on 24 April 2007
Follow Cat Royal in the third volume in this series, "in which the French Royal family flee as Cat takes her first steps as a dancing spy and witness the power of the people."
I couldn't put it down and if you've read the first two books, - The Diamond of Drury Lane and Cat Amongst the Pigeons, you just have to read this one as well.
on 23 August 2010
This is the third book in the series of books which are all told in first person by Catherine Royal, who addresses the reader directly. The book follows on chronologically from the second book where Cat tells the reader all of the events that happen to her in the summer of 1791. Unfortunately for Cat, the place where she called home - the theatre Royal in Drury Lane London is to be closed down. Cat then finds she is homeless on the streets of London with only the hopes of selling her precious manuscripts of her past trials and tribulations of boxing and fighting. Unfortunately, due to the era, women are not seen as equal to men, and the subject of Cats writing is not deemed appropriate for her gender. Therefore, Cat struggles to find anywhere that will accept her work for publishing and she ends up being tricked by the wicked Mr Tweedle and held captive as his maid, while he takes the profit of selling her work as his! It is Mr Sheridan and Frank who help her out of her predicament. It is then Mr Sheridan's offer to Cat of being a spy for him which sends Cat out of London and into Paris.
The time era of the book is set is the time of the French revolution. The main part of the story in France involves the King fleeing the country and Cat being stuck in the middle of the political scandal trying to find out what the common people think. She starts to understand the power of the people in the Kings absence and realises that the impossible may be possible. During her time in Paris, the Duke, Duchess, Lizzy and Frank are also present, as well as Pedro and Johnny. As an undercover spy acting as a ballerina, Cat along with Frank and his loyal servant Joseph, end up in the middle of the den of thieves with JF as the witty leader. Frank needs to go into hiding when his family get arrested under suspicion for aiding the Kings departure, and so he hides among the thieves and learns a lot along the way. Meanwhile Cat, with the aid of Johnny and Pedro try to get the Duke and his family released, and this is when the power of the people is realised.
During her time in France, Cat meets some shady characters, and strikes up an unusual friendship with JF the King of thieves. In this book Cat is maturing and is starting to experience feelings towards certain members of the opposite sex, namely Syd, JF, Johnny and even Billy Sheppard. These feelings confuse her in the same way as a girl her age would nowadays. Other characters she encounters are the bishop of the Notre Dame Thieves and Vestris - principle dancer at the ballet. It is by meeting all these interesting and distinctive characters that get Cat into all sorts of trouble for her to then manage to get out of, namely with the help of JF, although helping is not one of his normal characteristics. It is amazing how many times Cat faces death in this book, and yet manages to overcome it with wits or clever contacts.
This book has the same structure as the other books in the series, being set out in acts and scenes rather than chapters. There is also a prologue and an epilogue as well as a list of characters and a note to the reader at the beginning of the book. Cat suggests that you should read this book if you want to experience the delights of Paris and not just the roast beef of England. Maps of the streets of London and Paris are also included at the beginning of each act. There are also a few interludes in the book (like you may have in a play) which include Mr Tweedle's publishing of Cats work and the letters Cat writes to Mr Sheridan as a spy. Finally there is a glossary of terms at the back.
The language of this book is varied. There are elements of standard and non-standard English. In general the way Cat writes when addressing the reader is in Standard English with advanced vocabulary to reflect that she is intelligent and an aspiring writer. The dialogue used by the characters varies depending on their social class, culture or mother tongue. For example, as the story is set in France as well, some French words are included- often found in italics. There is also use of descriptive language in parts as well as similes and metaphors.
From reading this book, you gain much information about the French revolution and the impact the ordinary people can have. Themes in this book include power, trust, social class, equality, sexism, bullying, love, death, danger, stealing and much more.
on 10 January 2011
Julia Golding's Cat Royal series has been with us a while now, so I am sorry to say I'm late for the party as I have started with this, 'Den of Thieves', the third book in the series. Suffice to say, I will soon read the first two, and then the books which have come after.
With a strange mix of the top drawer and the hoi polloi of London and Paris, with the theatre as the thing which binds it and them all together, teenage orphan adopted by Drury Lane theatre folk Cat Royal is, rather suddenly cast adrift on to London's harsh unforgiving streets after her combined home and work place, the Drury Lane theatre is knocked down to make way for a brand new building. However, her homelessness is partly the fault of usually good solid friends assuming she will be ok as she usually is during hard times, and Cat's own pride which prevents her uttering, 'What about me? Where do I go?' etc.
Her penchant for writing tales based on her own experiences and those of her friends, and for good measure, enemies and others within her limited London stamping ground, may provide a glimmer of hope. She hawks her precious manuscripts around the small publishing houses to see if she can earn money from them. It is here the tale really begins, so will have to rein in the spoilers, but basically, after being ill-used by one dubious character, and threatened by another, her friends finally show the level of concern previously amiss. Not too long after, Cat is in Paris as a correspondent for theatre impresario, Mr Sheridan. Cat blunders into Paris at the worst possible time, and is soon embroiled in all sorts of fixes.
Cat is a delightful character. Wise and intelligent belying her tender years, and she is brought to you, Reader (joke there, you will see when you read the book) by genius Julia Golding, in a fantastic, jaunty yet light hearted style which makes for a great read. But, as you either already know or can guess, Cat is both a girl who can find and use the correct fork at high tables, or protest or put down her opponents with the most vile oathings from the gutter. This doesn't mean she is bad, but rather these are occasions whereby Needs Must or When in Rome.
Also, though not directly pertinent, I know from reading the Dickens' edited 'Memoirs of Grimaldi' that Georgian theatre life did see the aristocracy in close contact with theatre types, and Sheridan and Kemble from the tale, (maybe more) were very real people.
Finally, and this may depend on the edition, not sure, but this edition is presented in such a way you don't actually want to compromise the binding or crease the pages, the cover, the theatrical style presentation throughout, is a sheer delight. So a big well done to the publisher as well as the genius Julia Golding. Well done - again.
on 27 November 2008
after the closure of drury lane. cat finds herself homeless, she
goes to paris at the height of the french revoluntion, as a english
spy and a ballerina!
this book is just as good as the last and not to be missed, if your like me you might have clue what will happen in the next book. excellent and hilerious.