In the Hand of the Goddess

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In the Hand of the Goddess
In the Hand of the Goddess
A Novel of the Tortall
Protagonist Alanna of Trebond
Antagonist Roger of Conté...
Setting Tortall...
Author Tamora Pierce
Cover Artist David Wiesner
Publication information
Publisher Atheneum
Release Date 1984
UK Release Date
Series The Song of the Lioness
Preceded by Alanna: The First Adventure

In the Hand of the Goddess is the second in a series of four books, The Song of the Lioness. It details the squire- and knighting of Alanna of Trebond, who has hidden her real sex in order to become a knight.

Plot introduction

Alanna, now squire to none other than Prince Jonathan of Conté, has to protect her knight and friend through their first war with Tusaine. She slowly learns more about her gift, using it primarily to heal, and continues to hide her true gender while both George and Jon have fallen in love with her. She continues to be suspicious of and protect her liege from his cousin Roger, on the way to her becoming a knight.

Back Cover Summary

"Disguised as a boy, Alanna of Trebond becomes a squire-to none other than the prince of the realm. But Prince Jonathan is much more to Alanna; he is her ally, her friend, and one of the few who know she's a girl.Now it will take all of Alanna's skill, strength, and growing magical powers to protect him from the mysterious evil sorcerer bent on his distruction-and hers!"
—Back cover summary, Random House's 1984 edition.

Plot summary

While camping in the woods on her way back to Corus from an errand, Alanna's campsite, set up under a willow tree, is discovered by a small black cat whom she names Faithful. It does not escape Alanna's notice that his eyes are as purple as her own; she also finds out that Faithful can talk to her, although to others it sounds as if he is meowing. Soon after, the Great Mother Goddess, Alanna's patron, shows up at her campfire. She gives Alanna the Ember-stone that allows the young woman to see magic being worked around her.

As she progresses into knighthood, Alanna's feminine side is nurtured as well. After a few visits with Eleni, George Cooper's mother, Alanna realizes that part of her wants to act like the ladies she sees in the Court. Eleni takes Alanna under her wing and secretly teaches her how to dress and behave like a woman. The change does not go unnoticed by George or Prince Jonathan, the only two friends with whom she has shared her secret about her sex. Though George has pursued Alanna since her page hood, Jonathan realizes the woman at his hands. They share their first kiss after Jon rescues Alanna when she is kidnapped by nobles from Tusaine, and they become lovers soon after, although George made it clear to Alanna that he loved her before they went to war.

Alanna withstands the Ordeal of Knighthood and becomes a knight. Her twin brother, Thom, presents her with a shield featuring the crest of their home estate, Trebond. When he and Alanna are alone after the ceremony, he shows her that when she is ready to reveal to everyone that she is a woman, the Trebond crest will disappear, and in its place will be the picture of a golden Lioness rearing on a field of red.

In a final showdown against her long-time nemesis, Alanna kills Duke Roger of Conté, her prince's cousin, who is to inherit the throne should anything happen to Jonathan. She does this after finding out about Roger's plans to kill the king, the queen, Jonathan, and even Alanna herself. During her duel with Roger, he slices through the special corset she wears to keep her breasts flat. It is revealed to everyone that she is very much a woman. Nevertheless, she is determined to go on and beat Roger so that he cannot kill the people she loves. When Roger uses an illusion to confuse Alanna regarding which of his swords is real and which is the illusion, she uses the ember-stone given to her by the Goddess. She is able to beat him.

After her battle with Roger, Alanna decides not to stick around to deal with the initial uproar over her sex. With Faithful, her longtime manservant Coram, and her horse Moonlight, she sets off for the desert in the South, in search of more adventure.

Typing Errors

In this book, Gareth "Gary" of Naxen the Younger's squire differes from chapter to chapter.

In the first chapter of this book, after Alanna returns from the errand she had run for her friend Sir Myles, she is having a quiet day with her other noble friends, Gary and his squire Geoffrey of Meron, Raoul and his squire Douglass of Veldine, Prince Jonathan and Alex (Alex's squire is not mentioned here):

"...Gary and Raoul, with the afternoon off, had given their squires Geoffrey and Douglass free time as well..."

In the following chapter, it is mentioned that Gary's Squire is Sacherell of Wellam, and Raoul's squire is Douglass of Veldine (Alex's squire is again not mentioned):

"...Alanna, Gary's squire , Sacherell of Wellam, and Raoul's squire, Douglass of Veldine, served wine..."

It is possible here that Geoffrey has been knighted and Raoul has taken on Sacherell as his new squire, but then In the third chapter, it is said that Alex's squire is Geoffrey of Meron:

"...Only Alex and his Squire, Geoffery of Meron, seemed unaffected by Delia..."

Characters in "In the Hand of the Goddess"

  • Alanna of Trebond - heroine and focus of the book/series; now squire to Prince Jonathan. She is 14 -18 years old in this book. Also known as Alan to her friends and everyone in the palace.
  • Jonathan of Conté - heir to the throne of Tortall and Alanna's best friend; enters a romantic relation with him
  • Gareth of Naxen the Younger - one of Alanna's friends
  • Raoul of Goldenlake - another one of Alanna's friends
  • Alex of Tirragen - yet another friend of Alanna's, but they soon begin to grow apart when Alex becomes squire to Duke Roger of Conte and Alanna suspects Alex of trying to kill her.
  • George Cooper - the King of the Thieves who also knows of Alanna's true gender and swore he would love her even if he never saw her in a dress.
  • Roger of Conté - Jonathan's powerful magician cousin, Alanna has her own suspicions about him
  • Myles of Olau - Knight, history teacher of Alanna, Jon, Gareth, Raoul and Alex, advisor to King Roald, he has suspicions as to Alanna's true gender
  • Delia of Eldorne- Duke Roger's assistant.
  • Queen Lianne of Tortall - Jonathan's mother. Her health has never been good.
  • Faithful - Alanna's purple eyed cat from the mother goddess. He's very chatty.
  • Eleni Cooper - George's mother and a healer. She teaches Alanna how to be a woman.
  • King Roald of Tortall - Jonathan's Father
  • Thom of Trebond - Alanna's brother who is training to be the greatest sorcerer ever lived.
  • Gareth the Elder - Gary's father, oversees the pages.

Cover gallery

See also

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