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 characters, Daine’s notes on immortals, as well as family papers, such as Aly’s first report as a young spy and Neal’s lessons with the Lioness. This rich guide also includes the first official timeline of Tortallan events from when it became a sovereign nation to the year Aly gives birth to triplets. Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide makes a perfect gift and is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall!
You have to be really into the Tortall universe and desperate for every scrap of information or mention of a beloved character to be interested in Tortall: A Spy’s Guide.
There are some massive highs here, particularly in some of the letters between or regarding my favourite characters. The very first letter, from Alanna to George, amazing. It’s always nice when we get to see Alanna’s softer side. Neal’s letter to Thom with notes about the Mages College was sweet. I think my favourite section contained the letters regarding Alan’s page training. Alan’s letter to Lord Imrah asking him to train him, it’s redirection to George by the spy network, George allowing it to proceed to Imrah, Imrah’s letter to George to ascertain his knowledge and opinion and his incredibly kind response to Alan, and finally George and Alanna’s letters to Imrah. Absolute perfection. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed a selection of diary entries written by the Master Cook at the Royal Palace. They seemingly had no purpose or relevance but they were well-written and captivating in their insight into daily life in the palace.
Unfortunately, there are also some real lows. Long, tedious manuals and instructions and descriptions. They were already well-known Tortallan lore or so unimportant I questioned their inclusion. And with my well-documented love of Tortall and Tamora Pierce, if I think it’s unimportant or unnecessary a normal person will likely not even bother.
I read every single word, hopeful for a reference to a character or place I knew. Anything to shed a little more light or expand the world. I did get a lot of what I wanted, but I also got a few extra naps I hadn’t planned for. Proceed with caution unless you’re slightly obsessed, and maybe skip the manuals and long documents.