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The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal) Hardcover – 2 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd (2 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405221496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405221498
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 780,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My journey to becoming an author has been a roundabout one, taking in many other careers. I grew up on the edge of Epping Forest and was that dreamy kind of child who was always writing stories. After reading English at Cambridge, I decided to find out as much as I could about the wider world so joined the Foreign Office and served in Poland. My work as a diplomat took me from the high point of town twinning in the Tatra Mountains to the low of inspecting the bottom of a Silesian coal mine.

On leaving Poland, I exchanged diplomacy for academia and took a doctorate in the literature of the English Romantic Period at Oxford. I then joined Oxfam as a lobbyist on conflict issues, campaigning at the UN and with governments to lessen the impact of conflict on civilians living in war zones - a cause about which I still feel very passionate.

Married with three children, I now live in Oxford between two rivers, surrounded by gargoyles, beautiful sandstone buildings and ancient trees.

My first novel, 'The Diamond of Drury Lane', won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2006 and the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 (formerly known as the Smarties Prize). I was also chosen by Waterstone's in 2007 as one of their 'Twenty-five authors for the future'. 'Empty Quarter' was longlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009; 'Wolf Cry' in 2010. In the US, 'Secret of the Sirens' won the honor book medal of the Green Earth Book Award.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Capturing superbly the hustle and bustle, flair and extravagance of late Eighteenth Century times in England’s renowned capital, The Diamond of Drury Lane introduces its feisty heroine with an undeniably exciting first adventure. This is historical fiction for young readers at its best--authentic, exciting and fast-moving.

Cat Royal is a veritable institution at Mr Sheridan’s famous Drury Lane theatre of ye olde London Town, circa 1790. Adopted by the owner after being mysteriously abandoned as a baby on the steps of his infamous establishment, Cat has grown up backstage amidst the glamour of the bright lights, the exotic artistes, hammy actors, melodious musicians and riotous viewing public. The performers are her family, the stagehands her closest friends.

However, Cat is growing up and she is beginning to think about what she wants to do with her life. Those thoughts take an unexpected turn when she overhears a conversation about a diamond hidden somewhere in the theatre. Her adventures begin when she tries to find the treasure. Pedro, a gifted musician who is new to the company orchestra, ably assists her. Ever present too are the political ramifications of a mischievous satirical cartoonist called Captain Sparkler, who some suspect is a very important person nearby in disguise.

The narrative traverses London and takes in the rival street gangs of Covent Garden, boxing matches, theatre riots, spectacular stage productions and several moments of drama and intrigue. Cat is so likeable as a central character, that readers will soon be caught up in her journey. That journey may only be short geographically, but she learns lots about who she is and who her real friends are. It’s great stuff. Look out for the sequel, Cat Among the Pigeons.

(Age 9 and over)--John McLay

Review

"'These books will keep readers hooked until the end' Bookseller; 'Pacy...A most engaging read' Books for Keeps; 'An eminently satisfying and delightful read' Sunday Tribune; 'Hugely enjoyable romp of a tale' School Librarian; 'A colourful, action-packed story' Publishing News 'A highly enjoyable story full of adventure, likeable character and sharp, witty dialogue' Anti-slavery magazine. 'Rip-roaring saga...thoroughly entertaining...lively and absorbing' The Times Educational Supplement; 'This is rollicking historical fiction at its best, a great read' Sunday Express"

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Book Boffin on 22 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book, and since I bought it about six months ago I've read it about four times. I would also recommend the sequels: "Cat Amoung the Pigeons", "Den of Thieves", "Cat O'Nine Tails" and "Black Heart of Jamaica" (even though Black Heart of Jamaica isn't even out yet - they're really that good).
Cat lives in the theatre. She is like everyone's mascot, she knows everyone, every inch of the theatre, nothing goes on without her finding out. You will not survive in Drury Lane if Cat doesn't take a shine to you. And she's only thirteen!
The book starts with a new member of the Drury Lane family being introduced. A former slave, Pedro is the conductor's apprentice, first class vionlinist, and as you find out in the later books a brilliant actor too. After an accident with one of the props Cat ends up dangling from the platforms above the stage. Pedro saves her life but then runs off, Cat rushes to find him (under threat of a beating) and the gang rivalry is introdued.
Showing alot of teenage confusions, thrilling action, qwerky jokes, and something alot of people can relate to in some way or other: rivalry - beit chavs and emos at school, rival schools, or rival gangs as in the book.
Set out like the Acts and Scenes of a play this book is utterly unputdownable. There should be much more books like this. Julia Golding is an artist and you have my word whether you're buying it for yourself or someone else you/they will love it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Guest on 3 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was intrigued by the cover and the unusual blurb and so bought this book knowing nothing about the author, but was so pleasantly surprised. I am well above the target age range for this book, but was thoroughly gripped by the plot, the characters and the engaging atmosphere of eighteenth century theatreland. As an English teacher I read lots of children's books and I am usually disappointed by either plot, characters or the quality of the writing. I was not disappointed by any aspects of this book. I think this is a well researched, beautifully written, witty, clever, atmospheric book. Most importantly though; this book's a real page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan on 21 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
A brilliant read. I was quickly drawn into the story and had to force myself to put it down!Cat finds herself always in sticky situations, but manages to get out of them, one way or another. There is a great plot and I would highly recommend this book for boys and girls (11+).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Redhead on 19 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
this book is defenatly one of my favourites and the series is spectacular. i first got this book in waterstones as me and my family were about to go to london to watch oliver in drury lane theatre. my mum was actully the one who found this book for me and at first i wasn't intrested but when i started reading i was completely hooked. i alsokept getting told off for being late for school when i couldn't put the book down. The story is full of likable characters and i fell in love with the story. I've now read the the book about 10 times and am still not bored of it. I would defanatly recomend this book to any age above 8. Julia Golding is now my favourite author!

p.s i read the book when i was about 7 and still love it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Black on 6 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
Smartie Gold Award winner 2006. Okay for my 9 and 10 year olds but plot slightly too complicated, would be better for older children. Many words and phrases were too advanced for my children and, I would imagine, for many children of 11 too. This restricted their enjoyment of the story. However, it conjoured up a vivid and fascinating image of London past, and brought in some interesting themes which are still very relevant today. I'd give it a PG rating (rather than a U or a 12)... several 'fingers in the ears' bits for my youngest. Good book, but wish I'd left it for a year or two.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was brilliant. I liked the bit where Pedro saved Cat in the theatre with the balloon. I think it's particularly good if you like the past - I like learning about the past so I enjoyed it. The characters were good, because they were all so different. My favourite character is Cat, because she's the hero. I especially liked the end - but I can't tell you about that because it would spoil the surprise!
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By CatR on 26 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book and have read it over and over again. I read very fast and go through a lot of books but this has always been my firm favourite. It is about Miss Royal(cat) who was abandoned outside drury lane and grew up there with lords and pickpockets and hangs around with the gangs of london. In this book you can relate to the characters and you are with them every step of the way. I could not put this book down and every time I read it I enjoy it even more. I would recommend all the other books in the series. 11+
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By Kate on 28 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My teenage girl (14) loved this book. Easy gripping read she said. She wants the next one and can't wait to read more.
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