Beka Cooper is now a full member of the Provost's Guard, who are charged with keeping the peace and upholding the King's laws. But after a terrible injury, she's sent to Port Caynn, to keep out of the way of her enemies and find out where the counterfeit silver coins flooding Tortall are coming from. At the port, she finds that the guards are led by an ineffectual and cowardly man (Alanna's ancestor!) and the port's Rogue is greedy and selfish, even by criminals' standards.
The writing is noticably smoother and a tad more grownup than in Terrier. This series isn't my favorite of Pierce's, and I don't like that Beka keeps getting these nicknames ("Terrier", "Bloodhound") from the common folk for her work on a single case. She's impressively dogged in her work, but to the extent that people whisper her name as she goes past? Plus, I want a little less attention paid to Beka's eating habits (I know what she has for every single meal, every single day) and a little more to her police work. I think my real problem is just that I started reading the Tortall books when I was a tween, and it's hard to remember that I've grown up and they're still written for a young audience. I need to manage my expectations, I suppose. That said, these are good ya books, with a solid cast set in a country that makes sense (Pierce has thought about how the sewers are built, and who supplies the food to where, and how the guilds work, and all those earthy details that most fantasy writers sidestep). And when the action gets moving, these books are un-put-downable.