Beka Cooper: Terrier

Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Random House, 2006.



978-0-375-81468-6 / 563pgs

This is Tortall in pre-Alanna days (200 years earlier).
Includes glossary, cast of characters, end maps, and info on the Provost's Guard.

Prologue by Eleni Cooper, mother of George Cooper and by Matthias Tunstall, Provost's Guardsman. Story taken from the journal of Rebekah Cooper.


In a crime-ridden Tortall, long before the noble land of knights, Beka Cooper is a Puppy, training to become one of the Dogs — the guard that polices Tortall. Joined with a pair of famed veteran Dogs and her cat Pounce, they enforce the rough & tough Lower City. Beka's a quick-witted puppy and often surprises her trainers with her skill, yet she's shy, and a much better listener and observer than talker. So when the ghosts of the dead start crying out to her, and when one of those ghosts is the young son of her friend, she begins an investigation that leads her and her Dogs to the Court of the Rogue and the danger of the Shadow Snake. Greed, riches, loyalties, false faces, friendships, crime, murder….

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." — Tamora Pierce


Beka Cooper — "Puppy" on the evening watch, part of the Jane Street Kennel and training with Clara Goodwin and Matthias Tunstall; 16 years old; earning the name "Terrier."
Matthias — Beka's trainer, nicknamed Mattes
Clara — Beka's trainer, nicknamed Clary
Crookeshank — Ammon Lofts, fence for stolen goods but also in business with honest folk
Tansy — Crookshank's granddaughter-in-law, Beka's friend

Sequels, Prequels, Companion Books

First in the Provost's Dogs trilogy.
Book 2: Bloodhound
Book 3: Elkhound


Tamora Pierce does it again, wrapping a gripping mystery, fantastic adventure, and a story of character and strength into an engaging narrative. Though the intro pages are a bit tedious, once the story got started, it was one I didn't want to put down! - esme

Awards & Honors

Debuted at #2 on the 12 Nov 2006 NY TIMES Children's Chapterbook Bestseller List
2007 "Best Books for Young Adults" List Nominee

LC Cataloging Info

Summary: When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes "Puppy" to a pair of "Dogs," as the Provost's Guards are called, she uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall's Lower City.

{1. Police - Fiction. 2. Magic - Fiction. 3. Fantasy.}

Offsite Pages

Excerpt from T Pierce's site


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