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Tamora Pierce



  Tempests and Slaughter


  Trickster’s Choice

  Trickster’s Queen


  First Test



  Lady Knight






  Wild Magic


  Emperor Mage

  The Realms of the Gods


  Alanna: The First Adventure

  In the Hand of the Goddess

  The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

  Lioness Rampant

  Tortall: A Spy’s Guide

  Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Text copyright © 2017 by Tamora Pierce LLC

  Cover art copyright © 2017 by Velvet Spectrum

  Interior illustrations copyright © 2017 by Eva Widermann

  Map copyright © 2017 by Isidre Mones

  All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

  Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

  Visit us on the Web!

  Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at RHTeachers­

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.

  ISBN 978-0-375-86767-5 (trade) — ISBN 978-0-375-96767-2 (lib. bdg.)

  ISBN 978-0-375-89849-5 (ebook)

  Ebook ISBN 9780375898495

  Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.



  To Julie, Tim, Megan, Lisa, Judy Gerjuoy (reading this from the Summerlands), Chelsea, Mallory, and the residents of Tortall and its neighbors: my heartfelt thanks and devotion eternal


  To Tammy, who gave me the opportunity; my fellow writers, who gave me the ride of my life; and my parents, Steve and Evelyn, who taught me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was willing to work for it


  To Tamora Pierce, who always asks “Are you writing?” And in memory of Judy Gerjuoy


  For Mom and Dad, my first and best reading buddies; Joey, my favorite brother (and not just because it’s only the two of us!); and, most of all, everything here is for you, Tammy—there are not words for how you have lifted me up




  Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

  Title Page




  Letters from the Cooper Family Archives

  Becoming a Spy

  Spy Reports

  Killing Device Reports

  How Lord Sir Wyldon of Cavall Became Training Master


  Diplomat’s Guide to Tortall

  Cooper Family Papers

  Notices from Across the Realm

  An Official Chronology of Tortallan Events


  About the Authors

  Greetings, old friends and newcomers to the backstreets of the Tortall universe! As the author of eighteen books and quite a few short stories set in the fantasy realm of Tortall and its neighbors, I have been working in this setting since 1976. Fans and friends have often mentioned how much more I know about the universe than I include in my published work. With that in mind, some friends and I have pulled together a Tortallan spy’s guide and a mass of notes, as well as bits and pieces of daily life. With the assistance of the editors and artists at Random House Children’s Books, we offer you one of the realm’s most useful inside views. It provides a very behind-the-scenes look at Tortall’s inner workings, in addition to a much-demanded timeline. I hope you have as much fun reading this as we did creating it!

  So here is Tortall: A Spy’s Guide, the contents of a crate that spymaster George Cooper began sorting through on the day he realized he needed the room beside his office for…well, you’ll see soon enough. It’s a never-before-seen look at profiles of people of interest, letters alerting the spymasters to strange goings-on, correspondence, teaching materials, and family papers.

  With my goodwill and that of my companions,

  Coded for the eyes of the Whisper Man ONLY

  October 14, 466 H.E.

  From the Sign of the Sheaves, Arenaver

  Dearest George,

  Do you remember that time we had together in Blue Harbor back in May? You said we carried on like youngsters. I told you in April I’d fought a mage who guarded a smuggler’s crew. He lobbed some manner of sticky magic at me. It got under my armor—you saw the burns on my neck and chest. My ember-stone seemed undamaged, as was that other, special charm I wear, remember? The one I said I should just give up with my Change of Life dancing around me, but we both knew I jested? Then after that battle, as we were shipping the smugglers off to justice, a storm blew up and I forgot the whole thing. I hied myself off to Blue Harbor and you once I got the chance.

  Right now you are frowning and telling me to stop fluttering and spit out the crab that has got hold of my tongue.

  I’m pregnant, laddybuck. When I started puking, I looked up Neal, who serves as healer for Lady Kel at New Haven. (She and Neal send greetings to you.) Neal said I might do as I please with my charm, for it was useless for preventing a pregnancy. That mage had stripped its spell. My ember-stone is unchanged—nothing can touch the Goddess’s power. So now I wear my no-fertility charm in that second right-ear piercing you don’t like. I think it makes me look piratical. Now pregnantly piratical.

  I bade farewell to the north. In two days, I will be in Corus. There I have arranged an audience with Their Majesties, where I mean to offer my resignation as King’s Champion.

  Dearest, I am serious this time. When I said I was thinking about it back in May, you laughed, but I was telling the truth. On damp days I need winches in my shoulders so I can get a sword over my head. I love the modified jousting saddle that you had made for me, as it braces my hips and lower back for a long day of riding. But truth to tell, my work needs someone who doesn’t creak so much.

