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Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper #1 (Beka Cooper #01)

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Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper #1 (Beka Cooper #01) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Being the Journal of Rebakah Cooper

dwelling at Mistress Trout's lodgings

Nipcopper Close, the Lower City

Corus, the realm of Tortall

I have this journal that I mean to use as a record of my days as a Provost's Dog. Should I survive my first year as a Puppy, it will give me good practice for writing proper reports when I am required to write them as a proper Dog. By reporting as much as I can remember word by word, especially in talk with folk about the city, I will keep my memory exercises sharp. Our trainers told us we must always try to memorize as much as we could exactly as we could. "Your memory is your record when your hands are too busy." That is one of our training sayings.

For my own details, to make a proper start, I own to five feet and eight inches in height. My build is muscled for a mot. I have worked curst hard to make it so, in the training yard and on my own. My peaches are well enough. Doubtless they would be larger if I put on more pounds, but as I have no sweetheart and am not wishful of one for now, my peaches are fine as they are.

I am told I am pretty in my face, though my sister Diona says when my fine nose and cheekbones have been broken flat several times that will no longer be so. (My sisters do not want me to be a Dog.) My eyes are light blue gray in color. Some like them. Others hold them to be unsettling. I like them, because they work for me. My teeth are good. My hair is a dark blond. Folk can see my brows and lashes without my troubling to darken them, not that I would. I wear my hair long, as my one vanity. I know it offers an opponent a grip, but I have learned to tight braid it from the crown of my head. I also have a spiked strap to braid into it, so that any who seize my braid will regret it.

I want to write down every bit of this first week of my first year above all. For eight long year I have waited for this week. Now it has come. I want a record of my first seeking, my training Dogs, my every bit of work. I know I will be made a Dog sooner than any Puppy has ever been. I will start to prove I know more than any Puppy has ever done my very first week.

It is not vanity. I lived in the Cesspool for eight year. I stole. I have studied at the knee of the Lord Provost for eight more year, and run messages for the Provost's Dogs for three year, before I ever went into training. I know every street and alley of the Lower City better than I know the faces of my sisters and brothers, better than I knew my mother's face. I will learn the rest quicker than any other Puppy. I even live in the Lower City now. I know none of the others assigned to the Jane Street Kennel do so. (They will regret it when they must walk all the way home at the end of their watch!)

So my first week is of particular importance in this journal.

Pounce says I count my fish before they're hooked. I tell Pounce that if I had to be saddled with a purple-eyed talking cat, why must I have a sour one? He is to stay home during my first week as a Puppy. I will not be distracted by this strange creature who has been my friend these last four years. And I will not have my Dogs distracted by him. Four legged cats--not even ones who talk in cat but make themselves understood in Common--have naught to do with plain, honest Dog work.

I am assigned to the Jane Street Kennel. The Watch Commander in this year of 246 is Acton of Fenrigh. I doubt I will ever have anything to do with him. Most Dogs don't. Our Watch Sergeant is Kebibi Ahuda, one of my training masters, my training master in combat, and the fiercest mot I have ever met. We have six Corporals on our Watch and twenty-five Senior Guards. That's not counting the cage Dogs and the Dogs who handle the scent hounds. We also have a mage on duty, Fulk. Fulk the Nosepicker, we mots call him. I plan to have nothing to do with him, either. The next time he puts a hand on me I will break it, mage or not.

There is the sum of it. All that remains is my training Dogs. I will write of them, and describe them properly, when I know who they are.

April 1, 246

And so this is my day at last--my evening, in truth, as I have been assigned to the Evening Watch at the Jane Street Kennel. The Watch Commander is some member of the As the sun touched the rim of the city wall, I walked into the Jane Street Kennel in uniform. I was able to get it all for free from the old clothes room at my Lord Provost's house. I wore the summer black tunic with short sleeves, black breeches, and black boots. I had a leather belt with purse, whistle, paired daggers, a proper baton, water flask, rawhide cords for prisoner taking. I was kitted up like a proper Dog and ready to bag me some rats who broke the king's law.

