I had this book read to me by my mother when I was seven, and fell in love with it... an enduring affair it seems, as I have just finished reading it. to my own seven-year-old son. He was even compelled to leave his xbox and stop slaughtering Orcs , to beg for a nightly chapter of the adventures of the not-quite-all-there goatherd, Muffler, in the world of night.The nightworld is configured in the same fashion as our own, but more mysterious, elemental, and enchanting. Cats are twice their usual size, with powers of magic some of us have always suspected they possessed. Nicholas Stuart Gray was a renowned children's writer, child actor,and playwright. His style combines sinuous story-telling with seductive wit, making the dialogue a joy to read, unlike the often leaden exchanges of fantasy fiction. Old themes are explored, the sense of being different, the yearning to belong but not conform, and , most poignantly, the pain of loss, of abandonment, separation, ageiing and death..I haven't made it sound all THAT jolly yet , have I? There is even a ring of power, and a sorcerer who, if not exactly evil, displays a fine temper and a nasty turn of phrase. Above all, this is a funny book, displaying a feline wit. The characters are gloriously drawn, and outrageous. A camp , damp ghost called Heliotrope, ineptly materialising and scaring itself silly, assorted talking horses and other friendly beasts, and the cool, glamorous Grimbold himself, the sleek ringmaster of this nocturnal circus, make this book a deep delight for the imaginative of all ages.