|Alanna: The First Adventure|
|A Novel of the Tortall|
|Protagonist||Alanna of Trebond|
|Antagonist||Roger of Conté, the Ysandir|
|Setting||Tortall: Corus, Persopolis, Black City|
|Cover Artist||David Wiesner|
|Release Date||September 1983|
|UK Release Date|
|Series||The Song of the Lioness|
|Followed by||In the Hand of the Goddess|
Alanna: The First Adventure was Tamora Pierce's first young adult novel, and the first installment of the Song of the Lioness quartet, revolving around Alanna of Trebond. It covers Alanna's training as a page, and takes place over three years, starting in Trebond when she and Thom first decide to switch places, and ending in the Black City with Jon's promise to make her his squire.
Inside the book
Cover flap summary
- "From now on I'm Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I'll be a knight."
And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads to the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, in on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.
But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.
Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's first adventure begins—one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land. "
- —Cover flap summary of the Simon Pulse edition 2005
- "TO CLAIRE,
who made it all finally happen,
AND TO FRANCES,
who told me to talk to Claire"
- —Dedication taken from the Kindle edition
Alanna of Trebond does not want to be sent away to learn to be a lady any more than her brother Thom wants to be a knight. However, this is what their father, Alan of Trebond, a man absorbed completely in his studies since his wife's death, has ordered for them.
Alanna and Thom take matters into their own hands. The twins switch places, and Thom goes to the temple where Alanna was to go, planning to study sorcery. Alanna cuts her hair and disguises herself with the name Alan of Trebond and goes to Corus to try for knighthood.
Alanna makes both friends and enemies at the palace immediately. She particularly becomes friends with Jonathan of Conté, Gary of Naxen, and the King of the Rogues, George Cooper. After a few days being a page, she decides that this is too hard and she'd rather go home, and tells Coram Smythesson, her manservant, so. However, he manages to convince her to stay.
After a time, an unnatural fever, one that drains healers of their power and can kill them, falls upon Corus. Only after all of the city's healers are exhausted does Jonathan, the heir to the kingdom, fall fatally ill.
Alanna uses her magic to save Jonathan. Soon after, Roger of Conté, a powerful mage, comes to Corus in order to teach the pages and squires how to use magic. For a reason unbeknownst to her, Alanna hates the outwardly handsome and charming man from their first meeting. Later, she learns that Roger is second in line for the throne, next to Prince Jonathan, since Queen Lianne of Conté is unable to bear anymore children. She suspects that Roger sent the fever and is trying to hurt Jon.
Alanna acquires, on a mystery-filled trip to ruins near the home of Myles of Olau, a sword possessing the magic of the Old Ones that she dubs "Lightning". Roger is shocked and noticeably nervous when he notices the sword.
Later, on a trip that is supposed to be for squires only, that Alanna is allowed on because of Jonathan, Roger warns the squires and page not to go anywhere near a city of black stone, the Black City. Alanna realizes that Roger means to trick Jon into going there and follows the Prince to the city. There, the two confront the Ysandir, strange beings of old who try to kill them. Together, Alanna and Jon are able to combine their magics and defeat them, but not before the beings make Alanna's clothes disappear, revealing her true gender to the astonished prince.
The book closes with the prince promising to make Alanna his squire. So far, the only ones in Corus who know Alanna's gender are Jon, George Cooper, Eleni Cooper, and Coram Smythesson.
