The Song of the Lioness is the first quartet of fantasy books by Tamora Pierce. The books were first published between 1983 and 1988 as hardcover editions by Atheneum. The Song of the Lioness tells the story of young Alanna of Trebond, a girl of noble birth, who doesn't want to lead a noble girl's life. Instead she switches places with her twin brother, Thom, and goes to the palace to become a knight. Later volumes also accompany Alanna through her first years as a knight, traveling through her homeland Tortall and other countries.
Alanna: The First Adventure
The first volume tells the story of Alanna's page years. The book describes how she switches places with her brother and first comes to the palace—disguised as the boy "Alan"--, finds friends and makes enemies. She also learns most of the things she needs to know as a knight. Even though she is only a page, Alanna already has to fight the Sweating Sickness and the powerful Ysandir.
In the Hand of the Goddess
Alanna, the squire of the Crown Prince Jonathan IV of Conté and still disguised as a boy, meets the Great Mother Goddess. From her she learns that she has to face her three greatest fears: the fear of the Chamber of the Ordeal, that of Duke Roger of Conté and the fear of love. But she also has to face another problem: Tusaine is declaring war on Tortall.
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Finally Alanna has become a knight and removed a great threat to the Tortallan Crown from the land. But the revelation that "Squire Alan" is now indeed "Sir Alanna" isn't accepted easily by the court. To get away from all the gossip and to find herself again, Alanna and her manservant Coram Smythesson left Corus and travelled through the Great Southern Desert, where they encounter the Bazhir tribe of the Bloody Hawk. There Alanna has to deal with the Bazhir's customs while teaching three young people the way of a Bazhir shaman.
On trying to save an old friend of Halef Seif's, Alanna retrieved a map promising the Dominion Jewel which could help Tortall to prosper. Thus, she sets out to find this jewel. On her way she meets the Shang Dragon Liam Ironarm as well as the Sarain Princess Thayet jian Wilima, who both return back to Tortall with her after her quest is complete. But even after she brings the Dominion Jewel home there is still danger for Tortall. Duke Roger of Conté is back from the dead and trying to destroy Tortall.
- Alanna of Trebond: Alanna is the heroine of the quartet. She becomes the first female knight after centuries. Infamous for her temper and dislike of parties she still brings glory to Tortall.
- Thom of Trebond: Thom is Alanna's twin brother. He shares her magical Gift but while Alanna fears the magic Thom can't get enough of it. With eighteen he becomes the youngest Master in known history.
- Jonathan of Conté: Jonathan is the Crown Prince of Tortall. He is also a close friend of Alanna's and later her lover. He takes his duty as a prince and later king seriously and cares for his people.
- George Cooper: George is the Rogue, the King of Thieves. Alanna first encounters him on a visit to Corus and they soon become friends. She even trusts him with her most important secret and he is the first of her new friends to learn from her that she is indeed a girl. George soon develops romantical feelings for Alanna.
- Myles of Olau: Myles is a Tortallan nobleman and known in the palace as the court drunkard. He is also the page's teacher in History and Law of the Realm, where he likes to digress about the Code of Chivalry. He and Alanna soon become friends and Myles helps her with advice and eventually even adopts her as his daughter and heir.
- Roger of Conté: Roger is Jon's cousin. He is a powerful sorcerer and tries to usurp the throne. Roger is described as being very handsome and charming. Alanna is one of the few who immediately dislikes him and sees through him. Although thought dead after his fight with Alanna after her Ordeal of Knighthood he later returns to try and destroy Tortall again.
When Tamora Pierce first wrote Alanna's story she designed it as one novel for adults with 732 pages of length under the title "The Song of the Lioness". Today this isn't available as not even Pierce herself has the original text, which was written "before computers". She first sent this manuscript out in the end of the 1970s. However she didn't find a publisher for the book. On advise of a friend and later her first agent Tamora went over the manuscript again, making it into four novels for teenagers. She spent most of the 80s with rewriting the story. The first volume of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alanna: The First Adventure was published in 1983 by Atheneum. Five years later the last book of the quartet, Lioness Rampant, came out; also published by Atheneum. Since then the novels have been published in different editions by three US publishers (Atheneum, Random House and Simon and Schuster). They have also been translated in other languages, among them German, Danish and Swedish. The novels are also available as unabridged audiobooks by Random House Audio. There also exists a German audiobook production by Audiolino for which the original text has been abridged.
A collection of cover arts sorted by design can be found here.
- ↑ Random Buzz; "Mastiff -love in the end?"; April 24, 2009
- ↑ Tamora Pierce's biography, visited May 15, 2009
- ↑ Tamora Pierce's bibliography, visited May 15, 2009