Some of the other Lower City trainees were already there. Like me they wore a Puppy's white trim at the hems of sleeves and tunic. None of us have figured out if the white is to mark us out so rats will spare us, or if they will kill us first. None of the veteran Dogs who were our teachers would say, either.

I sat with the other Puppies. They greeted me with gloom. None of them wanted to be here, but each district gets its allotment of the year's Puppies. My companions on this bench feel they drew the short straw. There is curst little glory here. Unless you are a veteran Dog or a friend of the Rogue, the pickings are coppers at best. And the Lower City was rough. Everyone knew that of the Puppies who started their training year in the Lower City, half give up or are killed in the first four months.

I tried to look as glum as the others. The truth was, I had asked to be sent here.

Ahuda took her place at the tall sergeant's desk. We all sat up. We'd feared her in training. She is a stocky black woman with some freckles and hair she has straightened and cut just below her ears. The story is her family is from Carthak far in the south. They say she treats trainees the way she did in vengeance for how the Carthakis treated her family as slaves. All I knew was that she'd made fast fighters of us.

She nodded to the evening watch Dogs as they came on duty, already in their pairs or meeting up in the waiting room. Some looked at our bench and grinned. Some nudged each other and whispered and laughed. My classmates hunkered down and looked miserable.

"They'll eat us alive," my friend Ersken whispered in my ear. He was the kindest of us, which worried me. "I think they sharpen their teeth."

"Going to sea wouldn'ta been so bad." Verene had come in after me and sat on my other side. "Go on, Beka--give `em one of them ice-eye glares of yours."

I looked down. Though I am comfortable enough with my fellow Puppies, I wasn't so comfortable with the Dogs or the other folk who came in with business in the kennel. "You get seasick," I told Verene. "That's why you went for a Dog. And leave my glares out of it."

Since Ahuda was at her desk, the Watch Commander was already in his office. He'd be going over the assignments, choosing the Dog partners who would get a Puppy. I asked the Goddess to give Ersken someone who'd understand his kindness never meant he was weak. Verene needed Dogs that would talk to her straight. And me?

Goddess, Mithros, let them be good at their work, I begged.

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Alexandria Rhiner, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Alexandria Rhiner)
I love this book!! The characters and the story line are fantastically written and it never gets boring. I have read it multiple times and enjoyed it every time.I would recommend to everyone.
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StormyWolf, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by StormyWolf)
"In 246 H.E., the Provost's Dogs guard Tortall's capital city. Beka Cooper is one of their newest trainees—a Puppy wet behind the ears but eager to learn. But Beka will have to learn faster than she bargained for because she's assigned to the Lower City, Corus's toughest district. It's filled with pickpockets who are fast as lightning, rogues who will knock your teeth out with a smile, and murderers with hidden plans." (Book Jacket)

Luckily, Beka's got a few tricks up her sleeve. Gifted with the ability to hear murdered spirits, she's already discovered two separate killing sprees. Unfortunately, the dead aren't very detailed, and going on half the facts can get a Dog killed. It'll take all of Beka's smarts and skills if she's going to track down these murderers. If she doesn't get killed in the meantime....

I must admit, Terrier was a wonderful break from the slough of paranormal YA I've been reading recently. Nothing against any of those books, mind you, but this book was a welcome breath of fresh air. It has action, mystery, investigation, and just that tiny hint of magic that lets you know anything's possible. The magic is there, but it's more of a whisper than a major player, leaving the characters to rely on more 'conventional' methods.

Even though, as I said earlier, Tris was probably my favorite character, Beka and I instantly clicked. She's smart, headstrong, loyal, but at the same time unbearably shy around her superiors to the point that she can barely get out a full sentence. Yet, because we're in her head, we know she's not an idiot and she doesn't mean to waste anyone's time, and she's kicking herself for not being stronger. Now, who can't relate to that?

Oh, you caught that? That's right, this book is written in 1st person—the first of the Tortall books to be done so. Though some might see it as merely a conformity to the fad that is running rampant through current YA fiction, I cannot stress enough how wrong they would be.

