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The author incorporates the legend of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of cats, into the story and waves a masterful tale. Bastet is featured in many stories and myths in the Egyptian Mythology. During ancient times domestic cats were regarded in Egypt as manifestations of the goddess Bastet, and as such were afforded a burial which included mummification. Such is also the story of the cat featured in this book with some subtle changes.
The story kicks off with the legend of the aged Egyptian Pharaoh Ramethus whom upon his deathbed, in his grand palace near the ancient city of Thebes, tells of a vision he had about his beloved cat Harlis. According to the legend the cat was granted nine lives for serving his master well and saving his child from harm. Furthermore, Basted herself granted our cat nine times ninety lives to watch over and assist kids in distress. If succeeded, the cat will win a heavenly reward. The cat isn't bound by time or space, or so the legend goes.
Time passes by and the plot moves forward into the present time Denver, Massachusetts, which is set on the unholy ground of the ancient Salem Village. The year is 1952, but the city isn't in any rush to embark modern times and it clings into its horrifying past. Thirteen generations has passed since the infamous "Salem Witch Hunts" of the 1690's, but the modern Salem Village is still affected from bygone dark times. The brutal witch hanging is foreshadowing the preset. It seemed the city will never live down its past, at least till two boys enter the picture.
This is the story of two boys of twelve, Timmy Tallent and Charlie Connors, who find themselves stuck in the middle of a conspiracy they will be lucky to get out from with the lives intact. Timmy and his family (his parents and a baby brother) live in a farm outside the city proper. Mr. Tallent is a history professor teaching at the nearby Clifton College. Charlie lives with his mom in the city proper. The two friends are dissimilar in character, but it doesn't affect their friendship. Timmy is responsible and serious, while Charlie is more rash and careless. Their differences balance each other.
One sultry summer evening, red head Charlie comes for a sleep over at Timmy's home. The boys plan to sleep over in the tree house at the back of the house. A strange black cat makes his first appearance at that point. He defends Timmy's brother from an evil deed and gets banished for his efforts. While the boys are up in the tree, something is afoot at the nearby forest. Evil winds are about and all hell is about to break loose. Timmy hears strange sounds outside and he and his friend sneak into the forest nearby to investigate the source of the chanting. They enter into the dark and dreadful forest and witness an odd sight. Hooded robbed People are standing around an altar, chanting and planning a blood curling sacrifice of a young girl in order to avenge wrongs of times past. Only the two boys bear witness to the planned evil. The wheels of the conspiracy are set in motion and the game is deadly. It is up to the boys and to one charmed cat to put a stop to the evil scheme.
Creepy atmosphere, Ancient Egyptian lore, good vs. evil, two brave boys and one mystic cat are only some of the Ingredients in this harrowing tale. The author uses the literary device of a story within a story. The story of the Salem is integrated into the present day story of Timmy and charley, by the way of diary entries written by a girl from those dark times. Thus it serves to illuminate the present and bring into the light a shadowy past.
The author deserves kudos for this intriguing tale. The unexpected writing set it apart and made it a truly amazing book. The author can sure keep the pace of the story up and the secrets that are revealed are exciting indeed. The dark atmosphere was well sketched and convincing to boot. The prose is so acerbic, the words jump out of the page and make the story comes to life. The descriptions of the Salem trials were well done and succeeded to bring to life the atmosphere of the period. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat while reading some scenes. Although the story has some chilling scenes, they aren't that scary and the end is breath taking. The author certainly knows how to enchant his audience. The book gears toward the young adult audience, but will appeal to adults as well. I found the book a brilliant read. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it as a great read!
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