"Tamora Pierce's books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration."
--SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Tamora Pierce didn't just blaze a trail. Her heroines cut a swath through the fantasy world with wit, strength, and savvy. Her stories still lead the vanguard today. Pierce is the real lioness, and we're all just running to keep pace."
--LEIGH BARDUGO, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Discover the origin story of one of the realm's most powerful mages in the first book in the Numair Chronicles.
Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm's most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness--and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the "leftover prince" with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram's heart, Arram realizes that one day--soon--he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom's future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.
"I take more comfort from and as great a pleasure in Tamora Pierce's Tortall novels as I do from Game of Thrones."
--The Washington Post
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August 30–September 1, 435
The Imperial Coliseum, Thak City, The Carthaki Empire
Arram Draper hung on the rail of the great arena, hoisting himself until his belly was bent over the polished stone. It was the only way he could get between the two bulky men who blocked his view. He knew it was risky, but he couldn’t waste his first chance to see the gladiators when they marched into the huge stadium. His father and grandfather were back at their seats, arguing about new business ventures. They weren’t paying attention, waving him off when he asked to visit the privies and never realizing he’d squirmed his way down to the rail instead.
Apart from them, he was alone. There were no friends from school for company. They all said he was too young. He was eleven--well, ten, in truth, but he told them he was eleven. Even that didn’t earn him friends among his older schoolfellows. Still, he wasn’t a baby! If he didn’t see the games with his family today, he might never get the chance, and he’d learned only last night he might not see Papa again for two years, even three. Carthak was a costly voyage for Yusaf Draper, and his new venture would take him away for a long time. But in the morning, Arram would be able to tell the older students that he had watched the games right from the arena wall!
Already he’d heard the trumpets and drums announcing the arrival of the emperor and his heirs. He couldn’t see their faces, but surely all the sparkling gold, silver, and gems meant the wearers were part of the imperial family. He could see the Grand Crier, who stood on a platform halfway between him and the royals. More important, he could plainly hear the man’s booming voice as he announced the emperor’s many titles and those of his heirs.
“Lookit!” The bruiser on Arram’s left bumped him as he pointed north, to the emperor’s dais. Arram wobbled and might have pitched headfirst onto the sands twenty feet below if the man on his other side hadn’t caught him by the belt and hauled him inside the rail. Without appearing to notice Arram’s near fall, the man on the left went on to say, “There’s the widow, and her son! She never comes to games!”
“Who’s the widow?” Arram asked. “Who’s the son?”
The big men grinned at each other over his head. “For all you’re a brown boy, you don’t know your imperials,” said the one who had bumped him. “The widow is Princess Mahira, that was married to Prince Apodan.”
“He was killed fightin’ rebels two year back,” the other man said. “An’ the boy is Prince Ozorne.”
Now Arram remembered. Ozorne was a year or two ahead of him in the Lower Academy.
From the podium, the crier bellowed that the emperor would bless the games. Everyone thundered to their feet and then hushed. His voice amplified, most likely by a mage, the emperor prayed to the gods for an excellent round of games. When he finished, everyone sat.
For a very long moment the arena was still. Then the boy felt a slow, regular thudding rise through the stone and up his legs. His body shuddered against the railing. Nearby, in the wall that took up a third of the southern end of the arena, huge barred gates swung inward.
Here came drummers and trumpeters, clad only in gold-trimmed scarlet loincloths. Their oiled bodies gleamed as brightly as the polished metal of their instruments. The brawny men represented every race of the empire in the colors of their skin and hair and the tattoos on their faces and bodies. One thing they had in common: iron slave rings around their throats.
Arram rubbed his own throat uneasily. His original home, Tyra, was not a slave country. Three years in Carthak had not made him comfortable with the practice, not when there were no slaves at his school. He saw them only when he was outside, and the sight of them made him edgy.
The leader of the musicians raised his staff. The trumpeters let loose a blare that made Arram jump, almost tipping him over the rail. The men caught him again.
“You’re best off at your seat,” the friendly one advised. “Ain’t your mamma callin’ yeh?”
“I’m eleven,” Arram lied. “I don’t need a mother--I’m a student at the School for Mages!”
The men’s laughter was drowned out by a thunder of drumrolls. Arram gave the sands what he called his special, magical squint. Now he saw waves of spells all over the arena floor. They sent ripples through the air, carrying the arena’s noise even to the people in the seats high above.
“Why do they allow spells on the arena sand?” he shouted at the friendlier of the two men. As far as he knew, magic was forbidden here. Perhaps they allowed only their own magic, just as they allowed the emperor’s magic.
“What spells?” the man bellowed. He reached over Arram’s head and tapped his friend as the musicians marched past. “The lad thinks there’s magic on the sands!”
The other roughneck looked down his flattened nose at Arram. A couple of scars on his face told the boy he may have come by that nose in fighting. “What’re you, upstart?” he growled. “Some kind of mage?”
“Of course I am!” Arram retorted. “Didn’t you hear me say I’m in the School for Mages?”
“He’s simple,” the friendlier man said. “Leave ’im be. Who’re you bettin’ on?”
The other man seized Arram by the collar and lifted him into the air. “If you’re a mage, spell me, then,” he growled. “Turn me into somethin’, before I break yer skinny neck for botherin’ us.”
“Don’t be stupid!” Arram cried. His mind, as always, had fixed on the question of magic. “Only a great mage can turn a person into something else! Even--”
His foe choked off Arram’s next comment--that he might never be a great mage--by turning his fist to cut off the boy’s voice entirely. “Stupid, am I?” he shouted, his eyes bulging. “You moneyed little piece of tripe--”
Arram might have corrected him concerning the state of his pocketbook, but he couldn’t breathe and had finally remembered a teacher’s advice: “You don’t make friends when you tell someone you think he is stupid.” He was seeing light bursts against a darkening world. He called up the first bit of magic he’d ever created, after a walk on a silk carpet brought flame to his fingers. He drew that magic from the sands and seized the fist on his collar.
The tough yelped and released Arram instantly. “You! What did you do to me?”
Arram couldn’t answer. He hit the rail and went over backward, arms flailing.
Excerpted from "Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One)"
Copyright © 2018 Tamora Pierce.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have read all of Mrs Pierce's books and have loved every one. Before this book I had not read anything from her in what seems like many years. This however brought me straight back into the world that she created and felt exactly the same to me. I mean to say that her writing and the realm she has made all feel like they have been with me for as long as i have been reading and that it is a very familiar and comfortable place. I did not even know that there would be another book let alone a whole series until I stumbled upon it on goodreads. I'm am very pleased with the boom and look forward to the next one.
It's the first book I've read by her with a male main character POV. Turned out beautifully. Reading all the other stories I always wanted this characters backstory. Glad to have gotten it and with such flair!
What more is there to say, than that it was amazing! Tamora Pierce takes readers back to some of her most beloved characters and lets us learn more about how they grew up. Also, the world building is just brilliant and I was swept away in a world with fantasy and magic. Loved it and highly recommend the book!
YA fantasy novel that starts a series and sets the scene – interesting stuff This first volume of a series really is about setting the scene. With inevitable Harry Potter comparisons (two boys and a girl, all great friends, at magic school), this introduces a whole lot of interesting characters, masters and students. Arram is the main character and particularly gifted and it's his experiences that are at the heart of this novel. There's not a lot of action and moral themes are brought in, no doubt to be enlarged on in a further volume. Plot development is good as is the characterisation. I came away thinking that, interesting as it was, there could be a lot more to it and it was a bit light. However it's definitely worth a look to those young adults and children who love fantasy books. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As always another amazing book. Love all the references to her other novels.
It is always a day to rejoice when Tamora Pierce has a new book out! Even though I have read all her other books, I must admit that my brain has not filed the exact details of each story line where I can access them readily. So, I am pretty much taking this book as a stand alone story. And it is marvelous. Great plot twists. Intriguing and identifiable characters (both good and bad, and those moving from one to the other!) Solid world building. My one question is: When does book 2 come out?
As usual Tamora has given us another wonderful tale to enjoy.
It was so great to return to the world of Tortall…well, in this case, Carthak, with a character that is both familiar and brand new. I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic for Tammy Pierce lately and I was basically counting down the minutes and seconds until this book came out. I can’t even remember when these first started being talked about but I feel like its at least a decade and finally, finally, its here and I loved every moment of it. I’ll admit there was one thing that made the book a little…not difficult exactly, but just different to read than a previous Tammy book because I’ve never read a book by her that a main character that was a male. I never really got into the Circle books and have been a staunch Tortall fan for years so I’m used to Alanna and Kel and Daine and Beka and Aly so it was definitely weird to recognize Tammy’s style but in the mindset of a boy. It definitely threw me off guard at first and the first third of the book was a little slower reading for me than the rest. That being said, I loved every minute of this book. For one thing, even with how young he is in this book and even though you know that he is going to evolve as a character, you can definitely see the Numair of the later years in the younger years of Arram Draper that we see in this book. A willingness and need to learn more and more, an incredible power, a fierce loyalty to his friends and those he loves, his desire to do the right thing…it all felt familiar. It felt like opening a book you’ve already read before but just slightly different. It was so interesting to see Numair as a child, as his humble beginnings when he was simple Arram, trying to learn to harness his power. It was also interesting too, to meet characters that we’ve already met before. To meet Varice and Ozorne and Tristan and Gissa and Lindhall and Sarge. It was cool to see the beginnings of those characters that we love, that became heroes and its difficult, but really interesting to see characters like Ozorne, who is intense but a good friend to Arram, and to know what kind of person he becomes in the future. Its interesting to see the beginnings of these characters when you know exactly where they end up. It almost feels like spoilers or that it could potentially not make the story interesting, but that’s not true at all. Numair is a pivotal character in the Immortals series but besides what we see of him with Daine and what he tells her, we don’t know much about his past, not like we do with other characters and this is truly great to see. I honestly can’t wait for book two. I love the build up that Tammy has created and I love that she has given a heart to these characters and she’s breathed life into them and that we like them. I like Arram and Ozorne and Varice (not Tristan but geez, was he always a jerk?) and I’m interested in seeing what on earth happens between this book and the Immortals series to make it all fall to hell. Knowing Tammy, its sure to be a great story and I can’t wait for more!
