Battle Magic

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Battle Magic
A Novel of the Circle Universe
Protagonist Evvy, Briar, Rosethorn
Antagonist Emperor Weishu
Jia Jiu
Setting Yanjing, Gyongxe
Author Tamora Pierce
Cover Artist Christopher Stengel
Publication information
Publisher Scholastic
Release Date September 24, 2013
UK Release Date
Pages 440 (hardcover edition)
Series The Circle Reforged
Preceded by Melting Stones
Followed by '

Battle Magic is the eleventh book set in the Emelanese Universe. It is part of The Circle Reforged quartet.

Battle Magic is set after the events in The Circle Opens quartet. The book is a prequel to The Will of the Empress, and to Melting Stones, where accounts of a war are described.

This book features Briar Moss, Rosethorn, and Evumeimei Dingzai, and how they survived a brutal war between Yanjing and Gyongxe.

Tamora Pierce's Website Description

While visiting the God-King and the First Circle temple in Gyongxe, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are invited to visit the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxe, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion.

Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxe to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle.

But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?

Inside the book

Cover flap summary

Mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy are visiting the mystical mountain kingdom of Gyongxe when they are suddenly called away The emperor of Yanjing has invited them to see his glorious gardens.
During their brief stay, though, the mages see far more than splendid flowers. They see the emperor's massive army, his intense cruelty, and the devastating magic that keeps his power in place.
It's not till they leave that they discover he's about to launch a major invasion of Gyongxe. The mountain land is home to many temples...including the First Temple of the Living Circle, which Rosethorn has vowed to defend.
With time running out, the mages race to warn their Gyongxin friends of the emperor's plans.
Duty, mystery, magic, and terror will drive them apart on the way. And while new friends will do their best to bring the mages together again on the field of battle, deadly enemies hide in every mountain pass, just waiting to destroy them.
Battle Magic, 2013 hardcover edition


"To the veterans
Family and not,
Friends and not,
Past, present, future,
Because William Tecumseh Sherman was right
And war is all hell.
—Dedication of Battle Magic

Plot introduction

Set two years before the events of The Will of the Empress, Evvy, Briar, and Rosethorn, are caught in a vicious war between Yanjing and Gyongxe after their adventures in Chammur.


Publication background

Battle Magic was originally scheduled for publication in 2012.[1] However, the publication date was pushed back to September 24, 2013.[2] Tamora Pierce worked on the book from August 2011 till its publication. She first mentioned the title in a blog post on her personal livejournal without explicitly saying that it was the next Emelan book[3].

The hardcover edition was first published by Scholastic Corporation on September 24th, 2013. The Kindle edition was published October 1st, 2013[4].

Hints about "Battle Magic"

"Battle Magic" is referenced in mutiple works.

Miscellaneous Sources

Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy all showed signs of PTSD in The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones from the events in Battle Magic. [5]

"Street Magic" 

At the end of "Street Magic," Briar, Rosethorn, Evvy, and her cats left Chammur to travel further east to Yanjing.

"Melting Stones"

Envy, Rosethorn, and Briar travelled to Yanjing after leaving Chamber so that Rosethorn and Briar could see new plants. Envy notes that she and Rosethorn are used to long trips together, and that she and Briar had saved each other's lives constantly in Chamber, Yanjing, and Gyongxe. After Yanjing and Gyongxe Envy feels that she must watch out for Rosethorn as Briar asks and that Rosethorn belongs to Envy as well. Despite their troubles with the emperor and all of his armies in the war, Envy has not had troubles with Rosethorn. Evvy feels guilty if she does things that tire Rosethorn out, and makes sure Rosethorn takes her medicines, eats, and puts on warmer clothing if needed. Rosethorn says she can do these things herself.

Evvy met Luvo, the heart of a mountain, on her previous travels in Yanjing. Luvo is an 18 inch tall, green and purple crystal bear shaped living creature with power for blood. He takes energy from the earth when he needs it, rather than eating. Luvo sensed Envy's arrival when they approached Luvo's mountain in the Heaven Wind Mountains of southern Yanjing. His mountain is large, supports huge glaciers, has villages, forests, and deep, ice-cold caves, and is worshed as a god. Luvo left the inside of his mountain to meet Envy. He has since been keeping them company. Luvo is very comforting and helpful to Evvy. She can carry him in a sling. Luvo lightens himself to be carried, although he once allowed himself to be heavier because someone he and Envy didn't like was trying to carry him. During their time on Starns, Luvo states that he has been awake for two years, and later states he has known Rosethorn for three. Evvy has found that people do not believe Luvo because he is so extraordinary, although they belive Rosethorn and Briar because their work deals with everyday things.

