Tamora Pierce Wiki
A Novel of the Tortall
Protagonist Rebakah Cooper
Antagonist The Shadow Snake, Crookshank
Setting Tortall (Corus in 246 HE)
Author Tamora Pierce
Cover Artist Jonathan Barkat
Publication information
Publisher Random House
Release Date Oct. 24, 2006 (hardcover and audio book)
Oct. 23, 2007 (paperback)
UK Release Date
Pages 592 (hardcover)
608 (paperback)
Series Provost's Dog
Preceded by '
Followed by Bloodhound

Terrier is book one in the Rebekah Cooper trilogy by Tamora Pierce. It centers around protagonist Rebakah Cooper, ancestor of Eleni Cooper and George Cooper. Her story takes place about 200 years before Alanna: The First Adventure. The book is about Beka's first weeks as a puppy, or trainee, in the Provost's Guard.


Danish cover for the first part of Terrier

Beka Cooper is placed with Senior Dogs Matthias Tunstall and Clara Goodwin, two dogs famous for their work in the Lower City. Soon, they begin investigating the murder of three-year-old Rolond Lofts, son of Beka's friend Tansy Lofts and great-grandson of Ammon "Crookshank" Lofts, a rich criminal. This leads them to the realization that many children have been kidnapped and held for ransom in the last three years. If the child's parents pay the ransom, usually a valuable item in the parents' possession (such as a lily necklace, a ruby pendant, fire opals, curses, etc...), their child is returned to them. If not, the child is killed, and they have a new week to pay.

Supposedly, the villain behind these kidnappings is the Shadow Snake, a being from a legend used to scare young children into behaving. Beka, however, does not believe this and sets out to learn what's really happening.

Meanwhile, things are unstable in the court of the Rogue, a league of criminals. Kayfer Deerborn, the current king of the Rogue, is old and frail, and young hopefuls flock into town. Notably, one such hopeful, Rosto the Piper, and his two female friends, become friends with Beka.

Soon, Beka realizes that the Shadow Snake, or whomever is posing as the snake, is not the only crook working on a large scale lately. She suspects Crookshank of hiring workers to dig up rare fire opals from him - and killing the workers afterwards. However, there is little proof for either mystery and Beka, as a puppy, cannot go after them as she would like. Still, she continues to hunt for clues.

Narrative technique

Danish cover for the second part of Terrier


Terrier is an epistolary novel and chronicles events through Beka's diary and journals, which leads to a first-person narrator. It also allows for some special formatting like ink splatters or cat paws on pages. There aren't any real chapters. Instead the book is divided in diary entries for the day in question. The language, too, is more colloquial because of the diary form as Beka herself grew up in the Lower City of Corus and now works and lives in it, she also uses some of the terminology. This doesn't only include the usage of certain words, but also short, simple phrases as well as punctuation.


Terrier and the other books of the Rebekah Cooper trilogy follow a special terminology due to the setting in a lower social environment than Pierce's other books.

Some of the slang words are:

  • birdies - informants
  • cages - jail
  • cove - man
  • dog - guardsman or -woman who has gone through puppy training and achieved dog status
  • doxie - female prostitute
  • filcher - small-time criminal
  • foist - master pickpocket
  • gillyflower - carnation
  • gixie - girl
  • hedgewitch - worker of small magics with little formal eduation
  • hobble - tie up or arrest
  • hotblood wine - wine spiked with amphetamine-like substance
  • kennel - law enforcement station
  • minnow - very small-time criminal
  • mot - woman
  • mumper - beggar
  • nob, noll - head
  • puppy - guardsman or -woman in training
  • puttock - low-level female prostitute
  • rat - criminal
  • river dodgers - hard men and women working on and around the river (boats, shipping, trade and smuggling)
  • rushers - thugs
  • spintry - male prostitute
  • twilsey - refreshing drink made of raspberry or cider vinegar and water

Publication details

Revised cover to fit the Bloodhound artwork


Terrier is book one in the Rebekah Cooper trilogy and was published in hardcover on October 23, 2006[1]. The publication of the trade paperback edition followed a year later, on October 23, 2007[2]. Book two, Bloodhound, had a tentative release date of Spring 2008 but was actually released on April 14, 2009. Book three, Mastiff, had an original release date for 2010 but has been pushed back to Fall of 2011.

Other editions

Except from being published as hardcover and paperback books by Random House, the book has also been made into and audiobook by Listening Library. The reader is Susan Denaker and the audiobook is about 15 hours long. It was published simultaneously to the hardcover edition and is available on CDs as well as for download.

There also exists a Danish translation by Bjarne Skovlund, published with Tellerup, in which the novel has been split in two parts called "Duernes hvisken" (Whisper of the Doves) and "Duernes råb" (Cry of the Doves). The Danish cover art was designed by Stefan Rosenbech.


For a full list of characters see Characters in Terrier.

Major characters

  • Rebakah "Beka" Cooper: Beka is a trainee guard, partnered with Goodwin and Tunstall. Due to her inherited ability to understand the ghosts riding on pigeons and the voices caught in the breezes called dust spinners, she refers to those unusual informants.
  • Matthias Tunstall: He is Goodwin's dog partner and one of Beka's training partners. Tusntall is more easy-going than Goodwin and Beka compares him several times to an owl.
  • Clara Goodwin: She is Tunstall's dog partner and one of Beka's training partners. At first Goodwin is against having a Puppy, because she thinks a trainee would slow them down.
  • Pounce: Pounce is Beka's advisor, a constellation come to life in the body of a black cat with purple eyes. He is also known as Alanna's traveling companion Faithful in The Song of the Lioness-quartet.

Other characters


Notes and references

External links

See also