Lady Knight (Protector of the Small Series #4)

Lady Knight (Protector of the Small Series #4)

by Tamora Pierce


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The stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling series from the fantasy author who is a legend herself: TAMORA PIERCE.

Victory is not always what it seems.

Keladry of Mindelan has finally achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a knight—but it’s not quite what she imagined. In the midst of a brutal war, Kel has been assigned to oversee a refugee camp. She’s sure it’s because Lord Wyldon still doesn’t see her as equal to the men. Nevertheless, she’s learning the importance of caring for people who have been robbed of their homes, wealth, and self-respect. Perhaps this battle is as important as the war with Scanra? When Kel has a vision of the man behind the horrific killing devices that her friends are fighting without her, will she honor her sworn duty . . . or embark on a quest that could turn the tide of the war?

More timely than ever, the Protector of the Small series is Anti-Bullying 101 while also touching on issues of bravery, friendship, and dealing humanely with refugees against a backdrop of an action-packed fantasy adventure.

"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. Cracking open one of her marvelous novels always feels like coming home."
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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375829086
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 08/24/2004
Series: Protector of the Small Series , #4
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 110,321
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

TAMORA PIERCE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She first captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and young adult novels to introduce readers to a rich world populated by strong, believable heroines. Her books have been translated into many languages, and some are available on audio from Listening Library and Full Cast Audio. In 2013, she won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.” Pierce lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, Tim, and their cats, birds, and occasional rescued wildlife. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter at @TamoraPierce.

Read an Excerpt

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.

Table of Contents

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Lady Knight 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 350 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best one yet! Kel speaks to all of us with her kindness. You HAVE to read this series!( first one called first test. )
wagner.sarah35 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A satisfying conclusion to the Protector of the Small series. Kel emerges as a talented leader in this final installment, one who is determined to hunt down the man shown to her by the Chamber of the Ordeal in the last book. She is somewhat disappointed in her initial assignment to run a refugee camp, but Kel quickly takes the people she helps to heart and is determined to save them when their lives are placed in danger. A good read, definitely for fans of teen fantasy.
mossing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Keladry has earned her shield in the last book of the Protector of the Small series, and she has a quest. Nobody knows, however, when she will fulfill it. For now, she has a refugee camp to run. Later, she'll take on an evil sorcerer and his ruthless bodyguard, but first she has to wait for fate to take its course. The characters are vivid, the story engrossing, and series fans will enjoy the final installment. Ages 12-16. Recommended purchase.
BrynDahlquis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tamora Pierce likes her strong female chars, but I don't unless they have something more to them than just being 'tough'. Keladry really doesn't have much personality, something that has always made her Protector of the Small series a bit dragging. The last installation in the series was a bit more interesting since it had Keladry as an overseer of a refugee camp, which isn't a position most main chars are usually cast in. But for the most part, Lady Knight just made me want to go back and read Alanna's or Daine's quartets, because Alanna and Daine both had more personality. Sorry, Kel.It also doesn't help that Miss Pierce didn't use very varied sentence structure in Lady Knight. "He did this...He did this...He had this...He wore this..." gets -very- tiring.
Saieeda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book. A lot of thought is invested into the sideline characters, and it makes a huge difference to the improvement of the novel. The story is adventurous yet fun and, at times, humorous.
thelorelei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Lady Knight," the final installment in Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet, far surpasses the preceding volumes in depth, complexity, and stakes. While the series' "hero's task" revealed itself late in the series, it does not feel crammed or rushed at all. A great deal of the book is spent focusing on Kel's frustration; her assignment during the Scanran war is to run a refugee camp, which seems to her completely at odds with the task set her by the god-like being which is the Chamber of the Ordeal. It has ordered her to stop the enemy mage responsible for horrific acts of necromancy. She's the only knight she knows of to have ever been set on a specific mission by the Chamber, and the abhorrent nature of the mage's deeds pull at her sense of justice with every breath she takes. It is to Pierce's credit that it is not immediately obvious just how entangled her two missions are. More obvious are Pierce's intense emotions and opinions on war and the dignity of life. This is a great novel for young adults that deals with difficult situations and themes. Highly recommended.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great book in the series.
knielsen83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The last of the protector of the small quartet, I felt like there was so much more to see from the character Kel. Hopefully she will be popping up in some of Pierce's other books connected to this world.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The conclusion to the Protector of the Small series, and a fitting end it was. The first two books in the series were really wonderful, focused on Kel's journey to become a female knight through dint of hard work (no magic involved). Then in the third volume, we see her life as an apprentice, and while I enjoyed the story, it wasn't as engrossing as the first two entries in the series. In this volume Kel has finally become a knight proper, just in time for the war that is engulfing Tortall. The series really switches tracks in this book. Previously, we had been reading about Kel's journey to become a knight, and the adventures that ensued. Now, she has met that goal, and this story turns from a coming-of-age tale into an epic adventure.Ever since she entered the Chamber of the Ordeal, Kel knew that she was destined for a particular mission. Her job, given to her at the time of her commissioning as knight, is to find and stop the Nothing Man. A wizard working for the Scanran Empire, his great travesty is in harvesting the souls of children to control killing robot machines. When Kel is assigned to build and oversee a refugee camp, instead of joining troops marching against Scanra, she is both angry and frustrated. She thinks that Wyldon is once again doubting her abilities, but even worse, she has no idea how she can track down and destroy the Nothing Man if she is chained to a camp. Of course, destiny is not such an easy thing to evade, and her duty of protecting the civilians under her care soon becomes dangerously entangled with her need to find and kill the man giving her nightmares. I loved this story. Kel is still wonderfully Kel. She is caring and loyal and brave, but willing to risk everything to do what is right. Though she resents her assignment, she dutifully undertakes the task which is perfectly suited to her skills. She has always been good at caring for people and animals. Then, after the catastrophe, we have a new and exciting twist to the story, as she defies orders to do what she knows is the right thing and save her people. I liked how other friends came to her aid, and how the commanding officers know her so well that they understand why she disobeyed direct commands. I liked how she and her friends voyaged into dangerous enemy territory and defied the odds to save her people. I liked how Kel had to earn the grudging respect of a new lot of people; now that she had already proved her mettle to the castle and soldiers, she had to prove it to civilians. As you can see, I liked a lot about this story. It is much longer than the other books in the series, but appropriately so, as Pierce took her time developing the tale to a satisfying conclusion. I hope that Kel makes some appearances in future series, because I would love to know more about how her life further unfolds.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent end to the Protector of the Small series. Keladry has passed her Ordeal and is now a knight awaiting her first assignment. There is a complication, however; during her Ordeal, the magical Chamber of the Ordeal sent her a vision of a necromancer who is creating fearsome killing machines. The Chamber has set her a task: find this necromancer, and kill him. But Kel has also been set a task by her more corporeal masters: she must manage the refugee camp of Haven. Kel is well-suited to the position; Sir Raoul trained her well to be a good organizer and to manage resources, and Kel has a sympathy and rappor with commoners that many of her noble-born colleagues lack. She knows in her heart that she is the best person for the job, but her visions of the necromancer chafe at her. How can she fulfill her promise to the Chamber if she is saddled with 500 refugees?Tamora Pierce doesn't pull her punches when it comes to the fate of common people in war, and in many ways this is a rather dark novel. It ends on a hopeful note, however, and it's a very strong ending to a truly excellent series.
orangejulia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although I really enjoyed this series over all, I found this book to be a disappointing end to the series. For some reason, this book fell flat. Kel faces some tough enemies, including a mage who steals children's souls to run evil war machines, but I didn't get wrapped up in her struggles the way I did in the past. Maybe the problem was that the enemies she faced in this book were evil in an over the top way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book yet but one of the reviews said the monsters were unrealistic, ever heard of fantasy? Should I read the book or not?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read from library: wish i had $ to get digital
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been reading this author since i was 12 so almost 18 years. I love alanna, and the immortal series is also great but Kel's story holds true as the best teen series in my mind. I saw some reviews that were upset at the lack of romance but to me having a female protagonist that has more important concerns then having sex as soon as possible is a welcome relief after character like Bella in twilight who agrees to marry the guy she loves at 18 because he won't have sex with her without being married (yes i know there were other factors), is a fact that i find very upsetting as a role model for teen girls reading these books. Give me books about honor, self sacrifice, hard word and lessons in morality witu a side of fun, good conversation and young, innocent, love any day over vampires and werewolves. Thank you Tamora Pierce
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What about Cleon?! I have to confess them being together was one of my favorite parts. He was just gone...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read this yet, but i really am looking forward to it! I read squire and finished it ten minutes ago. I nearly forgot i was reading! I wonder what is yet to come, but i'll love it the way i love all tamora pierce's books. I <3 Neal!!!!!!!!!!
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