WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT FOR - Beka Cooper: A Tortall Legend?
(updated 10/11/11)

The Beka Cooper Trilogy
Set 200 Years Before The Song of the Lioness

When she was eight years old, Beka Cooper did the Lord Provost of Tortall a
very big favor. In return, he took her, her dying mother, and her two younger
sisters and two younger brothers into his house, to raise and educate them well
above the poverty-stricken slum where he found them. Beka’s brothers and
sisters have honorable trades, but Beka?

Beka wants to be a Provost’s Guard, or as they’re known in her time, a Provost’s
Dog, the most despised, rough-and-tumble law enforcers in the realm. She
starts right back where she came from, in the Lower City, because Beka has this
funny idea that poor people deserve equal protection under the law. Guiding her
steps are Goodwin and Tunstall, two of the toughest Dogs in the capital, who
will teach Beka the ropes—if she survives. Walking with her on her rocky are as
motley a crew of friends and helpers as ever the Lower City has seen: the Lord
Provost himself; Rosto the Piper, sheer lightning with knives, and his associates,
the swordswoman Aniki and the hedgewitch Kora; the lady knight Sabine; the
ghosts of the dead who ride on pigeon-back; the city’s dust whirlwinds, who
collect conversations; a devoted young scent hound, and the strange, purple-
eyed black cat Pounce, whose hobby is grooming heroes.

Beka is pitch-forked into the realm’s deadliest crimes, from the mass murder of
poor workers to conspiracies against the crown. She’ll need all of her wits, all of
her friends, and a strong arm with a baton in her quest to enforce the law.

Beka Cooper: TERRIERThe first book, TERRIER (Random House hardcover, October, 2006; paperback Fall 2007), is the story of Beka’s first year on active duty, where she is a “Puppy,” a trainee.  She has been assigned to a pair of senior Dogs, Mattes Tunstall and Clary Goodwin, two of the best in the Lower City Kennel District.  Tunstall is a former hillman, easygoing and funny until he is swept up by combat fever.  Goodwin is small, tough, and mean, a hard woman who makes it very plain from the start that she never asked for a Puppy, she does not want a Puppy, and she will not look after a Puppy.  She and Tunstall have not had a Puppy to train in their long years as partners, and they find it as much a learning experience as Beka does.  The three partners soon find they can learn a great deal from each other.  For one thing, Beka has a very unusual feline companion, the purple-eyed cat named Pounce.  When he feels like it, Pounce can speak and make himself understood by human beings.  He also is far more intelligent than the ordinary cat.  Beka has had four years to get used to this, but Goodwin and Tunstall need to adjust.  Beka can also hear the voices of the restless ghosts who ride the backs of the city’s pigeons, and hear the conversations picked up by the city’s permanent dust spinners, or whirlwinds.  It is these messengers who help Beka to learn that someone is hiring work crews to dig in Lower City cellars—and then murdering the entire crews when the job is done, only to go on and hire new crews.  These informants also help Beka to discover that someone is kidnapping the children of the poor for the single precious item their families own.  That person returns the child when the parents pay up.  When they don’t, the child vanishes, or dies.  Now Beka has to persuade her partners that she knows what she’s talking about, and that the lives of the desperately poor are worth the efforts of the finest of the Provost’s Dogs. (Click here to read a sample from TERRIER)

To listen to a clip from the Random House Audiobook for TERRIER, click on the link below:

In BLOODHOUND (Random House hardcover, mid-April, 2009; paperback Fall 2010), Beka is now an official Dog, one who is having trouble keeping a partner.  After a summer of iffy weather, the harvest is not as good as the city’s poor hope.  Worse, Beka’s friend Tansy brings word to her friends that false silver coins, called “coles,” are appearing in the city’s markets.  When Beka and the Dogs of Jane Street Kennel investigate, they learn that the coles appear to be distributed through gambling, and that they are coming from the hands of gamblers who have arrived in Corus from Port Caynn.  Lord Gershom organizes a big, but secret hunt.  A country’s economy hangs on its silver.  If word gets out that there are fake silver coins in the money stream, prices will skyrocket.  Already bread prices have skyrocketed, sparking a riot in the city’s Nightmarket. 

Gershom sends Beka and Goodwin to Port Caynn to investigate where these coles, and the silver that goes into them, are coming from.  The counterfeiters could be anyone, including friends and even lovers.

MASTIFFThe third book in the current series, MASTIFF (Random House hardcover, Fall 2011; paperback Fall 2012), has Beka and her friends facing their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes.  They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall.  It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.

Three years have passed since Beka Cooper almost died in the sewers of Port Caynn, and she is now a respected member of the Provost’s Guard. But her life takes for the unexpected when her fiancÚ is killed on a slave raid. Beka is faced with a mixture of emotions as, unbeknownst to many, she was about to call the engagement off.

It is as Beka is facing these feelings that Lord Gershom himself appears at her door. In the span of hours Beka, her partner Tunstall, her scent-dog Achoo, and a unusual but powerful mage are plunged into a case under an extreme veil of secrecy. It is a case that threatens the future of the Tortallan royal family, and therefore the Tortallan government itself. As Beka delves deeper into the motivations of the criminals she now hunts, she learns of deep-seated political dissatisfaction, betrayal, and corruption. These are people with power, money, and influence. They are able to hire the most skilled of mages, well versed in the darkest forms of magic. And they are nearly impossible to identify.

This case—a Hunt that will take her to places she’s never been—will challenge Beka’s tracking skills beyond city walls, as well as her ability to judge exactly who she can trust with her life and her country’s future.

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