Finally, finally a new Tamora Pierce book arrived in my excited hands. It's been a couple of years since the last one, but it feels a lot longer. Pierce's books have helped me through dark times by reminding me to be my own hero and not to need a knight in shining armour to save me from myself and my darkness. Her heroines are smart, funny, strong and surrounded by awesome people (and sarcastic cats).
Mastiff picks up Beka Cooper's story from Bloodhound, a few years down the line. Beka is now a full member of the Provost's Guard and a trained tracker, with her scent hound Achoo.
She and her partner are sent on a Hunt to find the kidnapped Prince Gareth and bring his abductors to justice. Completing the Hunt team are Lady Sabine, a female knight, and Farmer Cape, a mage. Beka is accompanied by her black cat, Pounce, who provides some of the humour, mostly in his exasperation with humans.
Like a lot of Pierce's books there is a deeper concern running throughout, in this case, slavery, through the character of Gareth and his experiences.
Beka's story takes place about 200 years before the events of the Alanna quartet, Pierce's first series, and Beka is an ancestor of George Cooper, Rogue (chief thief), who befriends Alanna in the first book.
The Beka Cooper trilogy is a welcome look at Tortall's history and explains some of the background to her other books.
Even if you've never read one of Pierce's books, I recommend you pick one up and Beka's story is as a good a place to start as any.
The Beka Cooper books; Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff.