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The Tygrine Cat

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Overview

Feline lovers and fantasy fans will go for this high-suspense tale of a cat with ancient powers who must save a feral clan.

Alone and lost, a young cat called Mati is struggling to be accepted by a colony of street cats in the bustling marketplace at Cressida Lock. What Mati doesn’t know is that he is the last of a vital, age-old breed and that a mysterious feline assassin named Mithos is close on his trail. With his enemy nearing, can Mati learn to harness his ancient powers — ...

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Overview

Feline lovers and fantasy fans will go for this high-suspense tale of a cat with ancient powers who must save a feral clan.

Alone and lost, a young cat called Mati is struggling to be accepted by a colony of street cats in the bustling marketplace at Cressida Lock. What Mati doesn’t know is that he is the last of a vital, age-old breed and that a mysterious feline assassin named Mithos is close on his trail. With his enemy nearing, can Mati learn to harness his ancient powers — before a deadly feline force destroys both him and his newfound friends and takes the spirit of every cat on earth?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A Stranger in the Marketplace

Over and over again, the sun wrestled the moon for dominance of the earth, a ritual dividing light from day. When Mati first became aware of this struggle, his was a floating home of shrieking gulls and furious surf. Soon the cries of the gulls faded and the ocean mellowed. Its purr was Mati's lullaby, the creaking of the ship's planks his morning chorus. Until today. On this morning, Mati awoke to unfamiliar sounds: the thumping of heavy crates being lifted onto the deck, voices barking directions, the strains and beats of an unknown song. Deep within the bowels of the ship, the engine groaned. The small ruddy-brown cat stretched for a few moments, then snapped to attention. Perhaps he had finally arrived-but where?

It seemed an eternity since Mati had first been nudged into the cargo hatch of the ship in the harbor of his old home. He recalled his mother's words: "Where the ship draws to land, there you must leave it. Until then, stay safe and don't let yourself be seen."

"And what then, Amma, what then?"

"Then, my son, you will be truly alone, free to follow your senses, to carve out a new life in a very different world. Let the three pillars be your guide."

He was only a catling, barely out of kittenhood, and memories of his life before the voyage were smudged like the ink of an old book. He had survived the long days on the ship undetected, stealing scraps. Indeed, Mati considered himself a master thief. He prided himself on his stealth. On a mission to the kitchen or the small dining room where the crew sat for meals, Mati imagined himself invisible, his narrow body hugging the dark cabin walls, dissolving into shadow. Mati had found it easy to make his way around the ship unnoticed. There were numerous gaps between crate and corridor through which a stowaway cat could scramble. He could even squat under a chair only tail lengths away from crew members, realizing that these furless giants could smell him no more than they could a ghost.

Thirst was easy to quench. Mati had soon discovered the shower cubicle, where the drizzle of a faulty showerhead ensured that he could drink his fill once the crew was up and about the ship. But one trip above deck was enough for the catling, terrified by the impossible expanse of ocean and the salty air that stiffened his whiskers and stung his eyes. His territory was the world below deck, with its satisfying odor of the crew's rubber boots, oil, and leather. On this morning, as unfamiliar sounds and smells alerted him to a change in the world, Mati froze in the cargo hatch and listened to the fading murmur of the ship's engine. Whiskers bristling with excitement, he pounced onto a ledge and out of the cargo hatch until, neck craned, he was peering into a damp autumn morning. Even in this dull light, his eyes ached as they adapted. A hazy sun was rising over looming gray buildings. Mati's lips parted and his nose crinkled. He could taste the moisture in the air and knew that the ship had finally moored in fresh water.

After weeks on the ship and remembering almost nothing from his previous life, Mati was overwhelmed by a sudden fear. This would be his first opportunity to leave the ship, but his surroundings looked so strange. He missed the real home he could hardly remember and the mother he loved. What would she have advised?

He remembered again what she had told him before withdrawing from the ship: "Where the ship draws to land, there you must leave it."

