This is the adventure Alana has after she is a fully fledged knight. This is the third installment in the ‘Song of the Lioness' series.
Alana, finally a fully fledged knight, travels in the Tortall desert with Moonlight, her horse, Faithful, her cat and Coram, her manservant. They are suddenly attacked in the oasis by vicious hillmen.
In the battle, her sword, Lightening is damaged. Alana and her mates are saved by Bazhir, desert tribesman. As they come to greet her, her magic token notices the evil, crystal sword of a fallen hillman. She ignores it and picks up her blade.
After a conversation with the Bazhir, she learns the Bloody Hawk's headman's name is Halef Seif and they do not think highly of the King or a woman warrior. One of the tribe members recognize Alana from an event in the first book, where she and the Prince fought against the ‘Nameless Ones'.
With some gained respect, they invite her to stay with their tribe for a night. There, they are taken care of by a young boy, Ishak, and two young girls, Kourren and Kara. They are told of Ibn Nazzir, a shaman who is threatened by Alana.
At this point, it is obvious that the tribe is very conservative. During the Moment of the Voice, all tribe members must gather and where Alana's fate will be decided.
They are called to attend the gathering and there is a debate of what Alana's fate is. Some call for combat for her to prove her worth while some say death. The men choose combat.
Hakim is the tribe's representative and they fight. Eventually, Alana wins and spares Hakim's life. She becomes a member of the tribe. The next day, the shaman ostracizes her and the children, who have taken a liking to her.
Ibn Nazzir brought back the crystal sword from the desert. Eventually, she battles with Ibn Nazzir and kills him, taking his place as shaman.
Alana does not want this and trains the children, who have the Gift, to take her place so she may leave. The crystal sword is kept with her. Slowly, as time goes one, the tribe begins to see woman as more than housekeepers due to Alana's influence.
Kara and Kourren are training well whereas Ishak has gone down the wrong path of evil sorcery. He takes the crystal sword, wanting to wield its power but is killed by the magic.
Soon, the Prince Jonathan and Sir Myles come across the desert, to Alana's delight. Alana and Jonathan spend a night together and he proposes. Alana tells him she needs to think. Jonathon undergoes the same ritual as Alana and makes the same choice after he wins. Myles adopts Alana so she can inherit his property one day.
He then begins training under The Voice. His arrogance quickly takes over but Alana keeps him under wraps. Soon, the girls become shaman and the Voice dies. Jonathan becomes the new Voice and says he wants to be the best ruler ever and unite the people of the North and South.
Afterwards, Alana rejects Jonathan's proposal and he insults her femininity. He departs and she leaves soon after for Port Caynn. There, she has a brief affair with George and learns Thom has been attempting to resurrect the dead. She then leaves for the desert again.
Halef asks her and Coram to check on an old friend who is a sorceress since he has been having nightmares. When they arrive at her sickly, impoverished village, they see she is being sacrificed for the gods. They are unable to save her in time but she gives them a scroll for Halef.
After returning to the tribe, Halef tells them the scroll is a map to the Dominion Jewel. It is rumoured to give profound powers to those rulers with or without the Gift, proving to be dangerous.
Alana and Coram then set off in their new adventure.
Best part of story, including ending:
It was good to see the slow change in the tribe where women begin having more of a role in society.
Best scene in story:
When Halef wishes Alana to have the adoption ceremony with Myles, she wants two of the witnesses to be the shaman in training, who are girls. It is a shock to others but eventually, it is accepted and the girls watch on with five other men.
Opinion about the main character:
Alana does tend to get away with more than the usual girl in her situation would but she has her share of insecurities in regards to her femininity.
After killing Roger in a magical battle and having the fact that she is a woman revealed to everyone, Alanna goes into voluntary exile and visits the Southern Desert. While there, she ends up being captured by one of the desert tribes. In self-defense, she kills the tribe's shaman and becomes the next shaman. She tries to deal with the tribes' prejudices against women as she teaches three young mages how to use their magic. When Prince Jonathan visits the tribe in order to learn things that would help him better unite his people, Alanna has to sort out her feelings about him and what she wants for herself.
The review of this Book prepared by Melissa Cookson