Older readers and followers of the Tamora Pierce series, Protector of the Small, will welcome the fourth and final installment, Lady Knight. In this compelling conclusion, Keladry of Mindelan Kel, for short realizes her dream of becoming a knight but soon discovers that her new position brings unforeseen responsibilities. (Aug) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 6-9-In this fourth and final book in the series, Kel is now 18 and her knighthood is guaranteed after she passes her final test as a squire, which involves facing her fears and overcoming them while in the Chamber of the Ordeal. During the Ordeal, she has a vision of an ugly little man directing monsterlike, metal machines to kill children and use their souls to fuel them. She hears a voice telling her that her task is to find this "Nothing Man" and stop the killing, and she becomes determined to steal away, hunt him down, and destroy him. Orders dictate otherwise and Kel finds herself the Commander of a refugee camp for people who've lost their homes in the fighting between Tortall and neighboring Scanran. While she is away from camp, it is attacked and many refugees, mostly children, are kidnapped. She disobeys orders and rides off alone to try to save them. This meaty book has lots of fighting and challenges to Kel's authority, allowing her once again to prove that she is equal to the men. Her compassion for those weaker than herself and her strong leadership skills make her an appealing protagonist. All of the characters from the previous books are here, and Pierce neatly ties all the plot threads together in a way that should please her fans. She also provides a helpful list of characters and a glossary. This is an essential and satisfying book for anyone who enjoyed the others in the series.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.