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Lady knight.

By: Pierce, Tamora.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Protector of the small. Publisher: Sydney : Scholastic Press, 2002ISBN: 0-439-99241-9.Subject(s): Premiers' Reading Challenge : 7-8
Fiction notes: Click to open in new window
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Junior Deer Park Library
Junior Fiction J PIER Available I6405428
Total reserves: 0

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

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. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

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 (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Keladry of Mindelan's story concludes in the final book (Random, 2002) in Tamara Pierce's "Protector of the Small Quartet" series. Kel, the first Lady Knight in Tortall and thankful to have survived the Chamber of the Ordeal, is now ready to set out and confront the evil mage and killing devices that she was shown during her knighthood initiation. Unfortunately, though war has been officially declared with neighboring Scanran, Kel is denied her chance to fight, and is placed in charge of a refugee camp. She sets out to create a safe haven for those in her charge. When it becomes apparent that the camp is likely to become a target for Scanran's forces, Kel sets out to make sure that the refugees will be able to defend themselves. With strength, compassion, and often humor, Kel endears herself to the refugees and comes to care for them. She becomes conflicted, remembering the Chamber's charge to her to destroy the killing devices by defeating the "Nothing Man," but refuses to leave her people. Her hand is forced when they are captured, and Kel must go behind enemy lines on a suicidal mission to save them and turn the tide of the war. Bernadette Dunne's voice sounds a little mature for a young woman of 18, and the secondary characters' voices are rarely distinguished from one another by accent or tone. The story itself carries this audio version along. For fans of the previous titles in the series.-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. In this new, gripping installment in the popular Protector of the Small series, Lady Knight Keladry has finished her grueling eight years of training just in time to face a difficult struggle--her country is at war with its neighbor, Scanra. Kel's recurrent dreams have told her that she has a special mission (finding an evil mage working for Scanra who is using children to create horrific killing devices). But before she can set out, she is given her first command, the creation of a refugee camp, which calls on all her talents. She must settle disputes, assign tasks, and train everyone, including children, to handle weapons. Unlike most fantasy heroines, Kel does not rely on magic. She is a fighter who clamps down on her feelings and taps her courage, cleverness, and moral outrage to fight evil. As in the previous books, Kel's world is completely realized in quick, precise detail, but this time the stakes are higher than usual: the kingdom readers have come to know fights for its survival and familiar characters die. Series fans will grab this. Susan Dove Lempke.

Horn Book Review

To her dismay, Keladry's first assignment as a knight is to run a refugee camp. Not only would she rather be in the thick of battle, but she longs to be about the task an oracle has charged her with--finding and stopping a sadistic mage who uses the souls of children to craft killing machines. As in the previous volumes, Kel's compassion for those who have been victimized drives her actions. Fans will be pleased with this conclusion to her tale. From HORN BOOK Spring 2003, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Book Review

This fourth and final entry in the compelling Protector of the Small series finds 18-year-old Keladry of Mindelan (finally a full knight) handed a profound and confusing destiny by an immortal source. The Chamber of the Ordeal, a small room in which candidates for knighthood are tested, has ordered Kel to find and destroy the Nothing Man, a death mage using children's souls to fuel brutal killing machines. Meanwhile, however, her kingdom of Tortall is going to war, and Kel is required to serve alongside other knights and armies. Her assignment is to run a refugee camp near the warring border, a job which entails everything from military command of the camp to settling arguments between squabbling refugees. As the war rages on and Tortall begins to lose-largely because of the metal killing machines sent by the Nothing Man-Kel experiences an expertly written tension between her military assignment and her crucial, preordained task. But when her refugees are kidnapped by henchmen of the Nothing Man himself, Kel disobeys orders and risks execution in order to pursue her protectees into enemy territory and do what she does best: fight. Friends-human, dog, cat, horse, sparrow-offer the occasional tender moment and indispensable battle help. Appropriately larger in scope than the other volumes in this series and featuring vivid involvement with the young knight's dogged determination and physical feats, this gripping climax sees Kel fulfill her destiny and earn her legend-name. (cast of characters, glossary, map) (Fantasy. YA)

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