Cat Among the Pigeons

Cat Among the Pigeons

4.7 26
by Julia Golding
     
 

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MYSTERY, DISGUISES, AND A FIGHT FOR FREEDOM.

The second episode in the CAT ROYAL ADVENTURE series plunges readers into the underbelly of London in a mission for justice. Pedro's old slave master wants him back, but his friends on Drury Lane won't give him up without a fight. Disguised as a boy, Cat enters an aristocratic boarding school and scales the

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Overview

MYSTERY, DISGUISES, AND A FIGHT FOR FREEDOM.

The second episode in the CAT ROYAL ADVENTURE series plunges readers into the underbelly of London in a mission for justice. Pedro's old slave master wants him back, but his friends on Drury Lane won't give him up without a fight. Disguised as a boy, Cat enters an aristocratic boarding school and scales the heights of London society before joining a street gang to probe its depths, all to secure the freedom of her friend. Like THE DIAMOND OF DRURY LANE, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS features mysteries, theatrical spectacles, the evil Billy "Boil" Shepherd, and, of course, the irrepressible Cat, who never fails to stir up trouble and save the day wherever she goes. Coming in Spring 2009, Cat travels to Paris during the French Revolution in DEN OF THIEVES.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Claire Rosser
We missed reviewing the first in this fine series, but it would be easy for younger YA readers who love historical fiction to pick up the action in this second installment. (More books in the series have been published in the UK and are due here in the US soon.) The setting is London, 1790, and Cat is an orphan child who resides as a kind of servant in the great theatre of Drury Lane, with the finest actors in the world as her "family." She has gotten a superb education just being around such talented people and world-class drama—she is able to "do" any number of accents and disguises, for example. In this thrilling, action-filled story, Cat's friend Pedro, a gifted young actor playing Ariel in The Tempest, is in danger of being taken to Barbados by a slaver who owns him. At this time, the Abolitionists are active in trying to have slavery banned throughout the Empire, and some Abolitionists are key characters in Cat's adventures. So are friends from the nobility, and friends and supporters from the theatre. The adventures and disguises (Cat pretends to be a young gentleman for a few weeks, in Westminster School, one of England's finest boarding schools) may remind some readers of the Bloody Jack Adventures by L.A. Meyer, set in roughly the same time period. Golding succeeds in doing what is best about historical fiction: putting her readers into the past so they are able to imagine how life was then; the adventures may be exaggerated for thrills, but the horror of slavery is portrayed in realistic detail. For American readers, the slavery policies of the UK contrast sharply in some ways and yet have similarities with the history of slavery in the US. Look for the nextbooks in this series as they become available. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Admirers of Golding's The Diamond of Drury Lane, winner of the 2006 Smarties prize, will welcome another adventure of Cat Royal, the smart, nimble, red-ringleted orphan who lives in London's Drury Lane Theatre. This tale is shorter and tighter, getting off to a rousing start with Cat and talented African musician Pedro staging an impromptu rehearsal of The Tempest, dramatically interrupted by the boy's old master, wicked Kingston Hawkins, who has come to reclaim Pedro as his slave. What!? In the enlightened London of 1790? As Cat and her friends scheme and struggle to save Pedro, readers meet real-life figures like playwright-politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan and abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Granville Sharp, as well as fictional Quaker ladies, rowdy gang members, and young gentlemen at prestigious Westminster School. Cat's disguise as a schoolboy living in quarters there offers some choice bits of humor and some unexpected revelations as Cat discovers the comforts and privileges (not to mention perils) of being a boy, while also discovering the joys of learning Latin. The action bounds and rebounds through upper class mansions and lower depths, as Golding deftly defines her characters and paints a picture of late 18th century London in all its glory and horror (including a glossary of street slang). Quick-witted Cat is an engaging heroine, quite deserving of success in defeating the villains, though loathsome gang leader Billy Shepherd remains at large, challenging Cat to further encounters. These, no doubt, will be eagerly anticipated by her fans. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
VOYA - Angela Carstensen
In 1790 London, Catherine "Cat" Royal, ward of the Theater Royal, Drury Lane, and her friend Pedro Hawkins, a former slave from Africa, are rehearsing for his debut as Ariel in The Tempest. They are interrupted by Pedro's master, Kingston Hawkins, who has come to reclaim his property. Thus begins the second installment of Cat's story, which she tells as a Prologue and Five Acts after reassuring her readers that there is no need to have read the first, The Diamond of Drury Lane (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, 2008/VOYA October 2008) and offers a quick summary. Cat was left on the steps of the Theater in 1780 as an infant and has lived there ever since. She charms even the most hardened criminals with her candor, especially Billy "Boil" Shepherd, the leader of the worst Covent Garden gang. He has a twisted fascination with Cat, perhaps because she talks back. Fortunately Cat and Pedro have powerful allies, including abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Granville Sharp. When Pedro disappears and Cat flees the law after tangling with Kingston, she spends weeks disguised as a boy attending the prestigious Westminster School while the search for Pedro takes her from the Rat's Castle, an abandoned leper hospital, to the Thames in the dead of night. The London streets come alive, as do the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. Despite the youth of its narrator, this thriller will captivate teens as old as fifteen or sixteen. Cat has a zest for life, unadulterated by her encounters with the worst of the age. Every setting and character in this story is richly imagined, and readers will look forward to the next adventure. Reviewer: Angela Carstensen
School Library Journal

