Alanna of Trebond has defeated her enemy, the sorcerer Duke Roger, and also attained her life's goal. She is now a female knight, but a lot of the court were not pleased that she had masqueraded as a boy for the past eight years, and she feels that it may be best if she gets away from court for a while. She takes Coram, her faithful man-at-arms with her, and rides south, where she is soon adopted into a tribe of Bazhir tribesmen. After a series of complications, she also becomes the tribe's shaman, and cannot leave on further adventures until she has trained at least one replacement for the tribe. She sets out to train three youngsters with magical abilities, one hot-headed boy and in break with tradition, two girls.
Having finally achieved what she has worked for her entire life, becoming a knight, Alanna is very taken aback when Prince Jonathan comes to see her and proposes marriage. Can she give up her dreams of fighting, glory and knighthood to settle down and be a princess, providing heirs to the kingdom? There are also her feelings for George, King of the Rogues, to consider. Is he more to her than just a friend?
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man covers a shorter span of time than the previous two books in the Song of the Lioness series, but Alanna still has a lot of growing up to do. She's always been a bit afraid of her magical abilities, but when she becomes the shaman of the Bazhir tribe, she is forced to not only learn to control her own powers, but to teach others to use theirs, for the protection of the whole tribe. She has to determine what she wants for her life and future, and decide whether her love for Jonathan is strong enough that she can give up everything she ever dreamed of to become his wife. While I liked it, I think I preferred the previous two, but can see why this is an important installment in the series.