Hi, Chase again. Today I’m writing a review on George Alfred Henty’s The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt. First, I want to start off saying this book review will be a bit different from my normal reviews due to the fact that The Cat of Bubastes was written in 1888. This makes it more challenging to read and understand what the characters are saying, but if you have ever read any old books, this one should not be a problem. And, it is worth the challenge of getting used to the writing!
When Egypt conquers a faraway country, the prince Amuba, is forced to hide among the prisoners going back to Egypt. Amuba and his personal servant and friend, Jethro, wander through desert wastelands and sand for months, picking up the Egyptian language and dialect along the way. When they are chosen to be house slaves to the high priest of Osiris, their life begins to start looking better. The high priest does not treat them like slaves, rather like family members. His son becomes friends with the prince and they spend several happy years as a family. But when the priest’s son, Chebron, accidentally commits a terrible crime, worthy of death, the family must flee the raging country.
This book has a great plot, but it is long, however, once you get into the meat of the book, it’s well worth the wait. The book actually starts in a battle, and like my previous review of the book Secret of the Scribe, it also starts at a sad point for the main character Amuba. Throughout the first half of the book, you are constantly wondering why this or that little bit of random information is important. And you don’t actually figure it out until near the end of the book. Then you finally see where each piece fits in. The whole book is like that, a puzzle, and you don’t start to see a portion of the picture until about halfway through. At that point, you can’t stop saying “Oh, now I understand why they did that!“ or “Wow, so this is why they had to do that!”. By the time you have read to the middle of the book, you can not put it down!! All the events up to this point in the book all funnel into this section, with a thousand individual things all pooling at once. It’s at this stage that you’re up until three in the morning, reading until you can’t even process what you just read but you can’t put the book down (which, by the way, is exactly what I did)!
Like the first of the book, the middle is also filled with chaos, sadness, death, kidnappings, everyone being angry, basically the whole country of Egypt was in turmoil. It reminds me of modern Egypt with its riots, mobs, leadership shifts, changes and confusion. A certain very important biblical character from Egypt makes an appearance during the middle of all this chaos. You need to read the book to figure out who!
By the end of the book all the sad parts are behind you. I must admit, there is a small section that is not very eventful. But near the very end, the action picks back up and is just as visible as it was in the very beginning. Aside from that, there is also a happy ending, after the last bit of action passes. Honestly, although there is a battle near the end, I still don’t think there was enough action. I think the end was just too quick, it was too easy. Although that statement might be a little vague, it’ll make sense once you read the book. And you might not agree with me. You’ll have to read the book and let me know what YOU think and I hope after reading this review that you WILL go and read The Cat of Bubastes. When my mom first said I had to read it as a school assignment, I really hated the idea because I read mostly science fiction, and the idea of reading an old book about Egypt was NOT very appealing to me! But I have to admit I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, and I believe you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did.