The Alchemist's Cat: The Deptford Histories - Book One

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The year is 1664 when young Will Godwin comes to London. In order to survive, he becomes an assistant to a wicked alchemist, Elias Theophratus Spittle. On an errand one freezing night, Will finds a mother cat and her three kittens, and brings the family back to his master's lab. Among the bubbling bottles and evil smelling jars of his master's apothecary shop unfolds an extraordinary tale of villainy, sorcery, and murder. The Deptford Mice trilogy witnessed the harrowing battles between the mice of Deptford and ...
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Overview

The year is 1664 when young Will Godwin comes to London. In order to survive, he becomes an assistant to a wicked alchemist, Elias Theophratus Spittle. On an errand one freezing night, Will finds a mother cat and her three kittens, and brings the family back to his master's lab. Among the bubbling bottles and evil smelling jars of his master's apothecary shop unfolds an extraordinary tale of villainy, sorcery, and murder. The Deptford Mice trilogy witnessed the harrowing battles between the mice of Deptford and Jupiter, lord of darkness and treacherous disguises. Now in this gripping prequel, Jupiter's secret history is revealed.

In 1664, Will Godwin arrives in London and, to escape punishment for a crime he didn't commit, becomes an assistant to a powerful and wicked alchemist, Elias Theophratus Spittle, but longs to flee his servitude.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" gastly revelations pile upon grisly tableaus as the plot hurtles towards a spectacular final conflagration A crackerjack creepfest." -Kirkus Reviews

"Jarvis delivers a vivid tale of treachery, cruelty, and sorcery, leavened only by the innate goodness of Will, but it's also a real page-turner that will mesmerize readers of the trilogy." -Booklist

"...Jarvis closes with an unexpected cliff-hanger that will have readers craving more books about Jupiter. Fans of this series and the Redwall audience will enjoy this book." -School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review of the series' launch title, PW called the Deptford Trilogy by Robin Jarvis "a spooky and enthralling animal fantasy just right for Redwall fans." Thomas, the third and final book of the Deptford Histories (prequels to the Deptford Trilogy), introduces the title seamouse, who is driven by a dark past to leave home for the high seas and a brighter future. Instead he is swept up in unforeseen storms and battles. The first of the Deptford Histories, The Alchemist's Cat, which chronicles how Jupiter (a "villain par excellence" according to PW) came to power, is now in paperback. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sorcery, murder, and villains make up this suspenseful tale of the Deptford Mice. Young Will's family died from smallpox and left him on his own. After being accused of a crime he did not commit, he escapes punishment by staying in an alchemist's shop run by Dr. Spittle, a nasty and cruel individual. Realizing that he has no choice but to continue to live there, Will is reminded he is no better than a dog and his life as a servant is just beginning. On one particularly cold night, Will is running an errand and comes upon a family of three kittens and a mother cat. He takes them back with him and they live among the bottles in the alchemist's shop. From there, the story takes the reader on a trek of battles, darkness, and sinister occurrences. Each page is filled with suspense and the book is very difficult to put down. This is such a gripping story that young readers will be reading with a flashlight under the covers long after they are suppose to be asleep. The story contains some horror, and both the tone and mood are dark and foreboding. If you like suspense, fantasy, magic, and aren't squeamish, then this book will be a favorite. The ending will certainly leave the reader wanting the second book in this trilogy. The author does an excellent job telling this story and I highly recommend it for those who love to read fantasy. 2004, SeaStar Books, Ages 9 to 12.
—Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-In this prequel to The Deptford Mice trilogy, Elias Theophratus Spittle, an evil alchemist, tricks Will Godwin into working as his assistant in his apothecary shop. Sent on a hideous task, Will stumbles onto a cat with three kittens in a dreary graveyard. Chilled to the bone and starving, the felines are rescued by Will and brought back to the shop. Convinced that he is in need of a familiar, Doctor Spittle agrees to let them stay. Will's act of kindness leads to a spiraling tale of sorcery, betrayal, murder, and eventually the evil rise of Jupiter, Lord of All. The book is filled with adventure, suspense, and a feeling of dread. However, parts of it move very slowly, particularly in the beginning. Still, Jarvis closes with an unexpected cliff-hanger that will have readers craving more books about Jupiter. Fans of this series and the "Redwall" audience will enjoy this book.-Christine McGinty, Newark Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The first of three prequels to the popular Deptford Mice trilogy details the dark backstory of the malevolent feline mage Jupiter. But this tale's hero (unusual for Jarvis) is human: young orphaned Will Godwin, adrift in the perilous London of 1664. On the run from a false accusation of murder, the boy falls into the clutches of the alchemist Elias Spittle. Virtually enslaved, kindhearted Will rescues a cat and her three newborn kittens, unwittingly triggering a tragic sequence of sorcery, betrayal, and violence. But the few sympathetic characters serve as little more than foils to the various villains, splendidly drawn, displaying all the hues and shades of evil. Spittle especially appears at first to be a mere caricature of vicious buffoonery; but plummeting from spite to necromancy to madness, he draws the cats inexorably into his diabolical descent. Jarvis's florid, purple-tinged prose presents London-with her filthy alleys and crime-ridden alehouses, her overgrown cemeteries and plague-haunted streets-as a major player in the unfolding disaster. Meanwhile, ghastly revelations pile upon grisly tableaus as the plot hurtles towards a spectacular final conflagration amidst London's Great Fire. A crackerjack creepfest. (Fantasy. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587172571
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Series: Deptford Mice Series , #1
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Jarvis worked in television and advertising before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. His first book, The Dark Portal, was short-listed for the 1989 Smarties Book Prize in England. Mr. Jarvis currently lives in London.
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Table of Contents

The Beginning 4
Childhood Forsaken 10
"Where Dreams and Nightmares Mingle" 24
The Apothecary 47
A Hideous Task 69
A Dragon in the Rags 84
Necromancy 113
Playing with Fire 131
Adieu 148
"Lord Have Mercy on Us" 165
The Plague Doctor 192
At the Southwarke Mission 210
The Fall of Adonis 232
The Depths of His Black Heart 248
Of Reckoning and Destiny 271
"The Blackened Beast" 297
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    Different

    The Alchamists Cat was quite different. This was the first deptford book with humans in it.If you read this book first don't get used to humans in it I found it all little hard to adapt to but Robin Jarvis did an awsome job of mixing both worlds.This book tells about Jupiter's life.For more information you can go to www.robinjarvis.com

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