Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

by Tamora Pierce

Hardcover

$12.79 $18.99 Save 33% Current price is $12.79, Original price is $18.99. You Save 33%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375866760
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/22/2011
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

New York Times bestselling writer TAMORA PIERCE captured the imagination of readers more than 20 years ago with Alanna: The First Adventure. She has written 16 books about the extraordinary kingdom of Tortall, with another to come in fall 2011. She lives in upstate New York, with her husband and an assortment of wildlife.

Read an Excerpt

Student of Ostriches

My story began as my mother carried me in her belly to the great Nawolu trade fair. Because she was pregnant, our tribe let Mama ride high on the back of our finest camel, which meant she was also lookout for our caravan. It was she who spotted the lion and gave the warning. Our warriors closed in tight around our people to keep them safe, but they were in no danger from the lion.

He was a young male, with no lionesses to guard him as he stalked a young ostrich who strayed from its parents. He drew closer to his intended prey. Its mama and papa raced toward the lion, faster than horses, their large eyes fixed on the threat. The lion was young and ignorant. He snarled as one ostrich kicked him. Then the other did the same. On and on the ostriches kicked the lion until he was a fur sack of bones.

As the ostriches led their children away, my mama said, she felt me kick in her belly for the first time.

If the kicking ostriches were a good omen for our family, they were not for my papa. Two months later he was wounded in the leg in a battle with an enemy tribe. It never healed completely, forcing him to leave the ranks of the warriors and join the ranks of the wood-carvers, though he never complained. Not long after my papa began to walk with a cane, I was born. Papa was sad for a little while, because I was a girl. He would have liked a son to take his place as a warrior, but he always said that when I first smiled at him, he could not be sad anymore.

When I was six years old, I asked my parents if I could learn to go outside the village wall with the animal herds. Who could be happy inside the walls when the world lay outside? My parents spoke to our chief, who agreed that I could learn to watch goats on the rocky edges of the great plains on which the world was born.

Of course, I did not begin alone. My ten-year-old cousin Ogin was appointed to teach me. On that first morning I followed him and his dogs to a grazing place. Once the goats were settled, I asked him, “What must I learn?”

“First, you learn to use the herder’s weapon, the sling,” Ogin said. He was very tall and lean, like a stick with muscles. “You must be able to help the dogs drive off enemies.” He held up a strip of leather.

I practiced the twirl and the release of the stone in the sling until my shoulders were sore. For a change of pace, Ogin taught me the words to name the goats’ marks and parts until I knew them by heart. Once my muscles were relaxed again, I would take up the sling once more.

When it was time to eat our noon food, my cousin took the goats, the dogs, and me up onto a rock outcropping. From there we could see the plain stretch out before us under its veil of dusty air. This was my reward, this long view of the first step to the world. I almost forgot how to eat. Lonely trees fanned their branches out in flat-topped sprays. Vultures roosted in their branches. Veils of tall grass separated the herds of zebra, wildebeest, and gazelle in the distance. Lions waited near a watering hole close to our rocks as giraffes nibbled the leaves of thorny trees on the other side.

Watching it all, I saw movement. I gasped. “Ogin—there! Are those—are they ostriches?”

“You think, because your mama saw them, they are cousins to you?” he teased me. “What is it, Kylaia? Will you grow tail feathers and race them?”

The ostriches were running. They had long, powerful legs. When they ran, they opened their legs up and stretched. They were not delicate like the gazelle, like my older sisters. They ran in long, loping strides. Watching them, I thought, I want to run like that.

For a year I was Ogin’s apprentice. He taught me to keep the goats moving in the lands around the stone lookout place, so there would be grass throughout the year. He was patient and he did not laugh at me as I struggled to learn to be a dead shot with a sling, a careful tracker, and one who understood the ways of the dogs, the goats, and the wild creatures of the plains.

Ogin taught me to run, too, as he and my sisters did, like gazelles, on the balls of their feet. After our noon meals, as Ogin napped, I would practice my ostrich running. I opened up my strides, dug in my feet, and thrust out my chest, imagining myself to be a great bird, eating the ground with my big feet. Each day I ran a little farther and a little faster as Ogin and the dogs slept, and the goats and the birds looked on.

When I had followed Ogin for a year, my uncle the herd chief came out with us. Ogin made me show off my skills with the goats and the dogs.

“Tomorrow morning, come to me,” said my uncle. “You shall have a herd and dogs of your own.”