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. Arram, young and gifted beyond his age, attends Mage Academy with older students. He doesn’t have friends but that soon changes when he causes chaos with magic and has a conference with the Academy masters. They deem him gifted and place him with other students similar to him. Academy life becomes much more enjoyable and entertaining after the new placement. Arram, Varice and Zorne become great friends and when Arram is bullied because of his young age, his two new friends help him cope and discover how much fun their time at the academy can be. Varice is smart, fun and a very good kitchen witch while Zorne is seventh in line to the throne of the current prince. The three friends each have different gifts which grow in strength the longer they attend classes. The main focus of the story is on Arram, his powers, education and relationships but we do get a glimpse of the inner workings of the lives of Varice and Zorne. Arram has to learn to build the stomach for being around horribly injured people and his strength as a healer. Varice deals with being looked down on because she’s female and a lowly kitchen witch. Zorne is continuing to move up higher on the list of heirs to the throne, and is worried about his unhealthy mother and how to deal with his protective guards. The story is strong and the world building is a mix of renaissance and ancient Greece. I thought the whole approach to Arram’s puberty was odd and I understand that it will potentially help male preteens with their own changes. I did enjoy the Tempests and Slaughter. 5 stars for this fantasy and its underlying mystery! *I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
This is the story of Arram and his two best friends, Varice and Prince Ozorne, as they navigate life at the Imperial University of Carthak, a school for mages. It is an amazing book, if you’ve never read anything by Tamora Pierce, I urge you to do so right away. Her storytelling is awesome! Now, I don’t use the word “awesome” very often, but in this case I feel it is justified. This is one of those books that sucks you in and never lets go, where you’re so engrossed in the story that you never want it to end. The author’s excellent characterizations and world building make for one terrific read. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of YA fantasy fiction.
OH, Arram. So young and adorable, so utterly clueless. I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit nervous about this book. (series) Daine and Numair were my first introduction to Pierce, over twenty years ago, and I’ll always be nervous about books that go back in the timeline of an already beloved character. This book centers on the first few years of friendship and education of Arram, Ozorne, and Varice, and that friendship is especially well done. They’re supportive and teasing and competitive and stand together against the world, even if Varice and Arram are always aware of the things that can make Ozorne very dangerous. For the most part, that element was well done also, building the steps that will eventually take us to the Ozorne we first met in the Immortals Quartet, but I’ll be honest and say that the depiction of Ozorne’s depression bothered me. It was well drawn in his mother, but in Ozorne itself it feels dangerously close to “all his evils are because he’s mentally ill” and that’s a trope I am very much not here for. Aside from that lingering concern, the characters are wonderful, especially the various masters Arram is learning from, and the evils of slavery—and that there is no part of a enslaving society untouched by that evil and system whether slaves are present or not—is a continuing theme for Pierce. I do wish she’d spent a little more time with Varice’s struggles, though. They’re mentioned here and there, but not with any particular force, and it’s a struggle that very much defines Varice throughout her life.
I have enjoyed Tamora Pierce's books since I was in middle school. After years of waiting, I was ecstatic to hear of a new book about Numair Salmalin. I spent every available hour reading. I thought I was going to cry when I reached the end. I truly can't wait for the next books. I hope they come out soon.
I have been waiting for this book since I was 15. I’m not exaggerating. In Tempests and Slaughter we begin our journey with Arram Draper before he became Numair Salmalin. When he was still a student studying at the University of Carthak and was best friends with the future Emperor Ozorne and Varice Kingsford. This is the beginning of everything for Arram/Numair. Ok. First, let me preface this and say I will read and love anything Tamora Pierce writes. Her books first got me into Fantasy and they’ve just shaped me so much as a human being so I might be a bit biased, but as always, I will try and be as objective in my review as possible. That being said, I really enjoyed this first foray into the world of young Arram Draper. I had one or two issues with the story overall, but on the whole, I think it did everything it was supposed to do for a first installment. I loved seeing Arram as a young boy, growing into a young man. It was amusing to see since we see him watch Daine grow throughout the Immortals Quartet; it was a wonderful mirror to look into this time around. I’m not sure about Varice Kingsford. Firstly, I never really liked her in Emperor’s Mage cause REASONS, but she still seems to be the insipid person she was back then even with the intelligence we see in this installment. The young Ozorne we see now is definitely a complex character. We see glimpses of who he will become and some of the reasons why, but we also see the friend that Arram treasured and Numair mourned which was sad. I think my main issue I had with this book was plot was, not much happened. We mostly see them taking different classes at the University and that’s mainly it. There are a few mysterious things that happen which lean toward the conspiracy side of things, but they mainly act as a tool to set up plot points that will probably have more of an impact in later installments. I think that was really my main issue with the story overall. I would have preferred a little more action plot-wise. Honestly, if you’re a Tamora Pierce fan, this book is already sold to you. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! She is the QUEEN of YA Fantasy and she blazed a trail for so many of our favorite writers today. This newest installment to her Tortall universe only cements why.