The Pharaoh’s Cat by Maria Luisa Lang

Published: 16th May 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self Published
Pages: 182
Format: Paperback
Genre: Humour/Fantasy
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

The Pharaoh’s Cat, narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, is the story of a free-spirited, quick-witted stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly finds himself with human powers joined to his feline nature. 

The cat immediately captures the attention of the seventeen-year-old Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death, and is brought to live with him at the royal palace.
The cat also becomes friends with the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that later plague him.

He has an enemy in the Vizier—the Pharaoh’s uncle and the second most powerful man in Egypt. The Vizier hates him for himself and even more for his relationship with the Pharaoh.
The cat participates in festivities at the royal palace, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. He later accompanies the Pharaoh on a trip through his kingdom, all the while renewing the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspiring him to become a stronger leader. 

Between the cat and the Pharaoh a bond of love gradually forms which will determine Egypt’s destiny.

The Pharaoh’s Cat imaginatively blends Egyptology with comedy, drama, and even time travel–the cat and the High Priest will meet Elena, a resident of the twenty-first century and the daughter of a renowned Egyptologist. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Lang’s story is imaginative and unique, certainly quirky and a fun read. It is a sweet story filled with myth and magic and science fiction. There is time travel coupled with the mysticism of ancient Egyptian belief and practice and after you get used to the writing style and narrator you find yourself easily caught up in the story.

Told from the present tense point of view of Wrappa-Hamen, a cat, there is a strange perspective given initially which alludes to some things and describes different aspects of another based on how a cat may experience it. When Wrappa-Hamen is given human qualities by the cat goddess Bastet it expands his nature and experiences but Lang keeps his voice simple and instinctive, keeping the cat qualities while combining his new human abilities as well.

Wrappa-Hamen becomes friends and companion to the young Pharaoh and Lang explores the relationship and growing affection he has for the king. The relationship between Wrappa-Hamen and the Pharaoh is touching, and with the gifts bestowed on the cat means another element is provided, and manages to keep the story feeling genuine and not overly fanciful. The explanations provided tie in well with the Ancient Egyptian beliefs and doesn’t require too much explanation to ground it and make it feel valid.

There are many surprises in the story, not just in narrative but in the depth and complexity Lang achieves from a story that is for the most part humorous, light, and whimsical. The connection Wrappa-Hamen has with the Pharaoh, as well as the High Priest, remains wonderful and only improves. There is also a great exploration and expression of some of the roles and practices of the Pharaoh and Lang demonstrates various aspects of the ancient Egyptian culture nicely, while still keeping within the limits of a cat’s perspective.

The characters are rounded, given assessments by Wrappa-Hamen as he interacts with them which helps bring them to life, but there are only a handful of key characters that get a lot of attention. With each adventure and misadventure, the trouble that arises and the strange places Wrappa-Hamen finds himself in demonstrates another side of various characters and at times adds another side to their character.

One things that did surprise me was the ending, for a seemingly short book there is a lot packed into it and it isn’t until the end draws near do you realise how attached you’ve become to these characters. There are many ways in which Lang could have concluded Wrappa-Hamen’s story, some hinted at and others not, but I think she chose the best option. The ending is ideal, it is surprising, bittersweet, highly possible if you choose to believe it, and makes you realise things cannot always be as they were. With a sequel in the works, Lang provides a solid ending while also allowing new adventures to occur.

This is a story filled with comedy, love, hope, despair, loss, and friendship, set against the backdrop of Ancient Egypt and provides a little bit of magic alongside an inventive plot and the desires of a cat.

You can purchase The Pharaoh’s Cat via the following

Amazon

Amazon UK

 

 

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