Thursday, April 8, 2010
Lady Knight, Book 4 of the Protector of the Small Quartet
In Lady Knight, the final book in the Protector of the Small Quartet series, Kel is faced with her first assignment as a knight... and it's a dozy. Build and command a refugee fort in the middle of a Warfield. Man it with just a trickle of help, and share the major responsibilities with two of her friends, fellow green, new, Knights Merric and Neal. Control, protect and garner the respect of some 400 refugees who believe they've been passed into your care because obviously nobody cares about their fate (I mean look who is set up to command them!).
On top of these already weighty responsibilities, Kel has additionally been instructed by the Chamber of Ordeal to find and kill Blayce, the mysterious source of King Maggur's horrifying killing machines.
All and all a soft start to her knightly career I would say.
As always though, Keladry of Mideland steps up to the plate. Not one to do things by halves, Kel takes on her new role with aplomb, and it's her success's, failure's and consistent struggle to do well by these people that makes the fourth book the best of the series. Add in her fabulous new charge Toby, some excellent new personalities in her group of refugees, and just the right mix of old friends doing amazing things because they believe in Kel, and you have the perfect finish to another great Tamora Pierce series.
Tamora has said that Lady Knight was greatly influenced by 9/11 as she was part way through writing it and living in New York when the day came to pass. I wouldn't have made the association without her mentioning it, but I believe the experience added to her story telling skills immeasurably. The way everyone comes together to pull off an impossible feat, the way Kel performs her knightly duties diligently but not without remorse, and the references to the goodness in others no matter what side their on all speak to more worldly author than the one who wrote the do-it-yourself Hero Alanna (who I still love by the way). But WAIT! I haven't even told you the best part yet! There's a cat! A great grey and peach coloured cat that saves the day. Jump and the sparrows are great, as always, but I love me a great cat.
Great books make you want to stand up and cheer, make you teary eyed, and in the end, make you wish you could join in and be a part of the fireworks. Lady Knight did all of this for me, and honestly, just thinking about it now leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Join me in the rosy afterglow... pick it up today and then come on back and let me know what your favourite part is.
Lady Knight, By Tamora Pierce
Published by Random House, August 2002