Glancing about, Mati noted that the vessel had moored at a dock, on which men were preparing a small crane to lift the cargo onto dry land. He crept toward the left side of the deck, hiding between some pipes. Nearby, a gangplank had just been laid, and Mati was about to run down it when he saw two pairs of boots rushing toward him. Oblivious to Mati, the men marched up the gangplank, dragging a trolley behind them. Mati glanced back between the pipes to find the deck now blocked by a huge crate, which crew members were fastening to the crane. "What are you doing?" demanded one of the men pulling the trolley. Mati glanced up guiltily before realizing that the question was directed at one of the crew members handling the crate.

"B-crates off first-you will find these are the rules. White cottons, in style Oxford."
"I don't care about the style. They ain't coming off that way."
"Sir, I have my instructions!"
"Just back up, back up."
"B-crates first, please."
"Back up, will you, or we'll be here all day!"
"It's on the Instructions for Carriage. I have here copy, if you like to inspect. It specifically say-"
"Listen, you're in England now, and you might like to show a bit of common sense-"
"There is absolutely no need for . . ."

Although Mati understood human chatter, he scarcely had a sense of what the men were arguing about. He was busy making furious calculations. The men had not yet noticed him hiding between the pipes, but he had better leave quickly with this argument looming above his head. He dashed under the trolley on the gangplank. From here he judged that he was quite close to land, perhaps only two or three tail lengths away if he leaped at an angle from the gangplank. After a moment's deliberation, Mati crept out from under the trolley. He drew himself together, took a deep breath, and cleared the stretch with a running jump. He landed gracelessly and scrambled away from the ship, zigzagging along the ground with lurching steps. He collapsed under a pile of plastic chairs beside the dockers' yard. Nearby, men in overalls smoked cigarettes and drank milky tea from foam cups. Mati realized that a life on the ship had taught him how to keep his balance on the shifting seas but had ill equipped him for land. It took

Children's Literature - Kathleen Isaacs
Ancient tribal rivalries among cats come down to one kitten, Mati, unaware of his status as the Tygrine heir, against the powerful Suzerain of the Sa Mau, and it is all played out as Mati attempts to find a home among the feral cats of Cressida Market. Left on shipboard by his mother, Mati ends up at Cressida Lock far from his Egyptian birthplace. The Cressida Cats are wary of strangers but an elderly tom takes him in and two kittens befriend him. Unfortunately, an assassin is not far behind. Mati's struggles for acceptance are complicated by events set in motion by the Sa Mau, intent on domination of the cat world. Readers will sympathize with the courageous kitten, applauding his ultimate success and the difficult decision he makes about his best friend Jess, whose loyalties lie with the human world. The allusions to Egyptian mythology add interest. But the world of this fantasy also involves a spirit dimension, Fiåney, that is less clearly explained, and travels there are a convenient but not quite believable device for moving the characters along. First published in England, this first novel should appeal to lovers of animal fantasies looking for somewhere to go after Erin Hunter's Warriors series. Reviewer: Kathleen Isaacs
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

Readers will immediately know that great and evil forces are at work in the world of cats when they meet catling Mati, alone aboard a merchant vessel that docks somewhere in England. His mother was the last Tygrine queen, and on Mati's young and inexperienced shoulders rests the fate of all catkind, as the powerful Sa Mau are determined to obliterate the Tygrine and rule all felines themselves. In this first novel, Iserles has created a rich history for cats, some of it based on ancient Egyptian religion and myths. The intriguing backstory is revealed as Mati attempts to integrate himself into a feral community that has its own customs and traditions-a community that is wary of strangers. As he learns more of the ancient lore, he understands his role and importance to cat society and struggles to block the malevolent ambition of the Sa Mau. Friendship, loyalty, and treachery loom large in this sweeping tale that will be appealing to readers who enjoy animal fantasy, particularly Erin Hunter's "Warriors" series (HarperCollins).-Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Catling Mati doesn't remember much of his past. He knows his Amma put him on a boat and told him to get off at the first port. He's pretty sure his homeland was drier and hotter than Cressida Lock, and he knows he doesn't look much like any of the Cressida Cats. Their leader Pangur only grudgingly lets Mati stay. He finds few friends among the feral cats in Cressida market, but stray Jess, little Domino and old Swallow like and trust Mati. Something old and evil has followed Mati from his homeland, however, and it threatens cats everywhere. Mati must rediscover the power of his Tygrine heritage and use that power to defeat Mithos the Destroyer. In his debut, British author Iserles creates an interesting and exciting cat world more mystical and less complex than Erin Hunter's lengthy Warriors series. Her cat characters are well-rounded and still quite cattish. This will satisfy equally fans of magical fantasy and action adventure. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763637989
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 447,693
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 7.91 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Inbali Iserles was inspired to write THE TYGRINE CAT, her first book, after reading about cat breeds and mythology — and imagining an ancient rivalry between two feline dynasties. She works as a lawyer in London.