It was my seventh birthday. I was so proud! I was now a true member of the village with proper work to do. Papa gave me a wooden ball painted with colored stripes. Mama and my sisters had woven me new clothes and a cape for the cold. I ran through the village to show off my ball and to tell my friends that I was now a true worker.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Based on the assumption reviewer Clevermore seems to have made, it's important to note that this is a collection of short stories, not a compilation of any of the author's novels. Many of the short stories have appeared in various anthologies in the past. Kirkus calls this a mixed bag, and that sounds fairly accurate to me. "Mimic" was by far my favorite, and well worth reading the whole collection for. I also particularly enjoyed "Testing," a realistic piece. While, to some extent, I read this book because I was curious how the short stories changed "canon," I actually found myself more uncomfortable reading "Nawat" and, to a lesser extent, "Elder Brother" because I tended to get rather defensive of the characters that I'd met and liked in her other books. (I did enjoy "The Dragon's Tale" a lot, though, and that one also had characters we've seen before.) My anticipation is that this book will be appealing for those who have already read some of Pierce's books and have been curious about her short stories. As someone who gives book recommendations a lot, I'm not sure that I would recommend this book to those who haven't read Pierce's other books from the land of Tortall.
Angelic_Demon More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and definately my new favorite of Tamora's. It gives you a look into what happened after the happily ever after. This book may have been compiled of short stories but it felt like the final chapter in some of Tammy's older works. I definately recomend it, a must read!
aggiegirl19 More than 1 year ago
Tamora Pierce outdoes herself again with this collection of short stories. The reader is able to discover her many different talents while reading these stories. She truly has a gift of imagination. What I liked the most about these stories is that the reader visits some places that they have never gone to, and others that are more familiar. You learn about new characters, and come to love them, and learn where she has taken her old characters you already know. Make sure you read her other stories before you read this one, or else you won't understand the significance of some things. She has been my favorite author since I was a little girl, and continues to be now that I've grown up. She is all about equal rights and woman power (no bashing men, of course), and I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book definitely helps fill in some of the gaps between the tortall books. It was nice to see what happens after the books. Didn't enjoy some of the stories as much as others but still good.
bestem on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I liked the book well enough. There were stories of well loved old characters from earlier books I'd read by Pierce, and stories of new characters which I would very much like to know more about. Student of Ostriches was about a young girl who, paying attention to the animals in the world around her, learns to run and to fight in a way that is different from any other. This was probably one of my favorite stories in the book. I'd really like to know more about this girl.Elder Brother was another great story, about a tree that the wizard Numair turned into a man. Quiom, the tree, meets a young boy, and together they travel across the country while Quiom learns what it means to be a man. I really liked Quiom and his troubles in becoming who he was going to be.The Hidden Girl was interesting. In it, a young girl travels with her father, a traveling priest. Everywhere he stops and teaches the men, she stops and teaches the ladies and girls. She teaches them to read, and teaches them their rights, and, as people listen to her, some of the boys, and then the men, start listening to her teach rather than her father teach. Nawat was the story of Aly and Nawat, and their triplets, just after the children were born. Nawat is very much a crow, and he knows that his children are part crow. He has trouble getting all the humans in his life to let him teach the children what it is to be a crow. Eventually he realizes that some things are better as a human than as a crow.The Dragon's Tale was one of the stories I could have taken or left. It was from Kitten (the Dragon)'s point of view. Daine and Numair made token appearances in the story, but not really enough to draw me in after remembering the tales of them I read as a child.Lost was another favorite of mine. The young girl in this story is very good with math. No one in her life really appreciates that she's got this skill that she should be cultivating. So she finds an unlikely ally in a Darkling. Time of Proving wasn't memorable enough for me to remember very much about the characters. I have a feeling the characters might show up in other stories that I haven't read yet, but there wasn't enough to the story to make me appreciate it.Plain Magic felt more like it was set in the same place as the Magic Circle stories. The type of magic used in the story seemed more similar to that, than to the Tortallan magic. It was funny to see someone get mad at the idea of sacrificing virgins to dragons, though.Mimic confused me a lot. The dragon in it was very very unlike Kitten, the only other real dragon I've read in Pierce's books. They have different capabilities and grow up in different ways. It made me wonder if Kitten was younger, or older, than the dragon in this story, and why there were the differences in their behaviors and abilities.Huntress was great. It was like a mini-horror story. I know a lot of young teenage girls that would love the story, and might even relate really well to it. That was set in Central Park and other areas of New York, so it had the added benefit of feeling like maybe it was real. Last was Testing. It reminded me very much of The Sound of Music, with the kids doing everything they could to get rid of their new minder, but coming to like her in the meantime. It was also set in today's world, and there wasn't any magic to it, so it very possibly could be something that was happening on your street right now.
