Literature / Truth Series

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A quadrology of Fantasy books written by Dawn Cook (also author of Urban Fantasy series The Hollows). It consists of the following books:

  • First Truth (2002)
  • Hidden Truth (2002)
  • Forgotten Truth (2003)
  • Lost Truth (2004)

The first two books centre on Alissa, a girl of mixed heritage, and her quest to find the Hold and rescue the Book of First Truth from the crazed Keeper Bailic who has killed all the remaining Keepers and Masters in his quest to possess the book. Along the way, she teams up with Strell and the captive Talo-Toecan to discover her own magical potential and defeat Bailic. The third book focuses on Alissa's unintentional travel back through time to the Hold in its heyday and her efforts to get home without disrupting the past or going mad from her displacement. In the final book Alissa tries to find the missing Masters of the Hold and to bring them back, facing off with one who would rather not return home.


This series provides examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 1. It is implied this happens regularly.
  • Arranged Marriage: The Masters practice this, because their population is tiny and arranging marriages helps them keep a more viable gene pool.
  • Babies Ever After: Alyssa is pregnant when the series ends.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind
  • Best Her to Bed Her: The only way Beast views sexual relationships; she merges with Alissa at the end in order to understand why Alissa would WANT to be "grounded."
  • Blessed with Suck: Shadufs, who can see the future- but only future deaths, starting with their own. Shadufs continue to see their own possible deaths, and become bitter and harsh because of it. When having someone burn their tracings is an option, they tend to regard it as a mercy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Talon is rather old for her kind of bird.
  • Close Enough Timeline: There are minor changes but it's not like there was another chance to do it right. See Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Strell has a habit of doing this with Alissa in the first book. This helps them bring her back when she shifts the first time and forgets about him.
  • Crush Blush: Lodesh becomes interested in Alissa when he fails to make her blush and she succeeds in making HIM blush.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: By implication and invocation of her name, Mirim.
  • Dance of Romance: Lodesh attempts this on Alissa in the third book.
  • De-Power: Burning someone's tracings, although some can recover depending on the severity of the damage and the presence of existing damage.
  • Dying Race: The whole point of Masters and the Hold is to prevent the extinction of rakus.
  • Elemental Powers: A variant. Magic users can create items from their memories, but typically specialize in only one medium - that is, if they make teacups from clay, they don't make their teapot from stone. This is supposedly because mastery is required to generate the items, and it's hard to master multiple areas.
  • Fantastic Racism: The people of the plains and the people of the foothills are perpetually posed at the brink of war, but never actually begin one because of their interdependence. People from each region have distinctive physical characteristics, and neither culture takes nicely to half-breeds (like Alissa) or people who look different than the rest of their people (like Bailic). It turns out this segregation is a deliberate action by The Masters in order to breed the correct stock for additional human-to-Raku Masters.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Shaduf's first death experience is their own. Then the death of everyone they meet or think of, and their power is permanently active.
  • First Guy Wins: Alyssa ends up marrying Strell, the first man she meets in the series.
  • Flowers of Romance: In Ese'Nawoer, Mirth tree blossoms are given as marriage proposals.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Played With with Alissa and Lodesh - when they first meet in the books, he remembers their first meeting but it hasn't happened for her (or the reader) yet. When he meets her for the first time, she remembers him but he doesn't know her.
  • Foreseeing My Death: The curse of being a Shaduf.
  • Future Shadowing: Alissa awakens Ese'Nawoer by remembering a party that she will attend there a full book later and three hundred years in the past. Additionally, from the moment she first meets Lodesh she can't shake the feeling that she knows him already, even though she hasn't met him yet in her own timeline.
  • Hands-On Approach: Strell teaching Alissa how to throw a pot.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: After Alissa transforms for the first time
  • In-Series Nickname: "Useless" for Talo-Toecan.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Lodesh to Alissa.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Justified in it was the how of time travel that was erased.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Averted HARD in the first two books - the only named characters who are around for more than a chapter or two are Alissa, Strell, Talon, Bailic, Talo-Toecan, and Lodesh. Justified due to the fact that the Hold had been emptied, and in the later two books more characters do show up and are relevant to the overall plot.
  • Love Epiphany: Strell somehow gets two in regards to Alissa - one when he's freeing Talo-Toecan in the first book, and another when he realizes Bailic is going to kill him if he doesn't leave, but he won't leave without Alissa no matter what in the second.
  • Love Triangle: Strell, Alissa, and Lodesh
  • Magic A Is Magic A: How wards work, among others.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Keribdis
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Justified and later on subverted.
  • Mindlink Mates: Strell can sense Alissa's presence in the room with him even when she's 300+ years in the past.
  • Moment Killer: Talon excels at this.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Rakus
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Residual energy of tragic past events. Only death unleashes such energies.
  • Psychic Powers: Shaduf are precognitive of a persons - and their own - death. The consequences of such unbidden knowledge are explored. Septhama are able to see ghosts and make them disappear for the regular eye.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Masters. Lodesh is cursed and as such 300+ years old
  • Rewatch Bonus: Pretty much everything to do with Lodesh is explained after you read Forgotten Truth. Additionally, all of Useless's muttering and question-dodging makes much more sense after you find out Alissa is actually a Master, not a Keeper. Also, everything about Talon once you've finished the series.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Played with in regards to Strell and Lodesh: Strell may come from a chartered name in the plains, but his family is all gone and he has no magical talent ('poor'), while Lodesh is a 300+ year old ghost from Ese'Nawoer cursed to live until he repays his blood debt, but he is also a Keeper and therefore closer to Alissa's standing ('rich').
  • Shipper on Deck: Alissa's teacher wants her to marry Connen-Neute, because he believes they're the only two young Masters alive. He has no luck in this, since while they're friends, it's completely platonic- with him being a little intimidated by her or rather, he's scared of her alternate personality, Beast.
  • Shown Their Work: The part on recessive and dominant geno- and phenotypes as well as preparing food.
  • Split-Personality Merge - Beast does this at the end of the Last Truth in her desire to understand love.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Masters are supposed to destroy their wild personalities as soon as they emerge, when the Master first changes shape; the alternative is to have it destroy them, leaving a so-called "feral". Alissa and "Beast" come to an accord instead, sharing their body for a time before ultimately undergoing a Split-Personality Merge. This is a good thing, since it turns out that the "losing" personalities aren't actually destroyed, and can even cause trouble after they're believed gone.
  • The Chosen One: Alissa is the only latent Master in her generation - however, there is usually one every hundred years or so.
  • Theme Naming: In the plains culture, siblings are always given names that start with the same letter- for example, Strell and all his brothers and sisters had names starting with S.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Played with, but ultimately only true for Masters and their ilk in specific circumstances.
  • The Power of Love: At least one major conflict in each book is solved (in part) with this. (Book 1: Alissa nearly dying from blowing out her tracings, Book 2: Alissa remembering herself after shifting, Book 3: Alissa making it back to her own time, Book 4: Alissa getting her source back)
  • Twice Shy: Alissa and Strell.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Lodesh to Alissa. Twice.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Rakus and Master are interchangeable. They can theoretically change into another form, would be stuck in that, though, due to the Functional Magic.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Masters usually live for hundreds of years.

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