  Now the Goddess gives me as clear a sign as a woman could want. It is time for me to place my sword before Jonathan and Thayet and tell them to find a new Champion. I have no replacement to recommend, but I am sure the king has been turning possibilities over in his mind for the past decade. Also, I am sure Her Majesty will not object to a change. She’s been hinting that I need to retire. Kindly, of course, but she has noticed my winces.

  Whoever my replacement is, I wish him well. I know it will be a “him,” but there’s naught I can do about that. Lady Kel has made it clear that she is too sane for the work that I have done, and the more recent girls have yet to obtain their shields.

  Once that is over, I will come home to my patient, forbearing lover and have our child. And this time I mean to stay home. I won’t do as I did with the twins and Thom, leaving them to you and our servants to raise. I mean to help with this one. (The midwife promises it’s only one this time.) That’s fair. It was my carelessness in not examining my charm that has presented us with this newest token of the Goddess’s favor.
/>   I do not know how long Their Majesties intend to keep me in the capital. Not very long, I think. And then I will make my way to you somehow. I would like to say I will ride, but the way things are going, I believe any healers I talk to will order me to take ship to the Swoop. Pray for good weather, I beg. It is so unromantic to come home while puking over the rail.

  I would apologize for the new token of our affection, but I remember how you always teased that you would be happy for more children. I also remember that when you tease you often speak the truth. So here I come, my belly leading the way, to fulfill your wish just a little.

  With all my love,

  and a new hatchling in my nest,

  November 20, 466 H.E.

  To Thom of Trebond

  School of Mages

  The Royal University

  Corus, Tortall

  From George Cooper, Baron

  Pirate’s Swoop


  Dear Thom,

  I am glad to read that you will be coming home for Midwinter Festival. It will cheer your mother, who is already starting to show her condition. I’ve also invited your grandfather and grandmother to stay, so we shall manage to amuse ourselves pretty well, I think.

  In fact, since they are coming, why don’t you ride with them? They will be journeying with other travelers through the Royal Forest, but I know they will enjoy your company, and you will be safer. You would also be doing your parents a favor if you would buy a pound or two of orange and anise tea, which your mother is drinking by the bucket, and candied oranges and limes, which she yearns for and we cannot get. Ask your grandfather for sufficient coin and tell him I will repay him when I see him. Buy yourself a good meal or two while you are about it.

  Do you remember the room next to my office? The one where you children stayed when you were small, so I could mind you while your nurse helped about the fief? You told me it was a danger of fire with all the crates of old papers I stored in there once you three got too big for it. I think that your ma’s vow to stay home with this baby will last as long as winter, and I’ll need the old room again. I’ve been cleaning it out and reading some of what’s in those crates. Strange to find so many reminders of how it was in those first days, when Their Majesties were deciding how they should rule and your grandfather Myles, John Juggler, and I were thrashing out the beginnings of the Shadow Service.

  Should I save the lessons you boys and your sister wrote, to show your children one day?

  Your mother and I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your studies. Remember to wrap up well on your way through the forest. The winter there is a harsh one.

  Your loving father,


  Marked for Fast Passage

  To the Whisper Man

  September 21, 448

  To the Whisper Man

  From Evin Larse / Callum Larse

  The village of Dowling Falls,

  near Fief Sinthya


  Forgive me for stealing my dad’s spy device, but I’ve been writing code for him to send you since I was ten, so I knew that much of your business already. The thing is, I think there’s a problem here, and Da says I have too much imagination, even though he’s the one that taught me a Player can’t have too much imagination.

  Company Larse & Quill has been playing the Whitethorn Valley all summer. Mostly business is good, and there’s been plenty of coin in the cap, if not so much tasty news to send along to you.

  Presently we’re settled here in Dowling Falls. It serves two good-sized temples, a big market, and it’s a crossroads to the fiefdoms of Sinthya, Nond, Fickle Lynn, and Ketan, as well as the Great Roads East and West.

  There’s something going on at Sinthya. More merchants’ wagons take the road there than to any of the other fiefs. (My da says they could be bound for Ketan or Fickle Lynn, but I follow as many of them as I can, and they all go through Sinthya’s gate.) And when the road is muddy these wagons sink deep. I was curious and had a look. The baskets hide locked wooden boxes. Some of them are magicked, too.

  Men are taking the road to Sinthya as well, with the wagons or on horseback. They’re hard types who drink little, keep to themselves, and ride armed. Some wear chain vests or leather jerkins with metal rings sewn to them. Almost all of them have sword or knife scars.

  Da says I make a whole loaf from pigeon crumbs. I think Sinthya plots war with his neighbors, or rebellion.

  Tell me what I must do, please.

  Evin Larse

  1) Put in a word with Thayet and Sarge to have a spot kept open for Evin Larse in next year’s recruit class for the Queen’s Riders. See how the lad does with them.