mbmyhre on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Made me remember why I love Tamora Pierce. I had to go back and reread the books after tearing through this collection. An amazing assortment of different viewpoints and worlds.
bluesalamanders on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is an interesting anthology. Half the stories are set in Tortall, one is urban fantasy, and one is fiction (not fantasy). The other three don't seem to be set in Tortall or Emelan, but are in similar types of fantasy settings.Student of Ostriches (Tortall)I like this one. It's entertaining to read about the background of one of the more fascinating minor characters from the Tortall universe.Elder Brother (Tortall)This story is based on a line in one of the Immortals books, which said that when Numair used a Word of Power to turn another sorcerer into a tree, somewhere on the other side of the world, a tree into a man. I was always vaguely curious what happened to that poor former-tree, and it was interesting to find out.The Hidden Girl (Tortall)A continuation of Elder Brother, from a different perspective. Okay, but not my favorite story.Nawat (Tortall)This story was upsetting and I didn't particularly like it, although part of that is probably because I don't especially like the Trickster books.The Dragon's Tale (Tortall)This is an adorable story about the young dragon, Kitten, and was absolutely my favorite.Lost (Tortall)A moving story about a talented young woman who just loves numbers. The darkings are always fun characters. Time of ProvingCultures clash when a young woman from a small village meets a scholar from a magical city. Short and not memorable.Plain MagicHumorous twist on the "sacrifice a virgin to the monster" story.MimicThis was an odd one. It felt a bit off for most of the story because it seemed like I was supposed to recognize the animal that was being described, but I could never work out what it was supposed to be. But then that turned out to not matter after all.Huntress (urban fantasy)More than a little creepy. I'm not sure if I liked it or not.Testing (fiction)Testing is fiction (not fantasy) and semi-autobiographical. It is interesting, but seems out of place in this anthology.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Eleven short stories from Pierce's fantasy worlds and our world too. Most are first person narrated by a young woman who is facing adversity. Magical characters including crow men, darkings and a couple of dragons make appearances too. This anthology is a good introduction to Pierce's work and a great anthology for fans who want to know more about some side characters.
flashlight_reader on LibraryThing 24 days ago
It¿s been over twenty years since readers first learned of Tortall in Tamora Pierce¿s first novel Alanna. In the fifteen books that followed, readers have met numerous characters and magical creatures from the land of Tortall. In the book, Tortall and Other Lands, several of Tamora Pierce¿s short stories are collected and published for the first time in print. Several of the stories have new characters that we have not met before. In the story ¿Nawat,¿ readers are reacquainted with Nawat and Aly from Wolf Speaker and the darkings from Trickster¿s Queen. If you have ever wondered what happens after Trickster¿s Queen ends, then you will be pleased to find out in the story ¿Nawat.¿ The story ¿The Dragon¿s Tale¿ brings back Daine and Numair as minor characters in a story that is told from the dragon Kit¿s point of view. The majority of the stories in this collection are set in Tortall, but there are a few stories that are in new lands. One story, ¿Huntress,¿ is even set in present day New York City. Although the majority of the stories are appropriate for preteen readers, ¿Huntress¿ has language and content that is on a more mature level. All of the stories are beautifully written in the style that Tamora Pierce fans have come to love and enjoy from her previous works. The dialogue between the characters is believable, and at times quiet humorous. There is even a non-fantasy story, based on events from Tamora Pierce¿s life, that will have readers captivated. Before now, there has never been a collection of Tamora Pierce¿s short stories. This collection of tales is the first of its kind, but I hope it won¿t be the last.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I'm a fan of Tamora Pierce's young adult fantasies, which I discovered as an adult after a friend who loved her books from childhood was horrified when I asked her Tamora who? My favorites are The Protector of the Small series with Keladry and the two Trickster novels with Aly. Those books are set in the land of Tortall (as are most of her novels) and six of stories in this anthology are set in that land in addition there are three other tales of high fantasy, one urban fantasy and one short work of mainstream fiction.The relatively low rating I'm giving this book reflects that I just didn't find her shorts as compelling as her novels. It's not that like some I'm no fan of the short story--there are authors who I think shine in the short form, even outshining their long fiction--Stephen King and Isaac Asimov spring to mind. But I don't think Pierce's talents are to the fore in these stories, and if you're new to her, I wouldn't start with this book. I don't think they have the "punch" of really strong short stories, instead many of them made me wish they could be longer and more fleshed out--although in that regard I guess that proves Pierce certainly writes characters you want to linger with! (I'd love to see more of Adria