During their travels, Envy saw the Temple of the Great Giant Man (a solid green statue a hundred feet tall, decorated with jewels and ropes of pearls.) In Gyongxe, Envy learned tricks from riders of Gyongxe (to stay on the horse when in danger). They saw the emperor who wore a lot of silk to look regal. The emperor of Yanjing gave Evvy a coat made of red silk. In Yanjing, Envy decided she no longer considers vines to be rock killers. In Yanjing and Gyongxe, it is believed that everything human has ghosts. She learned that the Shamand of Qidau chew funny leaves "to imagine they can talk to the sky and horse gods."

Envy, Rosethorn, and Briar were caught in fighting during their travels. Luvo faced the armies in Gyongxe without appearing troubled (without grinding his jaws). In Gyongxe, Luvo says that he saw that meat creatures (people) argue, deny, and quibble like bleating sheep when there is trouble (which is what is happening on Starns in Melting Stones).

At one point, Evvy was a captive of the emperor's soldiers. They had beaten her and whipped her feet to get her to tell where her friends were hiding. Envy states that she put crystal around her heart so she wouldn't tell, and the soldiers finally gave up. The soles of her feet are now scarred. At one point Envy is so drained she has to be tied to her horse.

After traveling, they sailed home from Gyongxe.

Briar could barely stay at Winding Circle for more than an hour or too, because the temple city reminded him too much of Gyongxe. Evvy did not have the same problems, but Rosethorn told her that everyone recovered differently from war. Envy visited Briar frequently at his new house in Emelan, but when he went to Namorn Envy thought that Briar was glad to leave her and that she was finished business to Briar (although she pretended to be okay with him leaving).

Evvy stayed at discipline in Winding Circle, where she began to learn additional magical lessons, such as how to draw maps of places she travelled to in her power. Luvo met Lark. Evvy found some book (academic) mage friends. She got in trouble at Winding Circle, and was required to go to Starns with Rosethorn. She was defending herself against bullies attacking her, but did not know when to stop. She no longer had her cats. At the time of her arrival at Starns, Rosethorn says that she was six months out from a war.

Evvy did not like to be touched in "Melting Stones." Dedicate Myrrtide seems to have trouble remembering this. Rose thorn had warned him that she and Envy had been in a war and suffer effects from it. They react violently if someone touches them to wake them up. Rose thorn also warned that Envy might panic if she saw a man's face close to hers when she woke or came out of a trance. She says that Envy fought as hard as or harder than adults in the war. When Myrrhtide woke Envy unexpectedly from a trance, she was terrified. Her feet throbbed with the memory of pain from the war. She fought back by head butting and biting the person waking her. She had forgotten where she was, and thought she was back as a prisoner in Gyongxe and would be beaten again.

Rose thorn and Envy do not like to talk about what happened in the war. Rosethorn ordered Envy and Briar not to talk about all that she did in the war to fight the emperor's armies, but it put a lot of strain on her body and heart. Lark made a blanket in opal colors for Rosethorns, with signs of strength, healing, and warmth knitted in. Envy says it was a long time ago and tells Myrrhtide that he doesn't have to be nice to her just because of her past injuries. She also says that no one needs to remember the nasty parts of her travels in the east. She is, however, willing to talk about the stones she saw on her journeys.

Envy developed a more cynical attitude after the war (as well as due to being sold as a slave when she was 6), and believed that people were cruel. She believed that people start out happy when mages come to help them, but then they convince themselves that the mages owe them help, and the mages should have kill themselves to help. They begin demanding and ordering more from the mages, until they are like slaves. She does not believe the people and villages are worth the help. She says the war soured her.  She would like to be like stone. She does not like people, and prefers cats and rocks. She does not feel that she needs to help people pack up when the volcano will explode on Starns; she and Rosethorn can pack and leave quickly.

"The Will of the Empress"


  • Luvo met in Yanjing and begins traveling with them: 2-3 years prior to arrival at Starns (MS)
  • Sailed home from Gyongxe (MS)
  • Briar left for Namorn (MS)
  • Envy and Rosethorn left for Starns with Myrrhtide (MS)
  • Arrival at Starns: 6 months after Rosethorn, Envy, and Briar escaped from the war (MS)


"Pierce combines wonderful characterization with unique magic, realms, and creatures to create a splendid tale."—School Library Journal

"Fans of the Circle of Magic and Circle Opens series will delight in this volume, which fills in history between Street Magic...and Cold Fire..."—Booklist

An Excerpt was published in Time's Entertainment section.[6]

Battle Magic made the New York Times YA Bestseller list for October 13th, 2013.[7]

External links

Notes and references

  1. Tamora Pierce's website (overview on the left), retrieved on August 29, 2011
  2. Product page on
  3. "Catching Up" on Pierce's livejournal, retrieved on August 29, 2011
  4. Goodreads site for Battle Magic editions

See also

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