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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 installment in The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, a series of four books. It mainly chronicles Alanna of Trebond's life as a squire, who has hidden her real gender in order to become a knight.

Plot introduction

Alanna has become a squire to her friend, Prince Jonathan, one of the few who know who she really is. Alanna must deal with her first war; a mysterious cat; and Roger of Conté, a royal duke whom Alanna believes is evil. She learns more about her magic, and must continue to hide her gender as two young men in her life start to fall for her.

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 destruction—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 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..."

It is possible here that Geoffrey has been knighted and Raoul has taken on Douglass 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..."

Later, while the squires are ice-skating, Sacherell is said to be Raoul's squire:

"Without warning, Geoffrey and Sacherell swept up behind her... Raoul's squire was the best skater in the palace, and Geoffrey was quite good for someone born and reared in Persopolis."


Main Characters

Minor Characters


Tortallan Nobility

Tusaine Nobility


  • Coram Smythesson - managed Trebond as steward for Alanna and Thom
  • Mistress Cooper - George's mother; healing woman in Corus; Alanna's teacher for womanly arts
  • Timon - Duke Gareth's personal manservant
  • Si-cham - Chief of the Masters at the City of the Gods
  • Stefan - hostler at the royal palace; member of the Court of the Rogue
  • Big Thor - soldier in Jonathan's camp during the Tusaine War; Alanna's friend
  • Aram - soldier in Jonathan's camp during the Tusaine War; watches the horses
  • Micah - Tortallan foot soldier; captured by the Tusaine with Alanna
  • Keel - Tortallan foot soldier; captured by the Tusaine with Alanna


Mentioned Characters

In order of mention:

  • Lord Alan of Trebond - Alanna and Thom's father; died before start of the novel
  • Old King - Roald's father; the Empire Builder
  • Scholar - member of the Court of the Rogue; Sir Myles's friend
  • Lightfingers - member of the Court of the Rogue; liked to drink
  • Laughing Nell - flower-seller at the Court of the Rogue
  • Marek - young burglar in the Court of the Rogue; Sir Myles's friend
  • Armen - Coram's apprentice and replacement steward at Trebond
  • Chamber of the Ordeal - room where squires became knights

Cover gallery

See also

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