Gr 6-8

Readers once again find orphaned Cat backstage at Drury Lane, but she doesn't stay there for long. The slave master who owned her friend Pedro has returned to claim "his property," and Cat and her friends, who include a group of adult abolitionists, won't have it. While trying to protect him, however, Cat gets herself into trouble and must go into hiding disguised as a boy at the aristocratic Westminster School, described in the glossary as "supposedly a place of learning for young gentlemen; in truth, a den of floggers and bullies." As in The Diamond of Drury Lane (Roaring Brook, 2008), Golding spins a tale that starts with a bang. However, the quick start slows down after Cat enters the boy's school and the plot turns its focus there, and readers may be left wondering what happened to Pedro. Fortunately, our heroine finds her way back to her cause to save her friend, taking readers on an adventurous ride full of mystery, suspense, and history along the way.-Sarah O'Holla, Village Community School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews
Hang on for the wild ride of Cat Royal's second adventure, after The Diamond of Drury Lane (2008). The redheaded firebrand sees her friend Pedro scale the heights as Ariel in Mr. Sheridan's production of The Tempest, only to find that his evil former master insists Pedro is still his slave. In trying to protect Pedro, Cat finds she must leave Drury Lane and hide herself-at her friend Lord Francis's school. The somewhat-stale trope of a girl in boys' clothing gets a few charming grace notes as Cat survives a beating and finds out how much easier (and harder) boys have it. The eerily scary Billy Boil continues to slither in and out of Cat's life, and she makes him a promise she will no doubt regret keeping. As the story rockets along, Cat makes both new enemies and new and stalwart friends. Some historical figures drift through these pages, the pace is quick and engaging and the colorful evocation of 1790s London will keep readers plunging on and awaiting the next installment. (glossary) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher

“Golding weaves a fine historic tale about the antislavery battle in England in the 1790s by way of an ensemble of colorful characters, death-defying adventures, witty dialogue and narration, and lively action.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“The London streets come alive, as do the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. Despite the youth of its narrator, this thriller will captivate teens as old as fifteen or sixteen. Cat has a zest for life, unadulterated by her encounters with the worst of the age. Every setting and character in this story is richly imagined, and readers will look forward to the next adventure.” —VOYA

“Golding spins a tale that starts with a bang. . . . An adventurous ride full of mystery, suspense, and history along the way.” —School Library Journal

“The pace is quick and engaging and the colorful evocation of 1790s London will keep readers plunging on and awaiting the next installment.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Golding succeeds in doing what is best about historical fiction: putting her readers into the past so they are able to imagine how life was then.” —KLIATT

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429993494
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Series:
A Cat Royal Adventure , #2
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
827,965
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

JULIA GOLDING lives in Oxford, England.


Julia Golding is the author of more than a dozen children’s books, and she’s married with three children and lives in Oxford, England. Her continuing adventures of Cat Royal include The Diamond of Drury Lane, Cat Among the Pigeons, and Den of Thieves.

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