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First Truth (Truth, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 28, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

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Alissa is a headstrong, pragmatic child of the foothills, whose father has been missing since she was five. One morning her mother announces that Alissa must journey to the Hold, the magical place of stories her papa had told her, where gifted people are trained to be Keepers by the mysterious Masters. Her mother has seen signs that Alissa has inherited her father's talents and must be trained. Against her will, Alissa sets out across the prewinter plains. She meets Strell, a light-hearted minstrel who has a penchant for irritating her, but who has a map. A partnership is born. Neither partner knows that at the Hold the evil Bailic has dispatched the Masters and murdered the Keepers--Alissa's father among them. Bailic wants the book of First Truth, and to rule the land with it. When Alissa and Strell arrive, Bailic soon comprehends that one of them can help him find the book. A beautifully told, simple story that looks unblinkingly at how prejudice unnecessarily reinforces misconceptions, misunderstandings, and hatred. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


In her beguiling debut, Cook has woven together magical threads. . . a tale of courage and quest. . . a world rich with vivid detail. . . and characters, whether valiant or villainous, impossible to forget. --Deborah Chester

Dawn Cook's First Truth is a fun book, sure to appeal to fans (like me) of Tamora Pierce or Robin McKinley. With characters to cheer for, vicious villains, and attack birds, First Truth had everything I need in a good read. I look forward to Alissa's next adventure. --bestselling author Patricia Briggs --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Reissue edition (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044100945X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441009459
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many fantasy books simply retread the cliches, with a too-large cast and an attempt at epic storytelling at the expense of personal characterization. Dawn Cook, like Kristen Britain, is one of the new authors who does not fall into this trap.
Alissa comes from a mixed marriage of the plainsmen and the hill people; her father, a Keeper, vanished when she was very young and her mother has raised her alone. Alissa has long since stopped believing that the Hold, a place where magic is taught, is a real place. But her mother insists that it is, and one day she sends Alissa off with her pet kestrel, Talon, to be taught how to be a Keeper. Alissa soon meets up with a plainsman musician, Strell, who recently returned to find that his family is dead. The two grate on each other immediately, with Strell prejudiced against Alissa's hill upbringing and Alissa angry about what she sees as Strell's plains snobbery.
But Strell has something that Alissa needs: A map, drawn by her father and traded away to Strell by her mother. Strell doesn't want to give it up, and agrees reluctantly to accompany Alissa on what she sees as a fool's quest. Except it isn't a fool's quest; a psychic power calling itself "Useless" possesses Alissa's body, and when the two arrive at the Hold, they find only one man in the entire building. Bailic is looking for a book known as the "First Truth," created by a powerful Master and put in the keeping of Alissa's father. And now he believes that Alissa and Strell can lead him to it...
It was refreshing to read this book, in a market flooded with cliched sword-and-sorcery stories. Cook does not seem to concern herself with making this book an epic, or cramming it full of complicated cultures and peoples.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on March 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before Alissa's father disappeared he would tell her stories about a legendary fortress called the Hold. It was a type of university where human Keepers learned magic from the Masters. They were just stories before bed. She never believed any of it was real.
When her mother realized that Alissa had inherited her father's magical abilities, she sent Alissa away from their farm to search for the Hold and begin her training. Her small bird, Talon, went with her. On the way, they met a wandering musician from the plains named Strell. Even though the farmers and the plainsmen did not get along well, they traveled together hoping to locate the Hold before the snows began.
Bailic was the only Keeper left in the Hold. The power hungry man had sent all the Masters, except one, away on a wild goose chase and then killed the other Keepers. The only Master left was trapped in a hidden dungeon. Bailic searched for a book filled with spells and power called First Truth. When two travelers appeared at the gate, he could sense that one was a latent Keeper, but could not tell which. Regardless, he would use them. Once no longer needed, they would die!
***** Here is an AWESOME new author and I expect her to become very well known fast! Dawn Cook has created a magical world with amazing characters.
I quickly found myself engrossed in the the story line and was irritated every time I had to stop reading. I wanted nothing more than to dive back into this book filled with magic, dragons, and danger. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Aimee on July 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I initially picked it up because of the gorgeous cover, but I wasn't sure I would like it, since I haven't been in the mood for fantasy lately. But I opened it and started to read, and I'm glad I did. I found this story to be greatly entertaining. The heroine, Alissa, is refreshingly realistic -- magically gifted, yes, perhaps even extraordinarily so, but still recognizably a nineteen-year-old girl, and subject to the impetuousness of youth. She makes mistakes, and she has a fierce temper, but she is ultimately an extremely likeable and sympathetic character.
As far as world-building goes -- well, we don't see a whole lot of the world, just a small section of it: the plains and the foothills. (And this makes sense, for our viewpoint character, Alissa, grew up in the foothills and has never been far from home before. This area is the only one she knows.) However, that small section is richly detailed, and the prejudice and mistrust between the two groups vividly drawn.
My only complaint about this book is that it ended far too quickly; the story wasn't finished yet! The resolution of the plot is delayed until the next book in the series comes out -- so if you're the type who can't stand an unfinished story, you might want to wait to read this until then. However, for everyone else, this was a delightful read that kept me turning the pages. I recommend it for every fantasy-lover who just wants to read a good story!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "mortivdomini" on March 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up First Truth because I was bored, and the cover art was pretty. Yes, shallow perhaps, but I've read most of the known 'greats' in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, and even the greats can sound pretty horrible if you just read the blurb on the back. And anyway, I like discovering relatively new authors.
First Truth had potential; the writing itself was average (not great, but no glaring mistakes either) from a technical standpoint, the world and magic system was interesting and different, and I like stories of self-discovery. However, the characterization really really undermined it for me.
The dialogue is pretty bad...very predictable, and there were spots where I'd be distracted from the story and start laughing at it. The characters showed their main traits early at the start of the book, and by the end, they were just as shallow as they started (and, since I have read the rest of the series, it's the same with all except 1 character, whom I like, but who may be just as shallow and I don't see it since I like him.). I get the 'buddy buddy' know, when you feel as if all the characters are already well known to each other and destined to be friends, and the spats are shallow and contrieved and you know it'll be all better eventually, and the character's feelings aren't really written about in depth. This is kind of sad, especially when the cast of characters is limited (and indeed is limited for the rest of the series too) because with a limited cast you especially need character depth, otherwise it's really uninteresting.
I basically read on to learn more about the world and magic system, not for the characters.
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