- The New Page
- Death in the Palace
- The Second Year
- The Black City
- Alanna of Trebond - protagonist; in page training as "Alan"
- Coram Smythesson - Alanna's manservant; former soldier and blacksmith
- Prince Jonathan - Crown Prince of Tortall; fellow page/ squire; Alanna's friend
- Raoul of Goldenlake - fellow page/ squire; Alanna's friend
- Gary of Naxen - fellow page/ squire; Alanna's friend
- Alexander of Tirragen - fellow page/ squire; Alanna's friend
- Sir Myles of Olau - History and Law teacher for pages and squires; Alanna's friend
- George Cooper - King of the Thieves; Alanna's friend
- Ralon of Malven - antagonist; fellow page; left Court after being defeated by Alanna
- Great Mother Goddess - Great God in the Tortallan pantheon; Alanna's patron
- Mithros - Great God; head of the Tortallan pantheon
- Dark God - God of Death in the Tortallan pantheon
- Ysandir - immortals who inhabited the Black City; fed on Bazhir youth
- Douglass of Veldine - fellow page; Alanna's year-mate
- Geoffrey of Meron - fellow page; Alanna's year-mate
- Sacherell of Wellam - fellow page; Alanna's year-mate
- Francis of Nond - fellow page; Alanna's friend; died of the Sweating Sickness
- King Roald - Jonathan's father; King of Tortall
- Queen Lianne - Jonathan's mother; Queen of Tortall
- Duke Gareth of Naxen - Gary's father; Prime Minister and Training Master
- Duke Roger of Conté - antagonist; Jonathan's cousin; powerful sorcerer
- Duke Baird - Tortallan Chief Royal Healer
- Lord Martin of Meron - Geoffrey's father; Governor of the Great Southern Desert
- Lord Alan of Trebond - Alanna's and Thom's father; scholar
- Thom of Trebond - Alanna's twin brother; at the City of the Gods to study sorcery
- Mistress Cooper - George's mother; healing woman in Corus; former priestess of the Goddess
- Maude - village healer at Trebond
- Timon - Duke Gareth's personal manservant
- Rispah - George's cousin; Queen of the ladies of the Rogue
- Stefan - hostler at the Royal Palace; member of the Court of the Rogue
- Ali Mukhtab - Governor of Persopolis Castle; Bazhir
- Solom - innkeeper at the Dancing Dove
- Aram Sklaw - Captain of the Palace Guard; fencing instructor for pages
- Ranulf - chief steward at Barony Olau
In order of mention:
- First Daughter of the Goddess - responsible for young noblewomen at Convent
- Cook - head cook at Trebond Castle
- Lady Catherine - Thom and Alanna's godmother
- Lord Provost - head of the Provost's Guard
- Lord Chamberlain - died of the Sweating Sickness
- Lady of Trebond - Alanna's and Thom's mother; deceased
- Lady Roxanne - court lady; Gary kissed her for a bet
- Old Ones - ancient peoples whose ruins could be found at Olau
- Old King - Jonathan's paternal grandfather
- Alanna: The First Adventure was a part of clues on Jeopardy! in two episodes, once in 2014, and once in December, 2017.
- Ep. 225 (December 24th, 2017):
- Contestants Johnny, Donna, and Zach
- Category: Fearless Girl ($400 Double Jeopardy)
- Clue: In "Alanna: The First Adventure" a girl dresses as a boy & successfully trains to become one of these medieval soldiers.
- Question: What is a knight?
Foreign publishers and translated titles
Alanna: The First Adventure has been published in different languages.
In the German edition the title was changed to "Die Schwarze Stadt" (The Black City), translated by Ulla Neckenauer. The German publisher is the Arena Verlag. The first German edition was published in hardcover 1985 by the Arena Verlag. Later followed several paperback editions. In 2006 a German audiobook was released by Audiolino, read by Gabriele Blum. For the German audiobook version the book was abridged.
In later German reissues the book was released along with the German translation of In the Hand of the Goddess (Alanna - Im Bann der Göttin) as a single volume titled "Alanna - Ankunft in der Schwarzen Stadt" (Alanna - Arrival at the Black City). This bindup was released 2003 by Arena as hardcover and 2005 by Bastei Lübbe as paperback.
In the Danish edition, published by Forlaget Tellerup, the title was simply shortened to "Alanna". Den Grimme Ælling also published a Danish audiobook.
A Swedish edition of the book was published by BonnierCarlsen under the title "Alanna: Det Första Åventyret". The Spanish edition is titled "La Guerrera" and the French edition "Le Secret du Chevalier" (The Knight's Secret). The book was also published in Thai and Japanese, and in Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Lithuanian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Vietnamese. The Japanese edition is titled "Bōken no Hajimarishitoki" (When The Adventure Began). The Hungarian edition, translated by Judit Gordos and published by Geopen, is titled Az álruhás lovag (The knight in disguise).
Notes and references