Table of Contents
“WILLIAMS’ FANTASY, IN THE TRADITION OF
CAPTURES THE NUANCES AND DELIGHTS OF FELINE BEHAVIOR IN A STORY THAT SHOULD APPEAL TO BOTH FANTASY AND CAT LOVERS.”—
Trouble has cast its shadow over the whole cat community, as cats have begun vanishing mysteriously, never to be seen or heard of again. As fear and anger spread, brave young tomcat Fritti Tailchaser tries to rouse the feline clan to action. But when his own cat-friend Hushpad, she of the silky fur and long whiskers, disappears, Fritti can wait no longer. Along with an eccentric, grizzled old tomcat named Eatbugs and the over-energetic kitten Pouncequick, Fritti abandons his home territory and sets out to rescue Hushpad—a dangerous, magical mission that will take him from Firsthome and the Court of the Cat Queen to an underground citadel of horror beyond his wildest catmares!
“A wonderfully exciting quest fantasy. Fantasy fans are sure to be enthralled by this remarkable book.”
“... more than just an absorbing adventure, more than just a fanciful tale of cat lore. It is a story of self-discovery . . . Fritti faces challenges—responsibility, loyalty, and loss—that are universal. His is the story of growing up, of accepting change, of coming of age.”—
DAW BOOKS PRESENTS
THE FINEST IN IMAGINATIVE FICTION BY
THE WAR OF THE FLOWERS
MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN
THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR
STONE OF FAREWELL
TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER
CITY OF GOLDEN SHADOW
RIVER OF BLUE FIRE
MOUNTAIN OF BLACK GLASS
SEA OF SILVER LIGHT
Copyright © 1985 by Tad Williams. New Introduction © 2000 by Tad Williams.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14224-0
All Rights Reserved.
DAW Book Collectors No. 689.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
First Paperback Printing, November 1985
First Paperback Printing, Anniversary Edition, December 2000
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED U.S. PAT. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES —MARCA REGISTRADA HECHO EN U.S.A.
Lao-tzu translations reprinted with permission of the publisher, Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing. Wing-tsit Chan, trans.,
The Way of Lao-tzu
© 1963 Bobbs-Merrill.
Stevens, Wallace, from “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” reprinted by permission of the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. from
The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens.
Barker, Eric, lines from “A Troubled Sleep,” reprinted by permission of
Dacey, Philip, lines from “Villanelle for the Cat,” reprinted with permission from
Toomer, Jean, lines from “Carma” are reprinted from
by Jean Toomer by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1923 by Boni & Liveright. Copyright renewed 1951 by Jean Toomer.
Turner, W.J., lines from “India” reprinted with permission of the publisher, Sidgwick & Jackson from the volume
The Hunter and Other Poems ©
1916 by the author.
Rutledge, Archibald, lines from “Lion in the Night,” reprinted with permission of Irvine H. Rutledge from the volume
Deep River: Complete Poems of Archibald Rutledge,
copyright © 1960 R.L. Bryan Co.
Alighieri, Dante, from
by Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi. Copyright © 1954 by John Ciardi. Reprinted by arrangement with New American Library, New York, New York.
Jacobsen, Josephine, excerpt from “Bush,” from
by Josephine Jacobsen. Reprinted by permission of Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Barker, George, lines from “Elegy: Separation of Man from God,” reprinted from
The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems,
edited by Oscar Williams.© 1953 and 1961 by Oscar Williams. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, New American Library.
Archilochos: The epigraph of Chapter 29 is by Archilochos, translation by Barriss Mills. © 1975 Barriss Mills, from
The Soldier and- the Lady
by permission of Iola Mills and The Elizabeth Press.
Book of Changes.
The Richard Wilhelm translation rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes. Bollingen Series 19, Copyright 1950. © 1967. Copyright renewed 1977 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted with permission of Princeton University Press.
Kenko, Yoshida, from “Essays in Idleness,” Yoshida Kenko,
An Anthology of Japanese Lit.,
Donald Keene, editor. © 1955 by Grove Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Grove Press, Inc.
Special thanks to John Carswell, Nancy Deming-Williams, and Arthur Ross Evans for their assistance in the preparation of this book. Good dancing to them all.
Dedicated to my grandmothers,
Elizabeth D. Anderson
Elizabeth Willins Evans,
whose support has meant so much,
and to the memory of Fever,
who was a good friend,
but a better
HOW MUCH IS THAT IN CAT-YEARS?
(Some Thoughts By The Author)
It’s easier for me to remember where I was during the time I wrote
than it is for me to remember who I was. And it’s not all that easy to remember the “where” part, actually
Personal archaeology tells me that at least when I started the book—somewhere in 1981—I must still have been living in that apartment in Menlo Park, California. It was a fourplex, and one of the three neighbors sharing the building was the writer Ron Hansen, who was then teaching at Stanford. I mention it only because Ron has written several fine books, and the fact that two people who would eventually reach
The New York Times
bestseller list were living in the same fourplex amuses me. It also makes me want to track down my other two neighbors from the building and ask them where the hell their manuscripts are and why are they slacking off.
The apartment was significant for one other reason—it was the first place I ever lived with cats. I’d always been what is referred to as a “dog person,” which should mean that you scratch yourself in public and howl at the moon, but actually seems to mean that you like dogs. But my (now) ex-wife had cats, and so when we moved in together, I did too.
It took me a long time to understand the cat-human bargain. The dog-human bargain was always pretty obvious:
1. Human feeds and shelters dog.
2. Dog worships human.
3. Repeat daily.
The cat thing, however, was a bit more oblique. As far as I could tell, it seemed to go something like this:
1. Human feeds cat.
2. Cat looks at human as though cat has never seen human before.
3. Repeat daily.
Thus, I suppose it’s understandable that I began to think about cats and how they think, and after a while, how they might see the world. It became a sort of private game, inventing cat mythologies, cat folklore, clever little cat in-jokes. And for the first couple of years that I lived as a human domesticated by cats, it pretty much stayed that way—just a bit of mental knitting with which to amuse myself.
As I said at the beginning, I can remember where I was better than who I was. I was still in my horrible-jobs phase, 1 know that—I know because that phase lasted from my last year of high school until I became a full-time writer in 1990, so it covers the majority of my adult life—which included many of the kinds of occupations most notably held by people who show up on the news for firebombing a neighbor’s house. “We thought it was a little strange that he sold shoes, but he seemed like a normal guy other than that . . .”