This is too good to be left just as a children’s book! Extremely funny and brilliantly written. Robin Price has taken the events of Roman history focusing around the time of Emperors Tiberious, Caligula and Claudius and turned it into something fascinating. Rome AD 36 is when the feline empire rules the world. Spartapuss is a ginger cat and a slave to Clawdius. He is responsible for managing Rome’s finest bath and spa.
Life is comfortable; at least until Catligula (the most spoilt kitten in Rome) comes to dine. First Catligula is accidentally poisoned by shellfish that are a bit off – and then in the vomitarium Catligula sees scurrilous verses about him. Someone has to pay and Spartapuss is the immediate target. Arrested, Spartapuss ends up in a school for gladiators with the task of fighting and winning his freedom in the Arena. Inevitably that task is not easy. Set to train as a Net – cat or Fraidipuss, he discovers the main way they can survive is by running. Food however is good and weight can take its toll! Talk of possible pardons and attempts by friends to rescue him add to the tension.
The eventual games of Purrcury are irresistable reading – very hard to put down as you compulsively read while laughing steadily especially when Catligula takes to the ring. And what of Spartapuss – does he escape? Read it and find out!
The style is very idiosyncratic with lots of talk of going to bed on a cushion, inspecting tails for damage. It is written in diary format from Spartapuss’s point of view and works really well. The language is not too complex for children, yet will challenge at the same time. It will appeal to anyone who loves history, cats and/or a good story!