A New York Times bestseller from the fantasy author who is legend herself: TAMORA PIERCE. In this first book in the Beka Cooper Trilogy, Beka uses her unique magic and street smarts to crack the kingdom's worst cases!Keep out of the way. Obey all orders. Get killed on your own time. Beka Cooper is one of the newest trainees in the Provost's Guard. As a rookie--known as a Puppy--she's assigned to the realm's toughest district: the Lower City. It should be a death sentence. The Lower City is filled with pickpockets who are fast as lightning, murderers stalking the streets, and rogues who will knock your teeth out with a smile. But Beka's not your average Puppy. She grew up in the Lower City and knows what makes it tick. It's Beka who notices that there might be something more to the latest crime wave. And it's Beka who must use her street smarts and her own brand of eerie magic to chase down a killer. This first book introduces Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who is the ancestor of one of Tamora Pierce's most popular characters: George Cooper. Here, Pierce gives fans exactly what they want--a smart, savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City--while offering plenty to appeal to new readers as well! "Tamora Pierce's books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration. Cracking open one of her marvelous novels always feels like coming home."