Terrier is written as a series of journal entries—and not your typical, "Dear Diary, I hope Brad asks me to the prom," either. Done in the style of police reports, Beka's entries are extremely detailed and strictly business. Perhaps Beka introduces them best:

Written on the morning of my first day of duty.
I have this journal that I mean to use as a record of my days in the Provost's Guard. Should I survive my first year as a Puppy, it will give me good practice for writing reports when I am a proper Dog. By setting down as much as I can remember word by word, especially in talk with folk about the city, I will keep my memory exercises sharp. (Terrier 21)

Of course, since these are only practice, you can't expect everything to be without personality. I think my favorite quips were her beginning notes about her 'peaches' not being too large, but it being alright because she was not in the market for a man. Pierce lets Beka's personality shine through the narrative, while still giving us a compelling adventure and mystery.

If I had one complaint... Since these are Beka's journals, meant for her eyes only, she often doesn't describe 'commonly known' terms. While some vocabulary terms' (like peaches) meanings are easily worked out, some other terms require a glossary. Luckily, Pierce includes one in the back of all her books. Nearly everything and everyone you need to know is located in the back of the book.

However, I still had trouble picking out the names. Beka's two partners, Matthias Tunstall and Clara Goodwin are referred to by both nicknames and last names multiple times in the first chapter. Even with the glossary, the slang took some getting used to as well. Also, the term "cove" is used throughout the book to mean male, man, or boy, but is never clearly defined and is left out of the glossary. Eventually (around the second chapter) my mind made the transition and everything clicked into place.

(I see that cove has been included in the sequel's glossary and means "man".)

Age-wise, I'd recommend a slightly older audience. Romance isn't an issue for Beka (thank goodness—a break from love triangles!) but there are allusions to sex and promiscuity. The book deals with murder, and though there aren't any graphic scenes, death and crime are main players. Plus, just because of the nature of the narration, Terrier might not capture younger readers' attention right away. Probably middle school or older would enjoy these the best.

Overall, if you enjoy YA literature, if you want the teen without the teen drama, or if you want strong, relateable, heroines, you MUST give Tamora Pierce a read. Whether you're looking for adventure, mythology, spies, mages, knights, teachers, or detectives, she's got you covered. For anyone who hasn't yet read Tamora Pierce, the Provost's Dog (aka Beka Cooper) series is certainly a great place to start. And for those who have already fallen in love with Pierce, you'll want to check out this latest venture into Tortall.

Approximate Reading Time: 7.5 Hours
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Emily Garland, December 20, 2009 (view all comments by Emily Garland)
This story has the many details that make a great story, a great lead character, a detailed plot that keeps you guessing and an amazing set of supporting characters. I have to say these are one of those stories that stays with you and keeps you wanting more. I feel that this story leads the reader on a amazing adventure.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375838163
Author:
Pierce, Tamora
Publisher:
Random House Books for Young Readers
Author:
Lidell, Alex
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Police
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Magic
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Beka Cooper
Series Volume:
01
Publication Date:
October 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 7 up to 11
Language:
English
Pages:
608
Dimensions:
8.21x5.53x1.31 in. 1.10 lbs.
Age Level:
12-16

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Related Subjects

Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper #1 (Beka Cooper #01) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 608 pages Random House Books for Young Readers - English 9780375838163 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Pierce deftly handles the novel's journal structure, and her clear homage to the police-procedural genre applies a welcome twist to the girl-legend-in-the-making story line."
"Review" by , "With its rollicking adventure, appealing characters, and inclusion of Tortall's history, Terrier will be in strong demand by Pierce's fans. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats."
"Review" by , "Fans of the author will love this latest entry in Pierce's canon, and newcomers will find Beka a refreshing and enjoyable heroine."
"Review" by , "Readers who fancy a British-sounding fantasy will enjoy Pierce's latest entry. Beka is a credible teenager who develops character throughout the book....A welcome addition to Pierce's opus — and the makings of a great movie."
"Synopsis" by , Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce's popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.
"Synopsis" by ,
Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

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