Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘The Sign of the Cat’ by Lynne Jonell

Book cover, The Sign of the Cat by Lynne Jonell. Image depicts a red-headed boy with a white kitten on his shoulder, next to a tiger on a log raft with billowing sail
In the island kingdom of Arvidia, Duncan McKay’s mother insists he must always wear a cap with earflaps whenever he is outside. His grades in school must never be too good. And when he fences with the baron’s son Robert, he is (mostly) careful to lose.

Duncan’s cat Grizel taught him to speak Cat, but this too must stay a secret.

About his father, Duncan only knows what little his mother has told him: that he once owned a boat but he was not a fisherman, and was an excellent swordsman. To be near his father, Duncan can only visit a grave that his mother says is his.

A tom cat who travels with supply ships to other islands in the kingdom, warns that kittens are going missing. But the local cats’ council dismisses his warning as the latest among many other unfounded concerns.

Duncan’s efforts to help a mother cat find her missing kitten, Fia, leads him to the wharf and from there, aboard a ship with Fia a concealed stowaway.

Duncan discovers that the ship’s commander, the Earl of Merrick, is killing and eating kittens — but for what purpose? And what do the Earl’s plans portend for Arvidia, whose heir, the Princess Lydia, is missing through the supposed treachery of one of the king’s closest advisers?

The Sign of the Cat by Lynne Jonell (Henry Holt and Company, 2015) is an October 2015 selection of the Junior Library Guild. I picked up this book for its emphasis on cats, and its combination of intrigue and seafaring adventure kept my interest from start to finish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.