Lady Knight (Protector of the Small, Book 4)

by Tamora Pierce

Paperback, 2003



Local notes

PB Pie




Random House (2003)


When she became a knight, eighteen-year-old Kel hoped to be given a combat post, but instead she finds herself named commander of an outpost of refugees, where she must face the unnatural forces of the evil Balyce.


Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Nominee — 2004)
Locus Recommended Reading (Young Adult Novel — 2002)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

4.25 x 1.19 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member nmhale
The conclusion to the Protector of the Small series, and a fitting end it was. The first two books in the series were really wonderful, focused on Kel's journey to become a female knight through dint of hard work (no magic involved). Then in the third volume, we see her life as an apprentice, and
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while I enjoyed the story, it wasn't as engrossing as the first two entries in the series. In this volume Kel has finally become a knight proper, just in time for the war that is engulfing Tortall.

The series really switches tracks in this book. Previously, we had been reading about Kel's journey to become a knight, and the adventures that ensued. Now, she has met that goal, and this story turns from a coming-of-age tale into an epic adventure.

Ever since she entered the Chamber of the Ordeal, Kel knew that she was destined for a particular mission. Her job, given to her at the time of her commissioning as knight, is to find and stop the Nothing Man. A wizard working for the Scanran Empire, his great travesty is in harvesting the souls of children to control killing robot machines. When Kel is assigned to build and oversee a refugee camp, instead of joining troops marching against Scanra, she is both angry and frustrated. She thinks that Wyldon is once again doubting her abilities, but even worse, she has no idea how she can track down and destroy the Nothing Man if she is chained to a camp. Of course, destiny is not such an easy thing to evade, and her duty of protecting the civilians under her care soon becomes dangerously entangled with her need to find and kill the man giving her nightmares.

I loved this story. Kel is still wonderfully Kel. She is caring and loyal and brave, but willing to risk everything to do what is right. Though she resents her assignment, she dutifully undertakes the task which is perfectly suited to her skills. She has always been good at caring for people and animals. Then, after the catastrophe, we have a new and exciting twist to the story, as she defies orders to do what she knows is the right thing and save her people. I liked how other friends came to her aid, and how the commanding officers know her so well that they understand why she disobeyed direct commands. I liked how she and her friends voyaged into dangerous enemy territory and defied the odds to save her people. I liked how Kel had to earn the grudging respect of a new lot of people; now that she had already proved her mettle to the castle and soldiers, she had to prove it to civilians. As you can see, I liked a lot about this story. It is much longer than the other books in the series, but appropriately so, as Pierce took her time developing the tale to a satisfying conclusion. I hope that Kel makes some appearances in future series, because I would love to know more about how her life further unfolds.
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LibraryThing member mossing
Keladry has earned her shield in the last book of the Protector of the Small series, and she has a quest. Nobody knows, however, when she will fulfill it. For now, she has a refugee camp to run. Later, she'll take on an evil sorcerer and his ruthless bodyguard, but first she has to wait for fate to
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take its course. The characters are vivid, the story engrossing, and series fans will enjoy the final installment. Ages 12-16. Recommended purchase.
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LibraryThing member melissarecords
At last Kel has become a knight. But her first assignment as a knight frustrates and humiliates her -- instead of combat in the Scanran war she is placed in charge of a refugee camp.
LibraryThing member knielsen83
The last of the protector of the small quartet, I felt like there was so much more to see from the character Kel. Hopefully she will be popping up in some of Pierce's other books connected to this world.
LibraryThing member Saieeda
Great book. A lot of thought is invested into the sideline characters, and it makes a huge difference to the improvement of the novel. The story is adventurous yet fun and, at times, humorous.
LibraryThing member CeridwynR
I concede to the opinions of others - Kel is a very cool heroine. I still prefer Ally Cooper, but that's because she's older, trickier and less 'good'.Kel does seem much older than her years - a ten year old doing what she does in First Test seems totally unbelievable, aspirational, yes, possible,
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no. But as a series I really liked the Protector of the Small quartet (much MUCH more than the Daine books). Pierce really has a thing about vanquishing bullies - which I like. I also enjoyed the way the romance was handled - gentle and not overwhelming, or indeed, particularly important.
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LibraryThing member CeridwynR
I concede to the opinions of others - Kel is a very cool heroine. I still prefer Ally Cooper, but that's because she's older, trickier and less 'good'.Kel does seem much older than her years - a ten year old doing what she does in First Test seems totally unbelievable, aspirational, yes, possible,
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no. But as a series I really liked the Protector of the Small quartet (much MUCH more than the Daine books). Pierce really has a thing about vanquishing bullies - which I like. I also enjoyed the way the romance was handled - gentle and not overwhelming, or indeed, particularly important.
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LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
Tamora Pierce likes her strong female chars, but I don't unless they have something more to them than just being 'tough'. Keladry really doesn't have much personality, something that has always made her Protector of the Small series a bit dragging. The last installation in the series was a bit more
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interesting since it had Keladry as an overseer of a refugee camp, which isn't a position most main chars are usually cast in. But for the most part, Lady Knight just made me want to go back and read Alanna's or Daine's quartets, because Alanna and Daine both had more personality. Sorry, Kel.
It also doesn't help that Miss Pierce didn't use very varied sentence structure in Lady Knight. "He did this...He did this...He had this...He wore this..." gets -very- tiring.
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LibraryThing member thelorelei
"Lady Knight," the final installment in Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet, far surpasses the preceding volumes in depth, complexity, and stakes. While the series' "hero's task" revealed itself late in the series, it does not feel crammed or rushed at all. A great deal of the book is
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spent focusing on Kel's frustration; her assignment during the Scanran war is to run a refugee camp, which seems to her completely at odds with the task set her by the god-like being which is the Chamber of the Ordeal. It has ordered her to stop the enemy mage responsible for horrific acts of necromancy. She's the only knight she knows of to have ever been set on a specific mission by the Chamber, and the abhorrent nature of the mage's deeds pull at her sense of justice with every breath she takes. It is to Pierce's credit that it is not immediately obvious just how entangled her two missions are. More obvious are Pierce's intense emotions and opinions on war and the dignity of life. This is a great novel for young adults that deals with difficult situations and themes. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member Nikkles
Another great book in the series.
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This was an excellent end to the Protector of the Small series. Keladry has passed her Ordeal and is now a knight awaiting her first assignment. There is a complication, however; during her Ordeal, the magical Chamber of the Ordeal sent her a vision of a necromancer who is creating fearsome killing
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machines. The Chamber has set her a task: find this necromancer, and kill him. But Kel has also been set a task by her more corporeal masters: she must manage the refugee camp of Haven. Kel is well-suited to the position; Sir Raoul trained her well to be a good organizer and to manage resources, and Kel has a sympathy and rappor with commoners that many of her noble-born colleagues lack. She knows in her heart that she is the best person for the job, but her visions of the necromancer chafe at her. How can she fulfill her promise to the Chamber if she is saddled with 500 refugees?

