Maggie, the 13-year-old daughter of an American diplomat, is living in Cairo with her parents when she begins to suspect that the cats of the city are trying to send her a message. With the guidance of Oum, a wise Muslim woman, she determines that the cat goddess Bastet needs her help to set right some terrible wrong occurring in Zagazig, the modern-day town built over the ancient site of Bastet's temple. Maggie enlists the help of Tareq, Oum's grandson, to discover that American businessman Bill Ramsey is in hiding as he plans to expand the cotton factory in Zagazig. Maggie uncovers the terrible conditions of the workers-poor Egyptian boys forcibly taken from their homes-and is able to stop Ramsey in a climax that sees thousands of cats appear at her summoning. Unfortunately, this book does not quite reach its potential. The idea of Bastet working through Maggie and the cats gets in the way of the real crux of the novel: child labor in less-developed countries. By mixing the two major themes-the fantasy element based upon Egyptian mythology and the focus on a serious issue-the impact of each one is diminished.
Amanda RaklovitsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.