|A Novel of the Tortallan Universe (249 HE)|
|Cover Artist||Jonathan Barkat|
|Release Date||Oct. 25, 2011 (Hardcover, audio and kindle)|
|UK Release Date|
Mastiff is the third and last volume in the Provost's Dog trilogy, published on October 25, 2011. Set in summer of 249 HE, two years after Bloodhound, the story of Mastiff shows Beka as an experienced "Dog".
- "Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal."
- —Original plot summary from Pierce's Website
At the beginning of the book, Beka is consumed with guilt for barely mourning her recently deceased betrothed, a five-year Lower City Day Watch Dog named Holborn, whom we never meet. That night, she is roused and sent off to the king and queen's Summer Palace with her partner, Matthias Tunstall, her scent hound, Achoo, and her immortal cat Pounce. They discover that raiders had come to the palace with inside help and stolen the young Prince Gareth. Beka, Tunstall, and Achoo follow the scent of the prince after a Blue Harbor Kennel Mage named Farmer Cape discovers that most of the raiders had been purposefully drowned by mages and only a small group escaped.
As they keep on the trail of slave traders thought to have the prince, they are joined by Sabine of Macayhill, Tunstall's lover, and Farmer Cape, a seemingly silly mage. As the quartet follows the caravan north, the purpose of the kidnapping slowly unfolds. The spirit of the murdered Lord High Chancellor of Mages, Lazamon of Buckglen comes to Beka on a pigeon and explains the spell placed on the royal family causes the king and queen to suffer as their son does, in hopes that it will eventually cause them to fall ill and die. King Roger, formerly a canoodling man unconcerned with the affairs of the country, has recently begun inspecting the goings-on of the realm on the request of his new wife, Queen Jessamine.
The mages and nobles, furious with the king's decision to tax them and monitor their doings, have started a rebellion to put Prince Baird on the throne. On their search for the young prince Beka and her companions have to overcome the obstacles left behind by the captors' mages, including magical traps and a miles-long swamp, the only bridge over which has been destroyed. They also have to face up to the nobility. Beka begins to suspect that one of their group is a traitor and must decide the best course to save the prince. In the end, Beka and the young prince persuade King Roger to make an unprecedented and unpopular decision, and Beka makes an important decision of her own.
- Rebakah (Beka) Cooper: Beka is now a fourth-year Dog. After Goodwin took the promotion to Desk Sergeant of Evening Watch in Jane Street Kennel, Beka is now permanently partnered with Matthias Tunstall. She has just lost her betrothed, although she can't mourn for him as she should because their love had died out and Beka had been about to end the engagement. Thus she is glad to have the chance to be on this hunt to forget about her worries and focus on other things.
- Matthias Tunstall: Tunstall is Beka's partner. By now, they have been partnered for two years. He is still in love with Lady Sabine.
- Lady Sabine of Macayhill: Lady Sabine is a Lady Knight and Tunstall's lover. She accompanies the group along with her two horses.
- Farmer Cape: Farmer is a kennel mage from Blue Harbor. On first glance he seems to be silly, but as it turns out, he has a few tricks up his sleeve. Lord Gershom has worked with him before.
- Pounce: He is a constellation. As such Pounce can help Beka a bit by giving her tips, guiding her and sometimes even using his own magic. However, he is not allowed to use too much of his power and thus influencing the mortal realms too much.
- Achoo: Achoo is a famous scent-hound from Corus. She has been partnered with Beka since Beka saved her from her previous handler, who mistreated her.
Originally the novel had been titled Elkhound, but Tamora Pierce decided that this choice of title didn't go along with the content anymore, because elkhounds only tracked game and didn't bring it down like mastiffs.
The first draft of Mastiff was finished on January 18, 2011 and counted 660 pages. An excerpt of Mastiff was placed in the back of Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales, which was released on February 22, 2011.
Its publication date was originally set for 2010, although Tamora Pierce stated in December of 2009 that the novel would probably be released in spring or summer of 2011 at the latest, and that Pierce was nearly finished writing it; shortly after this statement the new publication date 2011 was also officially published on her website. In an October 2010 interview though, she stated that Mastiff was two thirds of the way completed and would probably be released in spring/summer 2012. During December 2010 the column with future publications on Tamora Pierce's website was changed to announce the publication of Mastiff for November 2011. In February 2011 an exact publication date was set to October 25 that year. The hardcover edition came out simultaneously with the e-book/kindle edition and the audiobook.
Information revealed before the actual publication
Before the book was published Tamora Pierce had already revealed a bit of information about the book:
Mastiff will give an answer to the question why Lady Sabine and the king fought.
When finishing Bloodhound Tamora Pierce herself didn't know yet if Beka would be romantically involved with someone at the end of Mastiff or not, stating that there were "circumstances that could make it hard for Beka to feel as if she were in love with someone in Mastiff".
- Pierce's website
- Random Buzz; "Bloodhound!!! **Spoilers**"; April, 2009
- Readergirlz live chat on December 16, 2009
- Interview with Tamora Pierce on yafantasyguide.com
- video interview with Tamora Pierce on the release of Bloodhound
- Tammy's facebook
- Randombuzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce - Tortall, p. 6 - retrieved on March 11, 2011
- Random Buzz; "Mastiff -love in the end?"; April 24, 2009