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Tortall: A Spy's Guide


3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,568 ratings  ·  372 reviews
The secrets of Tortall are revealed. . . .

As Tortall’s spymaster, George Cooper has sensitive documents from all corners of the realm. When Alanna sends him a surprising letter, he cleans out his office and discovers letters from when King Jonathan and Queen Thayet first ascended the throne, notes on creating the Shadow Service of spies, threat-level profiles on favorite
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Timothy It's being published Fall, 2017 - probably in September.

We're looking at/approving final artwork for inside the book now - and I'd share some if I ha…more
It's being published Fall, 2017 - probably in September.

We're looking at/approving final artwork for inside the book now - and I'd share some if I had permission to!

The first Arram Draper book, now called Tempest and Slaughter, will be out next year - Tammy apologizes for the delay, but she and her editor felt it needed rewrites to be the best book it could be. Because of that, the Tris at Lightsbridge book has been pushed back....(less)
QNPoohBear No. The only character we learn anything new about is Alanna. You can check Tamora Pierce's website for a quick bit of info about Kel.…moreNo. The only character we learn anything new about is Alanna. You can check Tamora Pierce's website for a quick bit of info about Kel.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,568 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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Tamora Pierce
Nov 09, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote some of this, I can’t review it!
Jan 30, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2017

The only author more seminal to my youth than Tamora Pierce is JK Rowling. My inner twelve-year-old (who is not that different from my outer twenty-five-year-old) is sobbing with excitement. SQUEEEE
Jun 11, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr-fantasy, fantasy
I'm still in shock that Tamora is actually going to publish another book in my lifetime....I won't believe this book exists until I have it in my hands.

Still waiting for that damn Numair book

☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Another fun compendium intro to the worlds of Tamora Pierce.
A warrior walks so everyone knows she is there.
No one knows the spy is there.
A warrior seems to do everything.
A spy seems to do nothing.
A warrior fights whenever she can.
A spy fights only as a last resort.
A warrior wins fame.
A spy who wins fame is dead. (c)
Owls—Sometimes we need help with things like magic, special knowledge, or even research that’s not in libraries or temple records. That’s when we call the Owls—those persons who a
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, 2017
Amazing. Everything I wanted and more. The Neal and Alan parts killed me. I’m still not over Alanna’s letter to George. Will never be over that. Time to write fanfic.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Well. This is part story, part exhaustingly boring information manual. The story elements are few and far between, but they're pretty great. (view spoiler) I also like the reveal that (view spoiler) and I like that (view spoiler) ...more
Kim Clifton
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well, the formatting here is to compensate for what the book lacks in content. I could care less about calligraphy fonts and ink-stained pages when I expected to learn more about my favorite characters. Unfortunately, the backstory is about Tortall as a country- its customs, history, creatures- essentially the information one would acquire naturally while reading Pierce's other books. So unlike her other collection of short stories, this is essentially plotless and adds little to the established ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the perfect companion to all of the Tortall books. I find myself ready to reread them all -- right now!
Sam Maggs
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much exciting new canon for a hard-core Tortall fangirl.
Jo Oehrlein
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cool to read straight through, but I bet it will be looked at more for reference than a complete re-read in the future.
Arielle ✨ Chelsea's Nebular Ally and Team Orion ✨
Sooooooooooo gooooooooooood. I can't even express to you all how excited I was when this showed up on my door step yesterday. Tamora Pierce and all of her books set it Tortall are THE reason why I got into YA. I devoured each and every book and I still treasure them today. I mean, I think you can accept that a set of characters have had an impact on you when you are going through something scary or hard and the first think that pops into your mind are "Alanna became a lady knight without anyone ...more
Lisa Wolf
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
A nice-to-have for fans of Tamora Pierce's world of Tortall. This is a collection of odds and ends, including character journal entries, guidebooks for spies, timelines, and more. It's not a novel, just a fun companion book for Pierce's fabulous fantasy world. ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-fantasy

I'm never going to have enough in the Tortall world, but I love how much more I know now.
Dana Stabenow
Worth it for the snarky history of Tortall written by George and Alanna's son Alan. ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Re: Tortall A Spy's Guide.



Spoilers, obviously!




You have been warned!




Tamora Pierce mentioned that she has had the setting of Tortall in her mind since 1976, and it shows. The book is a patchwork of interesting information, humor, familiar faces, and the little tidbits of information we have come to appreciate. Isn't she (and she had help from Timothy Liebe and a couple others)
amazing? Tortall and its neighbors feel as rich as the real world. I think it was in Lioness Rampant that it was m
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy

This is for die-hard Tortall fans only - you won't understand any references if you haven't read all the books set in Pierce's Tortall universe.

That said - this is an AWESOME addition to that universe, answering a few questions not addressed in the books that take place in between events and filling in TONS of character details.

There isn't a plot, persay, it is broken up in sections that are about different subjects, but we still learn a lot more about Pierce's world.

