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Terrier (The Legend of Beka Cooper, Book 1) Hardcover – October 24, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Beka Cooper Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tamora Pierce has been creating strong, appealing heroines for teen fantasy fans for years, creating 2 main universes to house her multiple series. With Terrier, Pierce returns to the Tortall universe (home to her Song of the Lioness, Immortals, Protector of the Small, and Daughter of the Lioness series). Want to learn more? Read an exclusive essay from Tamora Pierce below. --Daphne Durham

An Essay from Tamora Pierce

Sixteen-year-old Beka Cooper lives far removed from knights, palaces, and the nobility. Her world revolves around thieves, beggars, taverns, and the lowest of the low. She's a trainee for the Provost's Guard—a rookie cop, in a world where a cop makes her own name based on her personality, her attitude toward money, and her love of the law. Beka means to prove that she is out to make her mark in this hard and physical world.

She does face a large obstacle. She's shy. Painfully shy. Left to her own devices, she would have no friends. It's hard for her to talk to people she doesn't know. It's a problem for the Guards who train her, a real problem for Beka—unless she can figure out that a uniform is a kind of costume, one she can hide behind. One that will make her a more outspoken person. It will help a lot if people come to realize that under her shyness is a clever, determined young woman. It will help even more if she can make friends who can give her good advice. Luckily, she has one such friend living with her in her slum apartment: a purple-eyed black cat named Pounce. He can make himself understood in human speech if he wishes to. He's capable of doing weirdly intelligent things to help his young companion Beka. With Pounce to assist her, Beka cannot have an ordinary career.

Beka tells her own story in a journal that she keeps from her very first day as a Puppy. The Guards are dubbed "Dogs" in her time and their trainees are called "Puppies." In its pages she writes of her days with her training Dogs, the pair who are to teach her what they know of survival on the streets in the city's toughest slum. Both are veterans. Tunstall is an easygoing, funny man who can be a little crazy in a fight. Goodwin is a small, tough woman who is opposed to Beka's presence at the beginning, a hard Dog and a smart one. They take charge when Beka brings them word of two vicious sets of crimes. Like everyone else in Beka's life, her partners find out that once Beka gets a case in her teeth, she hangs onto it like a terrier until it's been solved.

I have all kinds of reasons why I went to the past of the Alanna books. In part I wanted to show how present-day Tortall came to be. I also knew George's fans would welcome any kind of return to the Lower City, even if it wasn't the Lower City of his time. I wanted to get away from the courts and nobility, the setting for so many of the Tortall books thus far. Since I didn't want to show any of the characters I've come to love as being old or even dead, I couldn't write books in the future of the current Tortall. I turned to the past, and I'm pretty sure my readers will be glad I did! --Tamora Pierce

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up—Orphaned Beka Cooper, 16, is a trainee-a "Puppy"-in the Provost's Guard. Having spent the first half of her life in Tortall's slums, she is driven by the need to do what is right and see justice done. Paired with two of the best Guards, or "Dogs," in the organization and aided by her own gifts of magic, Beka learns her job, makes friends with two mages and a thief, and uncovers two serial killers who prey on the poor and unnoticed. With Terrier, Pierce tries out a new style of storytelling and succeeds admirably. Beka, the ancestor of George Cooper from the "Song of the Lioness" series (S & S), tells her story through journal entries, making for a thoroughly engaging read. The characters are recognizable types, but all have their own personalities. Readers will enjoy meeting the Lady Knight Sabine of Macayhill, Alanna's precursor in profession and temperament; Rosto the Piper; and Beka's friends. The level of violence is comparable to that found in "The Circle Opens" series (Scholastic) but isn't as gratuitous. This seems mostly to be due to the journal format, which gives readers only Beka's thoughts and feelings as opposed to those of the killers as well. With its rollicking adventure, appealing characters, and inclusion of Tortall's history, Terrier will be in strong demand by Pierce's fans. It will keep readers on the edge of their seats.—Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037581468X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375814686
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Burt VINE VOICE on October 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it was by Tamora Pierce and I read everything she writes. I opened it up to find that it was written as journal passages . . . this made me very nervous as I dislike books written in this style more times then not. However, I soon got passed this obstacle and got into the story of Beka Cooper. As a fan of all of Pierce's books I can honestly say that Beka may be very favorite heroine through all the books. I also really enjoyed the idea of the Dogs as a whole. I think fans will love this book and so will readers new to Pierce's work. I also think Terrier may hold more appeal for a male audience then some of Pierces other characters and series.
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Format: Hardcover
Terrier (2006) is the first fantasy novel in the Beka Cooper series. Rebekah Cooper grew up in the Lower City section of Corus, the capital of Tortall. She is able to talk to the dust spinners and to hear the spirits of the dead riding on pigeons (but the dead rarely hear her). At eight years of age, she stalked the man who beat her mother and ran out with everything of value in their household.

