Pierce, Tamora. In the Hand of the Goddess (2005 ed). 288 Pages. Simon Pulse. $6.99
Song of the Lioness: Book Two
Alanna of Trebond returns, this time as the squire of Prince Jonathan of Tortall- one of the few people who know her true gender. She’s well on her way to becoming a knight, and she’s just found out that the Great Mother Goddess has plans for her. She meets Faithful for the first time (though depending on which order you’ve read the Tortall books in you might know him by another name).
Sure, she’s kicking a lot of butt, but sometimes a girl just wants to be a girl. Alanna is slowly learning that being a knight doesn’t mean she has to neglect being a woman, and being strong doesn’t mean rejecting love. She’s also learning that her magic is not such a bad thing, and that she has quite the healing gift. First George, then Jonathan express interest in Alanna as more than just a comrade, and she doesn’t really know what to make of it. Eventually, she and Jonathan become more than just friends– which is really the start of Alanna as a woman who has sex (gasp!).
Of course, growing up isn’t hard enough for our lady-knight-in-training; she’s got political intrigue to deal with. As Tortall marches for war with Tusaine, Duke Gareth the older is injured, and Duke Roger ends up in charge of the troops. Alanna is unhappy about it, but doesn’t have any proof that Roger has done anything. Then she and Jon get caught up in a plot which puts them both in danger (and gets Alanna kidnapped). Then, abruptly, the war with Tusaine reaches a tenuous treaty, and everyone heads back to Corus.
This particular book climaxes with Alanna’s Ordeal of Knighthood and the circumstances which lead to her revealing her gender to the court. In the end, Alanna is a Lady Knight, and she is ready for adventure.
The Quick Version:
The story in this volume is very fast paced; Tusaine and Tortall go to war and resolve their differences rapidly. Alanna and Jon get romantically entangled, Duke Roger is Evil, and Alanna becomes a Knight. It’s setting the stage for the next two books rather than attempting to be a complete story on its own. It gets a 4/5, because Alanna is slower on the uptake than the reader as far as Duke Roger’s plot goes.