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Protector of the Small
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Gr 6-9-In this third installation in the series, Pierce at last relieves fans' concerns about who will take on young Keladry as a squire. After hanging tough with the page program, she is at last ready to take the next steps down the road to knighthood, accompanied by her friends and her faithful mutt. To her sorrow, she is not selected by the Lady Alanna, who taps Neal for her squire. Kel is chosen by Lord Raoul, commander of the King's Own, and she quickly discovers that she has landed the better situation. She soon finds herself fighting centaurs, cleaning up after floods, and caring for a baby griffin. Kel's nemesis, Joren, fails quite badly in the Chamber of the Ordeal, which will leave readers nervous about her own designated time there. What she faces in the Chamber nicely sets up the next book in this series. Pierce continues to create a broad range of fully realized characters, even if Raoul is a little too good to be true. Her plotting is sometimes a little rushed and Tortall often seems more like background scenery than a real place. However, the author has created a strong female protagonist who accomplishes her goals with her integrity, sense of humor, and her self-esteem intact. She faces decisions about sex, her relationships, and the effects both will have on her personal life and her future career as a knight and commander. Kel's fans will delight in seeing the parallels to their own lives, and Alanna and Daine's fans will enjoy seeing their favorites, if only in cameo roles.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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