After finding the man meeting with his pals in the Bold Brass gang, she turned them in to the Lord Provost himself when none other would listen. The Provost took Beka, her mother, and her four siblings into his own household. Beka eventually became a trainee in the Provost's Guard.

In this novel, Beka is a Puppy, assigned to two experienced Dogs for training. Clara Goodwin and Matthias Tunstall are the best Guards of the Evening Watch, which is reputed to be the best of the three Guard shifts. Goodwin has been a Provost's Guard for seventeen years and Tunstall has been a Guard for twenty years, thirteen as Goodwin's partner.

Now they are being saddled with a Puppy and Goodwin is not very happy about the whole thing; Tunstall, however, is rather pleased to have Beka as his Puppy. Both know of her part in bringing in the Bold Brass gang, but do not know anything about her magic. They also know nothing about Pounce, the cat who has adopted Beka. This new partnership is going to be a learning experience for all of them.

On her first night, trailing behind Goodwin and Tunstall, Beka is told to chase an escaping thief and falls -- literally -- for an old trick. She lands facedown in a pile of fish and is called Fishbelly for the rest of the shift.

The next night, she takes off after a crazed drunk who has struck Goodwin with the hilt of a knife.
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Format: Hardcover
Okay, I'll admit this part outright - I'm a Tamora Pierce fan. Her series are all amazing, for me at least. But even if you're not a huge (wish I could triple underline that) fan like I am, you'll STILL want to get this.

I'm going to start with a mini-review for fans of Tammy in particular.

New readers can scroll down and I'll give a review for you specially.


Rebakah Cooper's story is completely new from her other stories. For the first time ever, two things have happened.

First, we've moved away from the nobility's side of things in the capital. Even Daine the Wildmage didn't see much of Corus' Lower City, and she's been the only commonborn heroine so far. In Alanna, the series set 200 years after Beka Cooper's, we get a brief description of the area surrounding the Dancing Dove in the Lower City, but never before have we truly seen what it was like to be living there before. This brings a whole new perspective to Tortall, and I for one am VERY glad for this new look at one of my favorite worlds.

Second, it's the first person perspective. The whole story is set out in journals, not in the narrator's eye like we're used to. It's a welcome change to switch to, something new to look at, but you can still see that bit of Tammy humor. Sure, I love the 3rd person, but 1st person is PERFECT for Beka's personality.

Speaking of her personality, there's another reason why I like the first person. It gives us Beka's world, and how she sees it. You can tell just from the first day of her experiences that she's a very straight-forward person, who knows what she wants, and isn't afraid to be frank about embarassing things. She describes with minute detail, and is always very calculating.
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Format: Hardcover
Meet Beka Cooper, a headstrong, clever girl with determination like a terrier. She resides in Corus, the capital city of the mythical continent of Tortall. Ever since she was small, she has been unearthing terrible crimes. So it's no wonder that she joins the Provost's Dogs, a group of elite police whose goal is to patrol Tortall and enforce justice when needed. Upon joining as a Puppy, the term for a rookie Dog, Beka is pleasantly surprised to discover that she is to be taught by Goodwin and Tunstall themselves, two of the best Dogs in the guard. She is also stunned when she gets her first choice of where to work. She chooses the lower city. Goodwin and Tunstall are also taken aback at being paired up with Beka, but in an unpleasant way. The two Dogs work so well together that they have never been paired up with a Puppy. Initially the humiliation and indignity are unbearable, especially for Goodwin. However, they realize how much Beka's help is needed later on. A monster has seemed to step out of nightmares and faerie tales to stalk, murder, and ransom the citizens of the Lower City, leaving only mysterious letters with a sinister symbol as a trace. Additionally, as if that weren't enough, a mysterious mining operation seems to be causing the deaths of many people all at once. The Provost's Dogs have been able to handle the majority of crimes - until now. But Beka, with her gift to hear the voices of the dead, is out to redeem that reputation and bring the terrors of the Lower City to justice.

Tamora Pierce has sculpted yet another colorful masterpiece filled with surprises, intertwined details, and bits of small humor tossed in throughout. The author's writing style is quite commendable; it never falters, and keeps the book going smoothly without tiring the reader one bit.
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