Tamora Pierce doesn't pull her punches when it comes to the fate of common people in war, and in many ways this is a rather dark novel. It ends on a hopeful note, however, and it's a very strong ending to a truly excellent series.
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LibraryThing member wagner.sarah35
A satisfying conclusion to the Protector of the Small series. Kel emerges as a talented leader in this final installment, one who is determined to hunt down the man shown to her by the Chamber of the Ordeal in the last book. She is somewhat disappointed in her initial assignment to run a refugee
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camp, but Kel quickly takes the people she helps to heart and is determined to save them when their lives are placed in danger. A good read, definitely for fans of teen fantasy.
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LibraryThing member orangejulia
Although I really enjoyed this series over all, I found this book to be a disappointing end to the series. For some reason, this book fell flat. Kel faces some tough enemies, including a mage who steals children's souls to run evil war machines, but I didn't get wrapped up in her struggles the way
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I did in the past. Maybe the problem was that the enemies she faced in this book were evil in an over the top way.
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LibraryThing member JenJ.
Listened to Listening Library CD edition narrated by Bernadette Dunne. I love this book; after thinking about it critically there are probably a few problems with it - Kel never really messes up, making her a little too perfect - but this quartet is still my favorite of Pierce's works so far. The
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characters are easy to care about, the preparation and running of a refugee camp is fascinating, and the action is well-paced. I'm sure it's just a matter of time until I read the whole quartet again. Previously read many times.
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LibraryThing member Capnrandm
The first and last books in this series are the most notable (though the interim books are great as well). I love how Kel's story doesn't tie up all the loose ends.
LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Lovely as always. Which is a kind of funny thing to say about a book where the mood varies between fury, anxiety, grief, and blind stubborn determination (OK, flashes of excellent humor, happiness, and triump, but most of it is pretty grim). Still - as usual for a Pierce, the setting and the people
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are beautifully evoked; the tasks, both immediate and promised, are challenging and important; and the flow of events draws the reader along and deep into that world. Kel is set in charge of a refugee camp - oh, before she gets there, she attaches a small boy to her service (because he was being abused, and because he's useful to her. In that order). Tobe turns out to be very useful on a lot of levels, too. She's given the duty of commanding the camp because, unlike any of the other knights available, she will actually care about the refugees and work to protect and care for them, not just treat them as impedimenta - Wyldon demonstrates, again, that he has more depth than he's willing to show the world. She also has a prophesied task from the Chamber of the Ordeal, to deal with the mage who's creating the killing machines she's already fought. She struggles with the conflict of duties this raises; unfortunately, circumstances intervene until the conflict...doesn't go away, exactly, but shifts so that her choice is clear. Her expedition into enemy territory, with the cavalcade following her (in several senses) produces many of those flashes of humor; it's also got some of the grimmest, saddest scenes in the whole quartet. But a happy ending, for many. I really would like to see more of Kel, and Tobe, and all the rest of her crew - but for now, I think, I'll just have to imagine what happens to her. She is my favorite of the Tortallan heroes.
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LibraryThing member wealhtheowwylfing
Kel goes through her Ordeal, and comes out a knight--but a knight with a mission. She's been given a vision of the abominations being created to attack Tortall, and she wants to pursue the vision immediately. Instead, she's ordered to command a refugee camp. She hardly knows where to begin, but her
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years with Lord Raoul pay off, and she quickly gains the respect of the soldiers, refugees, and convicts through her organization, quick thinking, and hard work. But Kel can't stay off the front lines forever, and eventually she must face down the man who kills children and uses their souls to power war machines.