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Read an Excerpt

A Stranger in the Marketplace

Over and over again, the sun wrestled the moon for dominance of the earth, a ritual dividing light from day. When Mati first became aware of this struggle, his was a floating home of shrieking gulls and furious surf. Soon the cries of the gulls faded and the ocean mellowed. Its purr was Mati's lullaby, the creaking of the ship's planks his morning chorus. Until today. On this morning, Mati awoke to unfamiliar sounds: the thumping of heavy crates being lifted onto the deck, voices barking directions, the strains and beats of an unknown song. Deep within the bowels of the ship, the engine groaned. The small ruddy-brown cat stretched for a few moments, then snapped to attention. Perhaps he had finally arrived-but where?

It seemed an eternity since Mati had first been nudged into the cargo hatch of the ship in the harbor of his old home. He recalled his mother's words: "Where the ship draws to land, there you must leave it. Until then, stay safe and don't let yourself be seen."

"And what then, Amma, what then?"

"Then, my son, you will be truly alone, free to follow your senses, to carve out a new life in a very different world. Let the three pillars be your guide."

He was only a catling, barely out of kittenhood, and memories of his life before the voyage were smudged like the ink of an old book. He had survived the long days on the ship undetected, stealing scraps. Indeed, Mati considered himself a master thief. He prided himself on his stealth. On a mission to the kitchen or the small dining room where the crew sat for meals, Mati imagined himself invisible, his narrow body hugging the dark cabin walls, dissolving into shadow. Mati had found it easy to make his way around the ship unnoticed. There were numerous gaps between crate and corridor through which a stowaway cat could scramble. He could even squat under a chair only tail lengths away from crew members, realizing that these furless giants could smell him no more than they could a ghost.

Thirst was easy to quench. Mati had soon discovered the shower cubicle, where the drizzle of a faulty showerhead ensured that he could drink his fill once the crew was up and about the ship. But one trip above deck was enough for the catling, terrified by the impossible expanse of ocean and the salty air that stiffened his whiskers and stung his eyes. His territory was the world below deck, with its satisfying odor of the crew's rubber boots, oil, and leather. On this morning, as unfamiliar sounds and smells alerted him to a change in the world, Mati froze in the cargo hatch and listened to the fading murmur of the ship's engine. Whiskers bristling with excitement, he pounced onto a ledge and out of the cargo hatch until, neck craned, he was peering into a damp autumn morning. Even in this dull light, his eyes ached as they adapted. A hazy sun was rising over looming gray buildings. Mati's lips parted and his nose crinkled. He could taste the moisture in the air and knew that the ship had finally moored in fresh water.

After weeks on the ship and remembering almost nothing from his previous life, Mati was overwhelmed by a sudden fear. This would be his first opportunity to leave the ship, but his surroundings looked so strange. He missed the real home he could hardly remember and the mother he loved. What would she have advised?

He remembered again what she had told him before withdrawing from the ship: "Where the ship draws to land, there you must leave it."

Glancing about, Mati noted that the vessel had moored at a dock, on which men were preparing a small crane to lift the cargo onto dry land. He crept toward the left side of the deck, hiding between some pipes. Nearby, a gangplank had just been laid, and Mati was about to run down it when he saw two pairs of boots rushing toward him. Oblivious to Mati, the men marched up the gangplank, dragging a trolley behind them. Mati glanced back between the pipes to find the deck now blocked by a huge crate, which crew members were fastening to the crane. "What are you doing?" demanded one of the men pulling the trolley. Mati glanced up guiltily before realizing that the question was directed at one of the crew members handling the crate.

