Fleabag and the Fire Cat, by Beth Webb, is the second book in a fantasy adventure trilogy aimed at 7-11 year olds. It opens two years after the close of the first book in the series (reviewed here), with Gemma installed in the royal palace at Harflorum but not enjoying her new life. Unbeknownst to her there are forces of evil gathering, infecting her mind with doubts. It soon becomes clear that the safety of the realm is once more in her hands.
In this adventure our heroes must take to the high seas and we are introduced to a new ally, Marcus, captain of Prince Thomas of Beulothin’s flagship. Along with Rowanne, now Princess of Erbwenneth, they set out to rescue their beleaguered Fire Wielder.
And then of course there is Fleabag, as incorrigible as ever. In the two years since we last met he has been busy eating, napping and siring kittens. Although he has kept their wondrousness to himself we soon learn that he is no longer the only talking cat in the kingdom.
One of his offspring, Cleo, joins her father illicitly when he leaves the palace with Gemma for a well earned, but ill conceived, holiday. When things go wrong Cleo befriends Captain Marcus and is taken on board his vessel as the ship’s cat. She helps to smuggle Fleabag when the humans threaten to leave him behind.
As the crew battle the elements to reach Gemma, she is struggling with her own problems. A powerful wizard has invaded her mind, intent on taking the power of the ring fire for himself.
The plot moves along at a cracking pace with non stop action and ever present danger. Fleabag worries about his lack of sufficient breakfasts and naps, determined to help Gemma that she may return to important tasks such as scratching his tummy and offering relief from his fleas.
The dramatic denouement is marvelously written, with home made armour, dragons and a hoard of angry islanders under the wizard’s evil spell. There are lessons to be learned about keeping secrets; poignancy in the dark wizard’s dungeon; but it is the courage and humour that shine through this tale.
If your children enjoy reading of magic, adventure, action and cats then do introduce them to Fleabag. This reworked edition has new illustrations throughout which add to the visual appeal. Young readers are in for a treat.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the author.