I loved reading about Kel's time running the refugee camp/fortress. She considers so many options, and works herself so hard; it's inspiring. I wasn't so thrilled by her climactic battle at the end--I felt like she got so much help from cats&dogs that she hardly did anything.
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LibraryThing member treehorse
I was sad to see no jousting, but I suppose that really wouldn't fit with the somber atmosphere of war that Pierce seems to be creating here.

Still a Pierce book: there is plenty of anachronistic speech and a happy ending is guaranteed.

It was quite nice to read a book where the heroine isn't paired
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off at the end and doesn't ride off into the sunset to go get baby-making. Kel has always come-off as a workaholic and I was glad to see that she didn't end paired with Cleon.

As for those reviewer who noted that Kel wasn't very heartbroken and should have been in that situation? Well. Um. Distance changes things and something primarily based on hormones tends to fade away with time. Trust me. Given all of Kel's reservations about the situation, I thought her reaction to Cleon breaking it off was perfectly in character.
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LibraryThing member Linyarai
I find I preferred the books on Kel's training over her book on being a knight, but this was still very well written and exciting from the first page to the last. I wish there were more.
LibraryThing member GlenRH
The final book in the quartet is just as good as the first 3. I like that way that it encourages people to ignore the bad manners of others and prove that you can do it, just by living and doing it. It is a good lesson for both the girls (and boys) that this book was written for.
LibraryThing member et.carole
I really liked this book, especially in comparison to the others of the series. It ended perfectly.
What I really like about Kel was that she was believable, and there's something in every girl that sympathizes with her. She wants to treat people fairly, and feels real responsibility. She's witty,
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and she is capable of having friendships with men without being romantically engaged with them.
She is clever and physically strong. And a heroine as engaging as Kel is can keep a book going.
The plot in this one was interesting, although it almost seemed Kel had it too easy, getting the children back. But maybe the difficulties they had along the way made up for it.
It was better than the predecessors, because it wasn't so opinion saturated, it was an adventure story. And a good one, too.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
The Protector of the Small series is a high fantasy YA yarn set in Pierce's imaginary world of Tortall. Throughout the series we watched Keladry grow up. When we first met her as a little girl in First Test she was in her probationary year of knight-training, the first only female trainee in a
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century. When we catch up to her in Lady Knight she's a young woman who after eight years of training is finally knighted and has to deal with her first independent command--that of a refugee camp. This book is a mixture of thrilling action-adventure and coming of age tale--and about leadership. I love Keladry's growth throughout the series and particularly here. My favorite book of my favorite series by a favorite author.
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LibraryThing member LibraryCin
It’s the 4th (and last?) book in the series. Kel is now a knight. There is a war on. Kel is (disappointingly) put in charge of a refugee camp. She does need to train the refugees and has some “convict soldiers” (criminals who choose to fight in a war instead of going to prison) to help defend
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the camp, if needed. Although the training is going well, things go very wrong when Kel has to leave for a short time to provide updates/reports to her superiors.

I’d rate the majority of the book ok, though there were some parts where I got a bit more interested and would up the rating to “good”. Overall, though, I’m leaving it at ok. I do think the second half picked up a bit more over the first half.
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(897 ratings; 4.2)
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