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First Test
First Test.jpg
A Novel of the Tortall
Protagonist Keladry of Mindelan
Antagonist Wyldon of Cavall
Joren of Stone Mountain
Setting Tortall: Corus
Author Tamora Pierce
Cover Artist Joyce Patti
Publication information
Publisher Random House
Release Date 1999
UK Release Date
Series Protector of the Small
Preceded by '
Followed by Page

First Test is the first installment of the Protector of the Small series, revolving around Keladry of Mindelan. It covers Kel's first, probationary, year as a page, 452-453 HE. The novel is set in the autumn immediately following the end of the Immortals War at the end of Realms of the Gods. It starts with Kel deciding to accept Lord Wyldon's offer of probational acceptance into training, and ends with his decision to allow her to remain at the end of her first year.

Inside the book

Cover flap summary

""Girls are fragile, more emotional, easier to frighten."

This is the typical attitude that Keladry of Mindelan is up against. Kel is the first girl in ten years to take advantage of the decree that permits girls to train for the knighthood, and she is about to smash everyone's preconceptions about what girls can and cannot do...

Set in Tortall during the reign of King Jonathan III [sic!] and Queen Thayet, First Test, launches the Protector of the Small series, which chronicles the coming of age of a heroine who is far more than she seems.'"
—Cover flap summary of the 1st Random House paperback edition May 2000


  1. Decisions
  2. Not So Welcome
  3. The Practice Courts
  4. Classrooms
  5. Kel backs away
  6. The Lance
  7. Kel Takes a Stand
  8. Winter
  9. Tests
  10. The Royal Forest
  11. Spidren Hunt
Cast of Characters


Keladry of Mindelan wishes to be the first female page to legally try for her knighthood in over a century. The novel opens with a discussion between King Jonathan and the training master, Lord Wyldon of Cavall, during which the Lioness is present. Lord Wyldon convinces the king to put Keladry on probation for a year, which greatly angers Alanna.

Upon learning of the king's decision, Kel is outraged, though her years in the Yamani Islands taught her to hide her feelings well. She is puzzled as to the reason the king would promise to give females the same chance that males received regarding knighthood, but put her on probation. She is on the verge of refusing the offer of training with a probationary year when a fight with a spidren convinces her otherwise.

The book outlines Kel's first year as a page, in which she is constantly tormented by those who do not want a girl in their midst and count her as an intruder if not even enemy. With Nealean of Queenscove as her sponsor, she struggles to find friends and to prove to Lord Wyldon that she is just as good as the male pages. She is against hazing and does what she can to help the other pages. This helps her make friends and gain the respect of a few other pages including Prince Roald, heir to the Tortallan throne.

In addition to her struggles with the other pages she also has to deal with classes, in which the teachers demand much of the pages and the "probationer page" Kel in particular. Perhaps the strictest of her teachers is Lord Wyldon himself. Even more so once he realized that Kel is afraid of heights. As every year the training master takes the pages around spring to a week-long training session out alone in the woods, where the pages have to fight against spidren along with the men of the King's Own and their famous Commander Lord Raoul himself. Kel truly believes that she will be sent home at the end of the training year, and is pleasantly surprised when Lord Wyldon allows her to continue training.

Kel's story is continued in the other books of The Protector of the Small quartet, the next installment, Page, centering around her other years as a page.


Main Characters

Minor Characters


Instructors/ Masters

Other Nobility



Mentioned Characters

In order of mention:


First Test was first published in 1999 by Random House as a paperback edition in the US. A year later the paperback edition by Random House followed. Sholastic Children's Books was responsible for the UK trade paperback edition, while Listening Audio produced the audiobook. The Danish paperback edition was published by Forlaget Tellerup, the translated title being "PAGE PÅ PRØVE".[1] A German paperback edition, translated by Kerstin Michaelis and published by cbt, appeared on August 6, 2007 under the title of "Im Zeichen der Löwin - Die Entscheidung" ("Under the Sign of the Lioness - The Decision").[2]

External links

Notes and references

See also