of "Lost" or Arima of "Time of Proving" or Ri of "Mimic" again someday.)That said, if you are already a Tamora Pierce fan, there is a lot to enjoy here. If you love her Immortals series, then you'll probably grin at "Elder Brother" which tells of the tale of the apple tree Numair inadvertently turned into a man and "The Dragon's Tale" from the point of view of "Kitten" the young dragon Daine adopted. "Nawat" about the half-crow/half-human triplets born to crow-man Nawat and his mate Aly of the Trickster books is the longest tale in the book--novella-length at 70 pages. At times I found it a bit TMI squicky and all too weird in its mix of human and beast, but ultimately oddly touching. My favorite Tortall-based story, based on characters from the Lioness Quartet, doesn't really have a fantasy element at all. The pleasure of that story opening the book, "Student of Ostriches" is precisely how the heroine teaches herself martial arts from the close observation of real animals. A wicked kick from the ostrich and a punch from giraffes and she "learned more kicks from zebras, a double hand strike from lions, and a back-of-the-fist blow from elephants." I also found her one urban fantasy tale, "Huntress" genuinely scary--maybe because the Central Park setting hits all too close to home for a native New Yorker like me. And at the end there's a teaser from the next Becca Cooper novel Mastiff that has me salivating at the thought of the release of the entire novel.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but these are good. Old friends and new, in Tortall, surrounding lands, and our world.
dancingstarfish on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Tamora Pierce, in case you haven¿t read her books, is a great young adult author. Her books are intelligent, fun and empowering. I read her books when I was in junior high and I often re-read them for fun when the mood strikes me. I still enjoy them as much as I did then, which says a lot.Her main characters are usually strong independent young women who are trying to follow their own path, often a path that society has not yet allowed them to take. In the Alanna series a young girl disguises herself as a boy for years to become a knight. In the Beka Cooper series, a young lady becomes a type of policemen (they are called dogs) through hard work and sheer determination. In the Immortals series, a young lady runs from the town that tries to kill her for her magic and learns to use it to help others.Pierce¿s young ladies are always refreshing. They have minds, skills and they do their best to use them to reach their goals. Her heroines, when compared to those in a lot of current YA literature, are full of depth, independence and humor. They are someone young women could actually look up too. They don¿t wait around for a man to save them or fix their lives. They damn well do it themselves and the men can catch up later.. IF they able too. Not that Pierce doesn¿t write about men, there are lots of men, good and bad, in these stories. The men are also full well-rounded characters that add to the charm of her books. Its just always so delightful to read a young adult book where girls think and act for themselves. In the current trend of vampire teen angst romances, I believe Pierce¿s young ladies would stake the damn vampire and then go to college to get their degree.In Tortall and Other Lands, we revisit with old friends and discover new ones. One story is narrated by Daine¿s dragonling, Kitten from The Immortal¿s series. Kitten discovers a woman living on the edge of society, abused by those in town for her magic and tries to help her. In another story, we see the effects of when Numair is forced to turn a man into a tree. Across the world, a tree is turned into a man and must learn to live like one. In the Student of Ostriches, a young girl learns to fight by watching how animals defend themselves. She learns to kick like ostriches and head butt like giraffes. When her sister is threatened, she defends her and by doing so figures out what she wants to do with her own life, become a Shang warrior. These stories and more make up this first series of short stories by Pierce.Although this book is not as engrossing as Pierce¿s usual writing, it is still an enjoyable collection to read. If you¿ve never read her books before I¿d suggest starting with the Alanna series which has always been a favorite of mine (and if you look at reviews, the rest of the world agrees.)This book of short stories is definitely a good introduction to Tortall and to Pierce herself, but it is also a nice stopover for dedicated fans to read while waiting for something more.
Capfox on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Some of my favorite books when I was growing up, which I recall first encountering when I was 11 or 12, were the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, regarding the adventures of a young woman who hid her sex in order to become a knight in the Kingdom of Tortall, and her adventures in first attaining her rank and then around and beyond the realm. I dearly loved them, and read each several times (destroying a couple of books in the process). And while I knew she continued writing more books, somehow, unlike other authors I enjoyed when I was growing up, I didn't keep up with her.All this is to say that when I was wandering the halls of the library, and I found a collection of short stories by Pierce invitingly placed out for me, I got a nice flood of nostalgia, and decided to take it home with me. As the name, Tortall and Other Lands, suggests, several stories, the first six in the volume, are set in Tortall or other countries within the world in which Tortall is situated, and the rest are set elsewhere, usually in other magic environs, from other worlds to one that is essentially ours with magic, and finally one story that's just set within our world itself. The variety of the stories does help from a sense of repetitiveness, and perhaps reading them out of order would do even more so, so that the Tortall ones would be broken by other stories.It pains me to say it, but really, I didn't enjoy the collection all that much. It was very hit-or-miss for me, with more misses than hits. I enjoyed some of the stories, including half the Tortall ones, including the first three in the book, dealing with the beginning of the training of a female Shang warrior, and a pair of stories around a tree that gets turned into a man, and how he deals with it, and those who help him (they factor more in the background of the second story including them). I also enjoyed Testing, the final story and the one set in our real world, at a group home. Most of the rest, though, didn't really work for me, and I felt Pierce's prose in most of the stories was straining instead of feeling assured. Some authors really do a lot better with more space, and I fear that Pierce may well be one of those. