to the series,Although you wish you knew more about what happened when it ended. Excelently written!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    tamora pirce you've done it again!!

    I absolutly loved this book!! it's about a young woman named kel who dispite all the hardships becomes one of the first maidens to become a knight. but in the final challenge an unheard of thing happens to her. the chamber of the ordeal sends her a vision telling her she must defeat Blayce the Gallan, the man who creates horrible devices made for slaughter. but when she is sent to work in a refugee camp that resulted from the scandran war she is forced to remain neutral and unable to go after blayce. it is a heart stopping finale in pirces Protector of the small quartet and i suggest this book to everyone. now i'm off to buy the next book TRICKSTER's CHOICE!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2007


    Out of all the books in the protector of the small series, this is the best. I've read it a bazillion times. Tamora really knows how to write amazing books on female heroines. I don't know if it's her style of writing or great ideas or both, but I've never read such engaging books in fantasy or any other genre. Read Tamora Pierce, she rocks. You won't regret it. Her characters are memorable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2007

    amazing book (amazing for lack of a better word)

    Lady Knight is an amazing story, one for all ages. I must have read this book (and many others by Tamora Pierce--I love all of them except all the circle books which are only semi-unbelievably outstanding :]--)at least 15 times. Each time I reread Lady Knight I'm completely awed at what Tamora Pierce can do with words, how she can get you so into the story...I could go on forever about how amazing her writing is but I'll spare you, as long as you read Lady Knight :].

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    this is the best book I have ever read!!!!!!!!!!

    i have read alot of books and I have to say this is my favorite, perhaps the best book tamora pierce has ever written!!tamora is now my favorite author!!

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