Review Blog

Apr 13 2011

Cat Royal Books by Julia Golding

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Den of thieves. Egmont, 2008. ISBN 9781405241847.
Cat o'nine tails. Egmont, 2008. ISBN 9781405241854.
(Ages 11+) Recommended. The thrilling series of novels about Cat Royal, an orphan brought up, surprisingly, in a theatre in London's Drury Lane, will drag in students keen on reading of other children's lives, those having to struggle to survive in difficult times. Cat lives through events in the late eighteenth century, a time of huge changes across Europe and North America, and these are interestingly reflected in this series.
The main character is a personable, intriguing young girl, capable of surviving in harsh times. The first in the series, The Diamond of Drury Lane, followed by Cat among the pigeons, set the scene for this series of books, but the early books do not have to be read to understand what is going on in the others.
A fourth in this entertaining series, Den of thieves, (Egmont, 2008) has Cat residing in Paris. It is the time of the French Revolution, and Cat is trying vainly to avoid capture and possible execution. Adventure piles upon adventure, with Cat using all her wiles to return to London unscathed.
Cat o'nine tails has Cat aboard the HMS Courage on its way to North America, there to help rescue a friend who has fallen into danger. A single woman aboard a ship is in some danger herself, and Cat must tread carefully, avoiding the drunken sailors, many fights, and of course the lash of the whip used to keep discipline aboard these ships.
An exciting read, students will learn much about life aboard these ships, and the times of the French and American Revolutions, helped by the glossary at the end of each book, outlining the meanings of many of the words used in the text. Interestingly at the start of the book is a list of players and a list of acts where there would be a contents page, all adding to the underlying feel of the theatre and its mysteries. And at the end of each is a snippet of the next book, tantalising the reader with what will follow.
Fran Knight

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