Mastiff, by Tamora Pierce

Thus ends Pierce's first-person trilogy about George Cooper's famous ancestress, Beka Cooper. Beka is a guardswoman in the Provost's Guard, an equivalent to today's police force. She patrols the slums of the capital of Tortall with her partner, Tunstall, an older man, her scent hound, Achoo, and Pounce, a black cat with purple eyes and deity-like powers (he's a constellation, not, as people keep thinking, a god).

What is so interesting about this book, which is just as enjoyable as all Pierce's other books, is that it details the rise of the Gentle Mother cult. Its adherents believe that women who fight are trapped by the violence of the lives they lead, and would be fulfilled if only they'd settle down, get married, and have children. This religious movement explains the disappearance of Tortall's lady knights by the time we meet Alanna in the first books Pierce wrote about the realm of Tortall. I'm impressed by an author who is both willing and able to put such a backstory to her work, so that the world is just as consistent as our own. I continue to collect and read Pierce's work with great enjoyment and pleasure.


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