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Customer Review

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.
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