|Publication date||December 1, 2011|
|Published by||Random House Books for Young Readers|
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Author: Tamora Pierce
Subseries: Beka Cooper
Almost 200 years before Alana became the champion of Tortall, before any other story of Tortall, there lived a girl who became a legend. Written as her own journal, this book chronicles her life as she attempts to solve the greatest threat the realm has seen in an age.
The very day after Beka burried her bethrothed, the Lord Provost came to her with a peculiar request: pack for a short journey, you leave immediately on a Hunt. Any hopes that this was a trifling matter were dashed shortly later, when the Lord Provost joined Beka, Achoo, and Tunstall on a trip by Peregrine ship, the fastest craft in the land and reserved for Royal missions. When they arrive at the Summer Palace, the full extent of the situation becomes clear: half of the Royal Guard have been butchered, and the Heir has been kidnapped. Beka, Tunstall, and a mage named Farmer must work hard and work fast to find the young Prince, and in the process, save the King and Queen from an attempted coup. But when treachery and greed corrupt a member of the hunt, Beka must decide whether to hold true to friendship and love, or to hold onto the Hunt as relentlessly as a Mastiff.