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that the contents of the stories often feel a bit forced, and her writing isn't spare enough to take up the smaller space gracefully.Now, here is a caveat: some of the stories in the collection deal with characters from the rest of her Tortall stories, including ones that I haven't read. Perhaps with more knowledge of the characters from these stories, I would have been able to fill in the holes in the story a bit better myself, and so would have enjoyed them more. One should also consider that reading some of these stories (particularly Nawat) probably serve as spoilers for the books from which these characters originally appeared. So I'm willing to think that maybe the fault for some of this is more in me than in Pierce's writing, but for those that are unconnected, I'm reticent to take too much of the blame.All this is to say that this is probably somewhere to come once you've read a bunch of her books, decided that you like her, and want to see a bit more of some of those characters or what she can do in a smaller setting. Certainly, this isn't the place to start reading her stories. It's a marginal collection, but okay, I'd say. And I think that I may try some of her other books in the future; we'll see if it's a case of undue nostalgia on my part, and that my younger self's admiration of her books doesn't hold now that I'm older, or if it's just that short stories aren't Pierce's forte. I'll hope for the former.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Love it. I had read one of the stories before - Huntress - though I didn't recognize it until Felix started talking about lionesses and I'd forgotten how it ended (in fact, I thought it was much darker than it really is). The rest were new to me and they're all great. Skysong's story, Nawat and Aly's children, the Ostrich, Proving Ground...yeah. They're all memorable, great glimpses into either the continuing lives of old friends or new beginnings - new characters I'm pleased to know (and would be delighted to know more of!). All - except Qiom, and he had Fadala - female protagonists, finding their places or stretching into their powers. Nice! And The Testing was fascinating for a different reason - is Tamora Pierce a Foreign Service brat, like me, or was it only her character? I can tell stories - well, not quite like X-ray's, but the reactions I get are similar... Anyway. Lots of fun - that's a library book, but it's now firmly on my wishlist.Student of Ostriches - I like her, great curiosity about the world. Elder Brother - Qoim is interesting, poor guy. I'd like to see his adventures when he gets to Tortall, as well. And Fadala is also neat - she should meet the Lioness. The Hidden Girl - .Very interesting, particularly her take on Fadal! Though she's going to run into trouble with her companion - I doubt she can pretend to be aged when they're camping together. Nawat - Great. It's fascinating to see him make adjustments - and the ones he won't make. His comment about the betting and the response are really funny. The Dragon's Tale - Again, neat. Seeing things from Skysong's perspective - and Spots' - is fun. The opal dragon is neat - and Skysong's babbling is funny. It's going to take her a while to run out of things to say. Lost - Adria is great; another one I want to see more of. And the darkings keep getting more interesting. Time of Proving - a very interesting culture. I don't think they've been mentioned before - actually, neither of them. The only bull-men I know of are the immortals (Tauros?), who are nearly brainless. Plain Magic - great! I love the mage, the girl is neat, and the dragon is beautiful. And again - I'd love to see more of them. Her spells are all thread magic - reminds me of Sandry. Mimic - another new culture, and a new kind of dragon. The Pact is interesting, too. Repeat, repeat - want to see her/their future adventures. Huntress - This one I'd read before, somewhere. I didn't recognize the beginning, but Felix and his "lionesses" was familiar. I also didn't remember how it ended - I thought it would be darker than it is. Not that it's very light as it is... Testing - Fun. Tamora says it's semi-autobiographical - I wonder if the being a FSB (Foreign Service Brat) is one of the true parts. I suspect so - she had the right sort of stories, though Tamora's bio doesn't mention it. Being an FSB myself, it really caught my attention. Though I don't think I would have done as well as X-ray.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I do like Tamora Pierce. This was a mixed collection of stories in both theme and quality. Several of them felt like a first chapter rather than a stand alone story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cloves More than 1 year ago
I thought these stories would be weak fare compared to the novels, but surprisingly there are many jewels among the stories, things we are glad to know about the characters we love and written in a way that packs a lot of information and excitement into a few words. You'll like this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago