In the Hand of the Goddess

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In the Hand of the Goddess
Song of the Lioness - In the Hand of the Goddess - Cover.jpg
Original Atheneum U.S. hardcover of the book featuring the title character.
Author Tamora Pierce
Cover artist David Weisner
Country United States
Language English
Series The Song of the Lioness
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Atheneum Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 232 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN 0-689-31054-4 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 10559619
LC Class PZ7.P61464 In 1984
Preceded by Alanna: The First Adventure
Followed by The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

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

Plot introduction[edit]

Alanna, now squire to Prince Jonathan of Conte, has to protect her dreams of knighthood and friends 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 Jon from his power-mad first cousin, Roger, on the way to her becoming a full-fledged knight.

Plot summary[edit]

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 an amulet 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. 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. Later on, during a party, Jonathan finds Alanna in the gardens and expresses his feelings, kissing her and attempting to take her corset off. But before he can, Alanna protests and the contact is broken off.

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 Conte, 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 amulet given to her by the Goddess in the beginning of the novel. She is able to beat him. Her friends, including Jonathan and Myles, step up and tell the king that they knew beforehand that she was a female.

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[edit]

In this book, Gareth "Gary" of Naxen the Younger's squire differs 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..."

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..."

Principal characters[edit]

  • King Ain – Tusaine's King
  • Sir Alanna of Trebond – A squire and later a Knight
  • Sir Alex – once Alanna's friend, later Roger’s squire, and Knight, tries to kill Alanna
  • Duke Baird – chief healer at the palace
  • Coram Smythesson
  • Delia of Eldorne – one of the Queen's Ladies, a great beauty, Roger sends her to chase after Jonathan.
  • Faithful – Alanna's purple-eyed cat given her by the Goddess
  • Duke Gareth of Naxen – Gary's father
  • Gareth (Gary) of Naxen – Son of Duke Gareth, Jon and Alanna's friend, instructs Alanna before her Ordeal
  • George Cooper- King of the Rogue, Alanna's friend
  • Duke Hilam – King Ain's brother and Prime Minister
  • Jonathan of Conté – crown prince of Tortall, Alanna's friend and later, her lover
  • Moonlight – Alanna's faithful steed
  • Myles of Olau – Alanna's friend and mentor, a knight and teacher
  • Raoul of Goldenlake – Knight, friend of Alanna and Jon
  • Duke Roger of Contè – Jonathan's cousin and Alanna's greatest enemy, Roger plots to kill the King, Queen and Jonathan to have the throne of Tortall to himself
  • Thom of Trebond – Alanna's brother, studying sorcery in the City of the Gods, passes his Mastery at 17 when most don't even try until 30