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The Wild Road Hardcover – Nov 12 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (Nov. 12 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712678700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712678704
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,324,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When a runaway kitten named Tag meets a mysterious black cat named Majicou in his dreams, he learns he is destined for bigger things. Called by Majicou, Tag enters the Wild Road, a magical highway known only to the animals, and learns that he is needed to find the King and Queen of cats and bring them safely to Tintagel. When Tag accepts the quest, he has no idea of the long and dangerous road he's begun. Prophecy says this Queen of cats, latest in a long line of feline royalty bred by a dastardly human scientist called the Alchemist, will give birth to the Golden Cat, the key to riches and power. As if the threat of capture by the Alchemist weren't enough, Tag has his paws full just finding the Queen and protecting her from the dangers of the outside world. Fortunately, he has the help of allies like the Maine Coon cat Seaklink and scarred old veteran Mousebreath, as well as a fox named Loves A Dustbin and a crafty magpie called One For Sorrow. King's parade of animal characters is presented with a keen eye for the details of animal behavior. The cast may prove a bit too precious for general fantasy readers, but cat lovers and fans of anthropomorphic fantasies such as Tailchaser's Song are guaranteed to enjoy this London-based author's enchanting debut.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA?This book promises readers a fine fantasy, but delivers much more?an epic and emotionally powerful story of animals, humans, and the ethics of their coexistence. A frame tale relates the spiritual traditions of cats and the history of their relationship with humans. The Wild Road of the title is a dimension containing the memories of all animals that have gone before. An evil sorcerer has tortured cats for many lifetimes in a quest to harness the power of the Wild Road and now, as a modern scientist, he is on the verge of succeeding. With a masterful use of language and plotting, King gradually reveals the true identity of the sorcerer and the great humor, love, and resilience of the small creatures destined to oppose him. Descriptions of felines suffering in human hands are graphic and horrible, but true to life; this is a war. Yet readers will find comfort in the wisdom the characters gain and the joy they find in life despite the evil they must fight. Like J. R. R. Tolkien, King creates humble and ordinary beings who undergo great trials, find extraordinary courage, and fight the good fight against impossible odds. Like Richard Adams, King breathes life into a rich and varied cast of creatures who talk, yet remain true to their animal natures. For teens who have appreciated other books that evoke a greater universe than that described by consensual reality, The Wild Road should be equally well loved and remembered.?Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone who loves animals and/or is interested in history and mythology. It is an original fantasy story with a cast of adorable feline characters who, I'm warning you now, you will become very attached to. Young Tag's quest is gripping, exciting, scary and at times heartbreaking. The author clearly knows a lot about cats, both on a practical level (good descriptions of how they see, smell etc) and about their role in history. There are some lovely descriptions which are brilliantly imagined from a cat's viewpoint, and the characters are wonderfully portrayed. (By the time I had finished it, I wanted to take Sealink home!). As I mentioned earlier, you can't help but feel for the characters. Maybe this isn't the book for the more faint-hearted animal lovers as some of the descriptions might prove to be a bit upsetting. But overall, The Wild Road is a beautifully written, involving book which you won't forget. Also, it will change the way you look at the relationship between cats and humans. Quite simply the best book I've ever read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First: this is less fun than reading cats as imagined by Paul Gallico and Robert Westall. Where those two authors' cats always stand firmly in relation to the human world, the people in this world are shadowy figures, either "dulls" (kitten Tag's name for his owners) or menacing. Oh, there are a few decent people who appear from time to time, but this story is a hero-quest in which animals and people coexist but are not really codependent.
Second: you'll never look at your cats quite the same way again. While I have not been tempted to reread THE WILD ROAD yet, and it's been a year, it's extraordinary how many of Tag's observations and impressions occur to me on a regular basis.
Result? Nobody who loves cats should miss this book.
Warning: some of the book is a little hard to take-- one of the things Tag is called upon to do, by the magic cat Majicou, is rescue cats who are being captured for experimentation, and there are some pitiful animals who've been through some of it already. Also, it's very hard to resist constantly "translating" the myth into human terms. (minor spoiler: it turns out there IS a rather famous alchemist/scientist who is the villain-- with a touch of real tragedy much of his animal-abuse stems from his fascination with his pet and desire to follow the "wild road" that only cats traveln on-- but, even when this scientist acquires his famous name-- hint-- gravity-- it doesn't really illuminate very much).
Resist the urge to translate, if you can. Situating the events with times and places is interesting, but not as interesting as all that.
There are lots of in-jokes for cat lovers and breeders.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read "The Golden Cat" BEFORE I read "The Wild Road" and even though reading "Wild Road" cleared up all my questions from the second book, "Golden Cat" was the better-written of the two novels. It's as if King found his balance in the second book.
However, I must say that the concepts raised are disturbing, and the symbolism of the "green fire" mentioned in various parts is vague. The book is often very sad, with the images of animal experimentation, and it would be nice to balance the story by having some decent humans in it. The Magicou has selected Tag, and although Magicou is impatient with the young cat not "catching on" to what he is teaching him, I can relate to Tag's bewilderment because the teaching's aren't at all well-presented. Cy is a great character, as well as Mousebreath, and Sealink definitely comes into her own in the second volume. Good, strong characters and dialogue carry the story in spite of the obtuse plot of what the Alchemist hopes to achieve.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very enjoyable, pleasurable, yet philosophical read that you will want to put down from time to time to take it all in. A great amount of description nudges, catlike, the narrative along,with spectacular lyrical writing and many active verbs. It surprised me to see one of my co-reviewers describe the style as a passive/preponderance of wases. Sentences like "A shaggy-coated pony stood, one leg bent, in a muddy corner, looking boredly over a gray wooden gate." (p 254) or "Clouds roared past the moon." (p 301) hauntingly insinuate themselves as turning points in the story, as if the wild roads themselves embody a heretofore undiscovered sense of cat story-stelling. The hero beings, mostly furry feline, one just furry, one a bird, each have a distinct personality and a complicated and enlightened (enlightening!) sense of self. Humans, rarely present, don't come off so well. Tag, the naive lead hero, is a fun, optimistic, energetic and playful APPRENTICE of the mysterious master cat guardian of the wild roads, Majicou. My one reservation would be that having finished the book and enjoyed it tremendously (in spite of some of the graphic gore which was necessary to the story) it will be a long while before I attempt the sequel or anything of the same subgenre like Tailchaser's song or Watership Down. I especially want to read Golden Cat and Watership Down, but this is so saturated with senses of 'furry beast, 'spiritual enlightenment and honesty,' and 'the grim tortures of reality,' that I will need to take quite a break from this sort of thing. And this is my first one. And naturally if this is derivative, I wouldn't know it because I haven't read those others, but I certainly doubt it. It's a very rich, satisfying and sweet read, but I'm full.
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