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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  709 Ratings  ·  37 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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Nov 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having had a quick look at some of these reviews, I think I must have been a very strange child. Reviewers talk about it being 'horrifically dark', while this was one of my favourite books at around the age of 11, which I read again and again (along with its sequels). As a result, it's one of those books that still conjures the feelings and imagery of a unique world, perhaps 15 years later. I am now a library manager and am disappointed that we don't seem to have any Robin Jarvis on our shelves. ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Kat Thomas
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Emily Dybdahl
Jan 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-literature
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...
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenage-fiction
Set in 1600 England, a The Alchymist's Cat is the story behind the rise of Jupiter from the Deptford Mice Trilogy. It combines both anthropomorphic and human characters. Personally, although it was reasonably well written, I did not find any of the characters believable or appealing. There were too many minor inconsistencies.
Ally Tiner
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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..)
Raven Elise
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Mehmet Palabiyikoglu
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Sandra Dallaris
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book back when I was in primary and I must say that it was a believable read for a young mind, but then you still know that it won't happen in real life but then have that mind soar that your imagination just grew...
loved it, loved it, loved it.. :)
Liam Smith
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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!
Aug 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: male-authors, 2012
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.

Jacob 706
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Green
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
this book really fucked me up in middle school... it's excellent, but definitely for a more serious or mature kid.
Scott Williams
Jenna (collectorof-words)
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.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
omg awsome!!!!!!!!! a very beautifly macabre book!!!!!!! have read it 4 times
Edward Davies
I loved this prequel to The Deptford Mice, which manages to produce yet another fantastic twist in the tale.
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good book. So many plot twists!
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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...
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.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent prequel to Dark Portal. How Jupiter came to be.
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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)