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|A Novel of Tortall|
|Protagonist||Keladry of Mindelan|
|Cover Artist||Joyce Patti|
|UK Release Date|
|Series||Protector of the Small|
|Followed by||Lady Knight|
Squire is the third book in the series Protector of the Small. It details Keladry of Mindelan (Kel)'s continuing quest for knighthood.
Squire tells the story of Keladry of Mindelan's years as a squire, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Having passed the "big examinations", Kel becomes a squire without a knight-master. While she becomes frustrated at waiting for offers from knights, her best friend, Nealan of Queenscove becomes squire to Alanna the Lioness, the first lady knight in Tortall, and Kel's personal hero.
While Kel is disappointed at not becoming the Lioness's squire, she has already accepted an equally prestigious offer from Lord Raoul of Goldenlake, commander of the elite King's Own and a personal friend to the Lioness. As Lord Raoul's squire, she travels with the King's Own and participates in routine duties ranging from chasing rogue centaurs to helping to rebuild villages afflicted by natural disasters such as mudslides. Along the way, Kel acquires a baby griffin from the bandits who kidnapped him from his parents' nest. Due to the high incidence of kidnapping immature griffins for their magical powers, griffin parents attack any human who has ever touched one of their offspring, so this task is not without its dangers.
As knight-master, Raoul teaches Kel the fineries of command, and hones her proven skills in jousting, eventually entering her into tournaments where she jousts against other squires and knights. She jousts twice against Wyldon of Cavall, her previous training master, a political conservative who was initially vehemently opposed to Kel's training to be a knight. On the second occasion she becomes the first person in over a decade to face Lord Wyldon in a joust without leaving the saddle. She also meets three girls, two of them sisters, who tell her that they wish to try for knighthood as well and ask her for advice. Kel notes that the sisters appear to be serious about becoming pages, while the third girl seems to be they type that jumps from idea to idea, and hopes that she will meet at least one them again in the future.
When a political marriage is arranged for Prince Roald, the heir apparent, the Yamani Princess he is betrothed to turns out to be Shinkokami (nicknamed Shinko), a friend from Kel's childhood years in the Yamani Islands; one of her ladies-in-waiting is Yukimi noh Daiomoru, another of Kel's old friends. Shinko's anxiety about her upcoming marriage, and the prospect of integrating into Tortallan society, become catalysts for the three to reforge their friendship, as Kel introduces Shinko to various aspects of Tortallan culture. Kel also introduces Yuki to her squire friends, and she and Neal strike up a quick romance.
Joren of Stone Mountain is found to be the noble who paid two men to kidnap Lalasa Isran, Kel's maid. He is, however, acquitted with a fine. Kel protests the unfairness of the law to the monarchs and gets them to attempt to change it.
Princess Shinkokami's introduction to the subjects of Tortall provides an excuse for the Grand Progress, a traveling court of the royal family, nobility and other notables. Against his wishes, Raoul joins the progress, with Kel in tow. This becomes a chance that lets Kel strike up a secret romance with Sir Cleon of Kennan, and Raoul becomes involved with the commander of the Queen's Riders, Queen Thayet's right-hand, Buriram Tourakom.
Kels second Midwinter as a squire sees her facing the Ordeals of Knighthood of her older friends Prince Roald and Cleon of Kennan (who is at this point her lover of sorts). Their age group includes Joren of Stone Mountain, who dies in the Chamber of the Ordeal.
On the midwinter after her eighteenth birthday, Kel is scheduled to undergo the Ordeal, a ritual that determines if a squire is worthy to become a knight. Cleon can't make it to Kel's Ordeal because he is in the north of Tortall, fighting the Scanrans. Of all her year-mates, her name is drawn for the last day of midwinter. Kel waits anxiously while all her friends pass their Ordeals, but her anxiety is disproven; she passes the Ordeal and receives her knight's shield after seeing a disturbing vision in the Chamber. After the Ordeal, Kel is still haunted by visions of the man, but her becoming a knight provides the proper distraction from her nightmares. She also recieves a sword from the Lioness, who had been anonymously sending her gifts of weapons and training equipment throughout her page and squire years.
Kel- Kel is the first acknowledged female page (now squire) in over a hundred years. She is training with Lord Raoul of Goldenlake as his squire.
Lord Raoul- Lord Raoul is the leader of the King's Own. He is Kel's knight-master and one of her closest friends. He and the Lady Alanna trained together.
Cleon- Cleon of Kennan is a fellow squire. Kel finds herself entering into a romantic relationship with him.
Neal- Nealan of Queenscove, Neal, is Kel's best friend. He travels with his knight-mistress, the Lady Alanna of Pirate's Swoop.
Princess Shinkokami- a Yamani princess, Shinko is set to marry Prince Roald. She and Kel have a friendship that dates back from Kel's time in the Yamani Islands.