And, as always, I heart Geo
I really don't know how to review this. Quite honestly this was completely unnecessary. But I loved it. Tamora Pierce was one of my favourite authors growing up, and this book made me SO NOSTALGIC. Also it was good. It may have been unnecessary, but it was also very good.

This wasn't a story or anything, just a collection of files and letters and the like. And honestly that really worked with Tamora Pierce's strengths. Her writing is great. Her characters are great. But while her plots themselves
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
5 stars! 10 fingers! 12 toes! I loved all the extra stuff, I loved the background info, I LOVED Neal's terrible poetry on the back of his notes, I loved little baby Alan trying to sneak one over his super spy dad, and all the bits and bobs that went into other various character backstories.

I definitely spent way longer than was probably warranted pouring over the timeline at the end. So goooood!

Probably not a riveting read for those new to the Tortall universe, but an absolute must for lovers of
Elizabeth Morgan
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
A behind-the-scenes look at personal and official documents of the Cooper family and the related Shadow Service. Obviously, full of spoilers from the rest of the Tortall series, and clearly for diehard fans.
Reading this book reminds how overdue I am for a reread of all the Tortall books.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It should not be a shock to anyone who knows me that Tamora Pierce is my favorite author, and has been for over 21 years. I started reading her books just after Wild Magic was published, and every single book that is out (excepting this one, because it is only the first day) I have in multiple copies. I've read through most of her books so many times that there is at least one completely worn through copy of every book in my collection. Different books got me through different times of my life - ...more
Jen Desmarais
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Riveting and exciting to learn about some of the background work that was going on, and told in a fun and interesting way. Definitely happy to add this to my shelf!
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is definitely a book only for people who have read the four main series set in Tortall (unfortunately nothing from Beka's days are mentioned). There will be spoils-- HUGE spoilers if you read this before any of those.

As a lover of the Tortall world, this was like chatting with an old friend. There are correspondences between characters which are fun or loving, or shed light on other circumstances. My love for Alanna and George grew even more, although I truly still did wish for more about
Initial Thoughts: There's so much information packed into this book that I definitely foresee myself going back to it over and over again just to look something up. Much of the writing differs in every perspective, and while a few passages could have potentially gotten dry, I read everything from page one to the very end. Love it! ...more
Ashley Will
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fun read to get to know characters and history of this universe better. It was especially neat seeing illustrations for people and creatures.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love the construction and the worldbuilding and framing narrative. Interesting lore tidbits! And the way they're presented in the framing narrative is interesting. ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to say I am honest-to-gods crushed at how little I was able to enjoy this book. I've loved Tamora Pierce since I first picked up "Alanna: The First Adventure" and own all 18 of her Tortall Universe books, some second copies after first ones fell apart from love. In buying "A Spy's Guide" I hoped for updates about Aly, maybe some short stories about characters we know and love, but definitely more about Aly, her kids, and the state of the Isles, since she IS George's daughter and a spymast ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a compendium of information about Tamora Pierce's Tortall. It includes letters, a spy's guide, character guides with drawings, notes on University courses, a timeline of the rulers of Tortall with annotations by Alanna's son Thom and a timeline of events.

The book is beautifully designed. The pages are printed in full color so they look like pieces of parchment sewn together. Some of the pages even have ink blots and other stains (I hope that's not blood on Neal's papers ew!). The text i
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love the Tortall books so much that I even tried to love this too. It didn't work.

The best parts of this book are charming call-backs to characters in the Tortall books. They mostly come in letters between characters. But Tamora Pierce at her best is far more than briefly charming. These parts of the book did little to add to my enjoyment of the characters. If anything, they made me long for a real story.

The worst parts of the book are downright boring. Many give a dry recap of beloved bits of
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm inclined to like this book because it expands upon a playground I am very fond of, but I can admit that it won't be particularly interesting to people unfamiliar with Tortall- too many insider references. In fact, it's so full of insider references that I am writingt his reviews for people already familiar with Tortallverse.

Favourite parts: Thayet and Buri portraits. The character profile for the Yamani spy. Alan being adorable. Anything with Neal in it- he's my favourite daffodil. Jonathan
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Challenge Corner: Tortall: A Spy's Guide 1 5 Jun 27, 2018 12:37PM  
FYTortall Book Club: Tortall: A Spy's Guide & Tempests and Slaughter 13 29 Feb 22, 2018 05:57PM  

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Hey, folks! I just discovered that apparently I have given some very popular books single-star ratings--except I haven't. How do I know I haven't? Because I haven't read those books at all. So before you go getting all hacked off at me for trashing your favorites, know that I've written GoodReads to find out what's going on.

I return to my regularly scheduled profile:
Though I would love to join gro

Other books in the series

Tortall (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)
  • In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)
  • The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness, #3)
  • Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4)
  • Wild Magic (Immortals, #1)
  • Wolf-Speaker (Immortals, #2)
  • Emperor Mage (Immortals, #3)
  • The Realms of the Gods (Immortals, #4)
  • First Test (Protector of the Small, #1)
  • Page (Protector of the Small, #2)

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