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The Alchemist's Cat (The Deptford Histories #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  579 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The year is 1664 when young Will Godwin comes to London. In order to survive, he becomes an assistant to a wicked alchemist, Elias Theophratus Spittle. On an errand one freezing night, Will finds a mother cat and her three kittens, and brings the family back to his master's lab. Among the bubbling bottles and evil smelling jars of his master's apothecary shop unfolds an ex ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by Chronicle Books (first published 1989)
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Dec 21, 2008 X rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Deptford and Robin Jarvis
This book is part alternate history (or perhaps historical fiction), part anthropomorphic animal story, and part dark fantasy. Set in 1600's London, it tells the back story of Jupiter from The Deptford Mice trilogy. While I enjoyed it very much, there were a few anthropomorphic animal inconsistencies that prevented me from giving it five stars, though I might do 4 1/2 if we could. Cats having "arms" works fine in a true anthropomorphic animal story, but when humans are more prominent in the sto ...more
This is a violent and unbelievably horrific book. Example: Will is beaten to a pulp but when Molly finds him and hugs him "tightly" he doesn't even flinch...really? The characters are so miserably pathetic I was never sure who to root for (which talking, unlikable cat will we end up with since the ones we kind of liked are dispatched to grisly deaths?) Perhaps, this will be revealed in one of the sequels I do not intend to read.
The ending did just not work for me. The rest of the story was okay, but not good enough for my liking. Very dark, and not recommended for soft hearts and cat lovers.
Kat Thomas
In the Alchemist's Cat, you find yourself diving straight into 1600's London, England in any iconic British fantasy's hayday, following alongside a despicably wicked alchemist and his unwillingly young assistant, Will Godwin. This book virtually covers any European-fantasy lover's itinerary, filled with the dark magic apothecary shops, anthropology, and overly developed violence in the midst between those with magic and not. Imaginably enjoyable for any young adult interested in venturing down t ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Nix rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who have read The Dark Portal
Recommended to Nix by: Pvmom
Shelves: animals, magic, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As a Robin Jarvis fan, I dove into this book eagerly and in high anticipation of something creepy, dark, magical and engrossing. I've always been fond of the blend of horror and fantasy woven into this author's anthropomorphic tales.

The book highlights the birth and events of Jupiter's past and how the cat came to possess and know about megic. However, humans come to be the main characters of this book and in my opinion, stole the story with their woes and one character's evil deeds. For the maj
This is a scary book. I knew it was going to be more in depth compared to the Deptford Mice Trilogy, but it was terrifying at times. It amazes me how the author has given human-like mannerisms to these animals. I would use this book to teach my students how to do that with a character of their choice and have them share their stories to the class.
The most absorbing book I've ever read after the Inkheart Series! It was really catchy with the mysteries and plot twists it possessed and a sad one as well, with a touch of adventure. Don't stare there, go read it!
Emily Dybdahl
This was one of the worst books I've read. It was so weird! I love cats, but these cats were evil, or went through beatings and torture, and I just don't want to go through that mental experience again! I know this is supposed to be young adult fiction, but seeing the vengeful rivalry between two boy kitties, reading allusions and innuendos about cat romance, and the evil vendetta foreshadowed at the end....I just can't comprehend it all. I was just...very weirded out...
Karin Steel
Fantastic read for kids and adults education in a fun way
Scott Williams
Anna Green
this book really fucked me up in middle school... it's excellent, but definitely for a more serious or mature kid.
Ally Tiner
I read this book a while ago, so I'm not too fresh on details, but I know this was a good book, slow at parts, and it was unlike other cat books.
Like other cat books there meant for kids. But, this is YA (young adult), it's interesting, and its hard to pick the cat or character you like best because theres all something that is similar to you. (for me anyways..)
Nikol Likja
Not very scary or interesting as to let you surprised or with the feeling of not letting it go off your hands..I found it boring and with too many details over things i wouldn't care about...Although the topic is quite a good one.
I haven't read the Deptford Mice Trilogy yet, but I thought this book was fantastic. It was very dark but quite the page turner, I really enjoyed it and was shocked by the end. Can''t wait to read the rest of the series!
I haven't actually 'read' this book. I have never in my life not finished a book but this is so boring I dread picking it up. I advise you not to read it , but you might like it so I wouldn't listen to me if I were you.

A shallow read. The plot is jumpy and the language used is somewhat lacking. In no way did the book capture my interest, as I had to force myself to finish it. I would only recommend it to those are fans of the series.
Raven Elise
I have read a lot of books about cats, but this one tops it! It doesn't give cats unrealistically human qualities like other books, and it focuses on characters other than the cats from time to time. Just, beautiful.
I enjoyed this book, found the period of history interesting and a must for any fan of the Deptford mice. My least favourite of the three Deptford History books though, I think because this had the weakest ending
Liam Smith
The perfect way a prequel SHOULD be written. With hidden surprises, twists and lovely plot developments. Even if it's in a bit of bleak setting (it's okay, most of Jarvis' Deptford books are) it's still a good read.
the idea is good, but it is far too gruesome in my oppinion and the only likeable characters are Will and Molly.
The cats are all terrible creatures, either weak, selfish or evil.
Wonderful book about a boy who's family dies of smallpox, and he is forced to take care of his farm alone, until one of his family members sends him a convincing letter...
Jacob 706
I think that it is interesting how it shows how a rich person can end up being a servent for a scientist and also shows how London used to be like in the 1600's.
J.R. Barker
This was one of my all time favs as a child, I also spent many days combing car boot sales, charity shops, book shops e.c.t for his books.
Feb 14, 2008 Shashank rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
I love the action and fear intertwined along with the subtle expression of subservience in this book. Very well written!
Jenna (Book-Giraffe)
I just couldn't get into it like I have done with his other books. Although I might try it again, I haven't read it in years.
Edward Davies
I loved this prequel to The Deptford Mice, which manages to produce yet another fantastic twist in the tale.
omg awsome!!!!!!!!! a very beautifly macabre book!!!!!!! have read it 4 times
Excellent prequel to Dark Portal. How Jupiter came to be.
Tim Jones
The story of the evil Jupiter and how he become so evil.
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Robin Jarvis (born May 8, 1963) is a British children's novelist, who writes fantasy novels, often about anthropomorphic rodents and small mammals – especially mice – and Tudor times. A lot of his works are based in London, in and around Deptford and Greenwich where he used to live, or in Whitby.

His first novel – The Dark Portal, featuring the popular Deptford Mice – was the runner up for the Smar
More about Robin Jarvis...

Other Books in the Series

The Deptford Histories (3 books)
  • The Oaken Throne (The Deptford Histories, #2)
  • Thomas (The Deptford Histories, #3)

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