|Mastiff, Tamora Pierce|
Beka Cooper, Book Three
Mastiff forms the conclusion of the Beka Cooper series, set in Tamora Pierce's Tortall universe.
In Mastiff, Beka, along with her human partner, Mattes Tunstall, her scent hound Achoo, and her feline/constellation companion Pounce, are sent on a top secret mission on which the fate of the kingdom hangs. They team up with some new characters as well as old friends, including lady knight Sabine of Macayhill. The possibility that anyone is a traitor looms heavily over the group. This is the mission that proves Beka is a full-blown Dog, far from her young Puppy days, and able to take on whatever challenge awaits her.
The social justice themes in Mastiff are more prominent than they were in the first two Beka Cooper books. Beka tackles slavery and classism head on. She also struggles with the reality that her job means turning people over to the government to face capital punishment, making her feel like the murderers she's trained to take down. Sexism and gender essentialism continue to flourish through the Goddess Mother cult. Lady Sabine reveals that she's faced violent opposition along her journey to become a well-respected female knight.
Mastiff is the perfect conclusion to a great trilogy, and an end to this era in Tortall.