  2) Write young Evin and tell him to continue to report on events at Fief Sinthya.

  3) Write Callum Larse and ask him to remain in the area for the winter, keeping eyes and ears open. Send him a decent-sized purse so he and his people don’t lose by it.

  4) Have our Nursemaid in Dowling Falls bribe both temples to have the Players perform over the winter holidays.

  5) Advise the army to have troops ready to move in the spring.

  A Workbook for a Young Spy

  For my dearest daughter, Aly, here is the answer to all those questions you’ve been asking! Now that you are entering my service, you must learn to obey me as your chief. Only ask spying questions when no one else will hear, just as you swore in your oath to me.

  —Da, the Whisper Man

  A warrior walks so everyone knows she is there.

  No one knows the spy is there.

  A warrior seems to do everything.

  A spy seems to do nothing.

  A warrior fights whenever she can.

  A spy fights only as a last resort.

  A warrior wins fame.

  A spy who wins fame is dead.


  Disguises are overrated. They encourage a spy to skulk, which draws attention. Folk notice a person who tries to be sneaky. Walk and act like you belong.

  Changing your walk or the way you stand is often a better disguise than a wig and an eye patch. Put something in your shoe, like a pebble. Yes, it will hurt. It will also give you a limp and make you favor that foot as you stand. It will change your entire shape. Folk might look at you and say, “Well, she resembles that lass or that lad, but it’s not her.” A pebble in the mouth changes the shape of the cheek in the same way. Remember how it feels to have an aching tooth. Favor that side. Keep a hand to it, or a scarf. That will redden your face. Folk will think you’re someone else. Put snarls and dirt or grease in your hair. Be sure your nails are dirty. Grime in your teeth, or black wax, is helpful. Smear dirt or soot on face and hands. Grab a basket or armful of folded laundry, or a bottle of polish and smelly rags, and you become nearly invisible.

  A servant’s clothes or the clothes of someone desperately poor are the best disguises in most places. Folk don’t like to look at the truly poor, and servants are for ordering about. If you’re clothed cheap, put on cheap shoes or take yours off. In such disguises, answer all those better dressed than you as “sir” or “my lord” or “mistress” or “my lady” and look at the ground. Those that have no coin don’t meet the eyes of those as do. Don’t talk. Take orders even if those giving them have no right to give them, and scuttle off right quick. Never argue. The robes of novices are good disguises for the same reason—folk only see the robe—but I don’t like them. The first priestess you encounter will want to know your temple and she’ll quiz you on the rites. You will be wanted to do the things your order requires, and others of that order will know you aren’t truly one of theirs. It’s too risky. Also, there’s the chance the god will take offense.

  Poor folk and servants don’t walk the center of the way like they own it. They walk to the sides. They slouch unless they are upper servants, who imitate their masters. Practice your slouch with a milkmaid’s yoke on your shoulders, or the yoke used by stable lads and kitchen servants as they fetch water. Fetch
milk and water while you are at it. Practice is good for you.

  Remember, do not wear a disguise. Be it. You are not dressed up as a Player. You are a Player. You live three-quarters of the year on the road, bathe in streams, go barefoot, pass the hat, mend costumes, and do what your elders tell you. Know the names of your family, the company you travel with, and the towns and fiefdoms you’ve performed at. Speak with Evin Larse and the Players who visit us. If your disguise is that of a one-eyed fisher girl seeking work in a small village, think yourself into believing you see naught with that eye. Busy yourself with boning fish and mending nets. Let the folk in our own fishing village teach you how it’s done. Memorize the kinds of fish, the folk of the village, the headman’s name, and the names of the lord and his family. If you’ve a story—you’re a runaway, a farmer, a palace maid, you’re from Blue Harbor—make sure it’s a whole one, with all the details close to hand. It’s the difference between a successful lie and getting caught. Make as much of it the truth as possible. That way there’s less for you to remember. Know it all like it’s yours, for your very life may depend on it.

  A beggar’s disguise is best for all-around usefulness. Except for the richest neighborhoods, beggars go everywhere. Even in the richest places they can be seen at the rear gates. A bit of damp bread mashed with honey set like boils on the face, legs, and arms to draw flies, as well as filthy rags, a battered crutch and a bandaged leg (also good to hide an extra blade, or a silver coin or two for bribes), a bowl or cup, and you can wander and sit anywhere without anyone to look at you twice. (The nastier the boils, the less they’ll look, even as they toss a coin in your bowl.) You’ll have to pay the Rogue’s chief for the area where you set up, and be sure to give half your earnings to Somal, the beggar’s god, for the families of them that are truly hurt. Somal is kind as long as real beggars benefit.