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 king of the thieves; the scholar Sir Myles of Olau; senior students Gareth (Gary) of Naxen, Raoul of Goldenlake, and Prince Jonathan of Conté; Princess Thayet of Sarain; Liam Ironarm, a martial-arts champion; and Buriram (Buri) Tourakom, 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" who periodically comes 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 with a temper, 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 sex worker from Corus.
  • 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 Cooper: George's cousin and assistant, head of the Corus flower sellers; later Coram's wife; cheerful, decisive, and compassionate.
  • Jonathan of Conté: 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, charismatic, 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.
  • Ralon of Malven: A fellow-student of Jonathan's. Established a spiteful rivalry with Alanna, and left the palace in shame after she beat him in a fight. He later became involved with the Court of the Rogue under the name 'Claw,' and was eventually slain by George Cooper.
  • Thayet jian Wilima (Later Thayet the Peerless or Thayet of Conté): An exiled Saren princess befriended by Alanna; later married to Jonathan; a deft horsewoman and archer. Graceful, intelligent, confident, and compassionate.
  • Buriram Tourakom (Buri): Thayet's fiercely loyal bodyguard; later Raoul's amorous interest, (Protector of the Small series), and wife (in the Daughter of the Lioness Series.)
  • 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 defending the Tortallan crown.
  • 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.


  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.