The Song of the Lioness

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The Song of the Lioness
The Song of the Lioness - Alanna The First Adventure - Cover.jpg
Original Atheneum U.S. hardcover of the first book.
Author Tamora Pierce
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy, Young-adult fiction
Publisher Atheneum Books
Published 1983-1988
Media type Print (hardback and paperback)
Followed by The Immortals

The Song of the Lioness is a series of young adult fantasy novels published in the 1980s by Tamora Pierce. The series consists of four books: Alanna: The First Adventure (1983), In the Hand of the Goddess (1984), The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (1986) and Lioness Rampant (1988).

Plot Summary[edit]

Noblewoman Alanna of Trebond, disguised as the boy "Alan", exchanges places with her twin brother Thom, to go to the royal palace in the city of 'Corus' to train for knighthood, while Thom studies magic. Throughout the four novels Alanna befriends George, the self-proclaimed 'King of Thieves'; the scholar Sir Myles of Olau; senior students Gareth "Gary" of Naxen, Raoul of Goldenlake, and Prince Jonathan of Conte; Princess Thayet of Sarain; Liam Ironarm, a martial-arts champion; and Buri Tourakoum, Thayet's bodyguard. Her principal rivals are classmate Ralon of Malven, and Jonathan's kinsman Duke Roger, who becomes the chief antagonist in the final book. In the second volume, Alanna also acquires the magical cat 'Faithful', who accompanies her thereafter (Faithful is hinted to be an immortal, but his origins remain unknown. In the Beka Cooper trilogy, it is guessed that Faithful—there known as 'Pounce'—is a constellation named "The Cat", periodically come down to Earth), and support by a deity, the Great Mother Goddess. By reason of her double identity, small size, inherent magic, and impatience, Alanna is often shown questioning her own character; but resolves these questions in the third book, in which she becomes an honorary member of the 'Bazhir' (a Bedouin-like ethnicity), through gaining unique acceptance because of her gender. In the final volume, she becomes 'King's Champion' to Jonathan and Baroness of the coastal estate 'Pirate's Swoop'.


  • Alanna of Trebond: The protagonist of the series: a stubborn tomboy, but capable of earning loyalty.
  • Thom of Trebond: Alanna's twin: a powerful magician, but often arrogant, and ultimately destroyed by hostile advantage of his pride. Fellow-conspirator in creating 'Squire Alan', Alanna's alter-ego.
  • Coram Smythesson: Alanna's bodyguard and loyal servant, and lifelong caretaker; a former soldier and Alanna's fellow-conspirator. He later marries 'Rispah', an educated dancer encountered in the city.
  • George Cooper: A clairvoyant, benign thief, trickster, and fighter, who controls the capital city's criminal population; Alanna's friend, and periodically her paramour; ultimately commissioned 'Baron of Pirate's Swoop' by King Jonathan, and (at the end of the last volume) married to Alanna.
  • Rispah: George's cousin and assistant; later Coram's wife; cheerful, decisive, and compassionate.
  • Jonathan of Conte: The crown prince of the kingdom 'Tortall', in which the story occurs: a ring-leader among the students trained in the capital. Alanna's friend, sponsor, and periodic paramour; also an ally cultivated by George. Intelligent, handsome, and decisive.
  • Gareth of Naxen the Younger (Gary): Jonathan's unofficial second-in-command among the students; a whimsical but intelligent character, and Alanna's closest friend.
  • Raoul of Goldenlake: A fellow-student of Jonathan and Gary's; Alanna's friend; large, taciturn, and shy.
  • Alex of Tirragen: A fellow-student of Goldenlake's; at first Alanna's friend, but later her rival. Slain by her in the final book.
  • Thayet jian Wilima (Later Thayet the Peerless or Thayet of Conte): An exiled princess befriended by Alanna; later married to Jonathan; a deft horsewoman and archer. Graceful, intelligent, confident, and compassionate.
  • Liam Ironarm: A martial-arts champion, called the 'Dragon of Shang', who attaches himself to Alanna, alternately as paramour and instructor. Slain by her enemies.
  • Duke Roger of Conte: Prince Jonathan's cousin and would-be usurper: suspected by Alanna in the first book, killed by her in the second, absent from the third, and resurrected in the fourth, wherein he is again killed by Alanna.

The Books[edit]

1. Alanna: The First Adventure

2. In the Hand of the Goddess

3. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Set mainly in the Great Southern Desert with the Bazhir Tribes)

4. Lioness Rampant

Publishing Information[edit]

Alanna: The First Adventure, was first published in 1983 by Atheneum Books, and then Random House Inc. The following books were published in 1984, 1986, and 1988, respectively. The series started out as a 732-page novel titled the Song of the Lioness, but her director thought parts were too inappropriate for children and Tamora Pierce edited it into the present series.