"B-crates off first-you will find these are the rules. White cottons, in style Oxford.""I don't care about the style. They ain't coming off that way."
"Sir, I have my instructions!"
"Just back up, back up."
"B-crates first, please."
"Back up, will you, or we'll be here all day!"
"It's on the Instructions for Carriage. I have here copy, if you like to inspect. It specifically say-"
"Listen, you're in England now, and you might like to show a bit of common sense-"
"There is absolutely no need for . . ."

Although Mati understood human chatter, he scarcely had a sense of what the men were arguing about. He was busy making furious calculations. The men had not yet noticed him hiding between the pipes, but he had better leave quickly with this argument looming above his head. He dashed under the trolley on the gangplank. From here he judged that he was quite close to land, perhaps only two or three tail lengths away if he leaped at an angle from the gangplank. After a moment's deliberation, Mati crept out from under the trolley. He drew himself together, took a deep breath, and cleared the stretch with a running jump. He landed gracelessly and scrambled away from the ship, zigzagging along the ground with lurching steps. He collapsed under a pile of plastic chairs beside the dockers' yard. Nearby, men in overalls smoked cigarettes and drank milky tea from foam cups. Mati realized that a life on the ship had taught him how to keep his balance on the shifting seas but had ill equipped him for land. It took...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    I think this book should be in the Teen's section, not the Child

    I think this book should be in the Teen's section, not the Children's! As a warriors fan, I wanted a book like the series after finishing the Last Hope. This was the perfect book! Cat lovers will adore this book! Read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2010

    Info on The "Tygrine Cat"

    I got this from my high school's library 3 months ago and loved it. It is a wonderful story it has everything:adventure,history,mystery, and of course cats. I really hopr this is enough I don't like to spoil stories.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2009

    A wonderful surprise

    I got this book for Christmas and have just read it. I was totally blown away and wanted to write while it's still fresh in my mind. It's about a young cat called mati, being chased by a rival tribe of cats. Mati doesn't remember anything about his past and doesn't know about the danger closing in on him. He becomes friends with a clan of feral cats and a stray cat called Jess. In the end he has to confront his past to unlock his destiny. Totally absorbing and surprising I reccomend this book to anyone who loves action and adventure. I don't own a cat and I'm not crazy about them (like the other reviewers) but this is definitely going to make me look at cats differently. I don't usually read animal adventure but I think that's going to change after this brilliant book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2008

    best book

    I am a writer and I read a lot of books for young people, and this one is wonderful. I don't always like books from an animal perspective but the characters in The Tygrine Cat were vivid. You can identify with Mati, the main character, with his isolation and desire for friendship, and yet he is still very much a cat. In that sense, it reminded me a little of Watership Down (except for cats instead of rabbits!).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    Outstanding!

    I liked this book a lot. It was very well written, and it had a good plot. I loved everything about this book, accept the fact that it is somewhat like the Warriors series, using the term 'tail-lengths' & stuff like that. But, in a way, it is totally different. I loved how Domino & Mati looked - they were sooo cute!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    A fan

    This book is great. My mom found it online and i went to the store and got it. I instantly fell in l-o-v-e with mati. If you like cats or just a bit of adventure. Read this it's great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    outstanding!

    this is the best cat book i've read since Warriors, it tells the story of a cat called Mati who finds himself lost far away from home and has to befriend a powerful clan of feral cats, but Mati doesn't know that he is special and that a terrible enamy is following him. this is a really brilliant book and i would recommend it to Warrior readers but also anyone who loves a good book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008

    i love this book!!

    this book is very adventurous, i LOVE it, it may just be my love for cats, or the authors outstanding use of vocabulary, and the senses of the territory.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    Tis a great tale of friedship and loyalty. I couldn't put it down! Please comment more for such a great book it is!

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