Catacombs: A Tale of the Barque Cats Paperback – Jan 10 2012
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“Written with gentle humor and a genuine understanding of the feline species, this welcome addition to a new series will appeal to cat lovers and fans of McCaffrey and Scarborough.”—Library Journal
“[A] space adventure featuring super-smart cats . . . Readers of all ages will be entertained as the barque cats explore strange new worlds.”—Publishers Weekly
“The cats and their observations of humans are hilarious.”—SF Crowsnest
About the Author
Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Award–winning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern novels, is one of science fiction’s most popular authors. She lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, winner of the Nebula Award for her novel The Healer’s War, is the author of numerous fantasy novels. She has co-authored eleven other novels with Anne McCaffrey. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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A plague leads to the government order to destroy those considered the carriers, which brings unwanted focus on the Barque Cats. Pshaw-Ra opens up a mousehole to carry the Barque cats and their Cat Persons on the starship Ranzo to Mau where he plans to breed the newcomers with his felines; the offspring will rule the universe. However, he finds problems at home with daughter Nefure claiming the throne while his other daughter Renpet fleeing into the catacombs beneath the Mauan desert. Pshaw-Ra is a target of scorn while something dormant for almost as old as the universe has awakened with a thirst for the light starting with cats for breakfast.
This is a fun feline frolic as the Barque Cats and their Cat Persons try to save the universe from the Mau residents. Faster than the speed of light, readers will enjoy the escapades on Mau although wonder why everyone especially the off-worlders seem emotionally detached from Pshaw-Ro's scheme. Still this is an entertaining human-feline outer space thriller (see Catalyst).
I've been a McCaffrey fan since reading a Pern short story, "Weyr Search", years before any of the books came out. I've loved everything she has written, both science fiction and romance, except for this and all but the first of the Acorna series. I stopped buying the Acorna books after the second one, and as I indicated above, won't buy any more of the Barque Cat series.
Some of McCaffrey's collaborations have been great - the Planet Pirates books, for instance, and they introduced me to Elizabeth Moon and Jody Lynn Nye, authors I might not have discovered otherwise. This one, though, leaves me cold.
Looking at a list of her books, it appears that most of the ones I just can't get through are collaborations with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, so perhaps my criterion should be "If Scarborough is the co-author, don't bother"?
One that immediately comes to mind is where the Grand Vizier, Pshaw-Ra is teaching the kittens to control gravity so as to make themselves heavier or lighter. This shows great insight and experience with the joys of living with one or more cats. I'm sure we can all recall instances when cats could move as light as a feather and others when they could seem as heavy as lead. The latter being the case when one may be lying down and your beloved cat decides to walk across you and each step weighs down upon your body as if the cat weighed 80 pounds.
This is definitely one of those books you'll have problems with if you can't accept the premises established by the authors. If you're willing to cut them some slack and just go with the flow I believe cat lovers will find enough reminders of their experiences with well loved cats to make the book worthwhile reading.
The story line is very interesting and for any cat-lover this book is a purfect read! But even for non-cat people it is a sublime story that should be found on every book shelve.
I hope there will be a third book in this series in the same vane.