THE WILD ROAD


THE WILD ROAD

About THE WILD ROAD

About Gabriel King

The Author's Cats

Wild Roads Discovered

Praise for the Book

Cat Fantasy Contest

Reader Reviews

Reviews by Cats


DEL REY BOOKS



Order The Wild Road

Hardcover: 0-345-42302-X, $24.95
Paperback: 0-345-42303-8, $6.99

READER REVIEWS

We asked for ten readers who wanted an advance reader's copy of The Wild Road to read and review. We got many, many requests, and randomly picked ten reader-reviewers. Their reviews are coming in by e-mail now, and will be added to this site as they arrive for others to read.

John Vernon, jevernon@postoffice.ptd.net:

I have to admit that I volunteered to be a part of the pre-publication review and comment process for The Wild Road by Gabriel King on a whim. I do not often read fantasy. My tastes normally run toward hard science fiction. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this book.

As a longtime companion to cats I must say that Gabriel King has captured the essence of cat behavior. The behavior and actions of the cats in the story will be very familiar to those who keep cats as companions. Particularly striking is a description of the world from the cats' eye-level. The author does a superb job of putting into words what every cat owner is sure his cat must be thinking.

The author has created cat characters that quickly captured and held my interest. I quickly came to care what happened to Tag, Cy, the King and Queen, and the others. The addition of the fox and the magpie to the cat characters is a nice touch. The concept of "wild roads" is brilliant. The story is finely crafted with many twists and turns in the plot. Only slowly do we learn about what the wild roads are and about the evil Alchemist who must be fought.

This is one of those books you start reading a little reluctantly, not knowing quite what to expect. Almost immediately, however, you get caught up in the story and you can't put it down. Every cat lover who reads it will be thinking to himself "I had a cat like . . ." several times as they follow the story.

The author's command of the English language is impressive. I found myself stopping several times to admire the beauty of the prose.

All in all, a compelling, enchanting, beautifully told tale. I have already recommended it to family and friends. In the epilogue, the author appears to leave the door open for a sequel. Let's hope so.


Susan Jones, sjones@monroe.lib.mi.us:

Thank you for the opportunity to read a really good book.

The first thing I noticed was Mr King's ability to paint a picture of the scenes, action, and characters with a minimum of words. All through the book I was able to "see," "hear," and "feel" what was happening and where. (Wish I could do that!)

The Wild Road has captured the essence of cats perfectly. Their independence, their individuality, the ability to seem to appear from nowhere (my cats do that to me often). Some of the characters even reminded me of my own cats or cats I've known.

The story has humor, adventure, mystery, compassion, a history lesson, and lots of memorable characters. There's just enough reality to make the more supernatural parts of the story believable. There is never a dull moment in the story. The action moves seemlessly from one phase to the next, always carrying you forward. The way the cats interacted with each other and the dialog reminded me of Alan Dean Foster's characters Jon Tom and Mudge. The independence of the characters brought to mind Andre Norton's The New Breed.

This is a book for all ages. Anyone who loves cats should read this book. And by the way, it's just my opinion, but The Wild Road would make a great movie. Animated, of course.


Michele Ward, mward@fast.net:

First of all, thanks very much for the chance to be an advance reader. I've really enjoyed the experience.

Gabriel King's The Wild Road is an extremely well-written tale. The writing is brilliant; precise, vivid, elegant prose. The characters are mostly very well-developed, even though I would have enjoyed reading more about Majicou. Cy was a delight throughout, and Pertelot makes me want to locate an Egyptian Mau breeder immediately!

The story was compelling throughout, though parts were brutal for an animal-lover to get through. Mr. King's description of Tag's transformation from a cherished housecat into an independent adventurer was particularly heart-rending; in fact, it made me run for my three cats to make sure none had escaped! While the story seemed a little too convenient at times, it was very enjoyable and made a very satisfying read.I look forward to reading more by Gabriel King; his writing is absolutely not to be missed.


Valerie Milewski, VMilewski@omm.com:

Gabriel King's The Wild Road will definitely be a favorite of Furry Fans. Humans are almost entirely secondary characters in this story, and that's good for this story. The central characters have a quest; this gives you an indicator as to how the story will run, as they will either complete it or not. One of the things that I liked best about the storyline is that for the first two-thirds of the book, the reader only knows what the main hero knows, so there's no "no, don't go there, you idiot!" from the reader to the characters. After that, when the characters split into separate groups and are followed separately, there are no tricks of "intuition" telling one group how another is doing--only hope.

There are definite, distinct personalities for the characters, and Mr. King is heavily descriptive of their surroundings. For the most part this works well, as Mr. King excels at description, but occasionally the reader must wade through the landscape to get to the characters. I felt for each of the characters at different times, and watched their development throughout the story with great interest. Mr. King does a wonderful job with his characters, showing their full range of emotion with deft strokes.

Mr. King also has well-drawn, accurate, and interesting historical perspective in the "Stories From The ... Life of Cats" interspersed in the book. However, there did not seem to be any logic in the placement of these sections.

On the whole, I greatly enjoyed the story and will look for Mr. King's work in the future. The ending was distinctly satisfying, and I did not feel let-down or disappointed; this tells me that Mr. King has chosen the right profession, showing both talent and skill in his writing.

Thank you for choosing me to read this book. It was an enjoyable adventure!


C. Woody Butler, Cwbutler@cebec.com:

The Wild Road was much better than I expected. When I first started reading it seemed like your standard "Young kid goes on a quest and saves the world" book, only with cats. Admittedly I've read a number of books like that and I've liked them to various degrees and also I have four cats and I like them to various degrees, but after a while you start getting that "been there, done that" feeling.

Fortunately The Wild Road quickly shattered that "déjà vu" feeling I was having and started winning me over. I don't know much about Gabriel King, but one thing I do know is that this person has spent some serious time with cats. The book starts out with the lead character as a kitten being bought from the pet store and takes him from kittendom to catdom and his interactions with people and the animals in the house. The animals do speak (it's pretty much a must for a book telling the story of the rescuing of the King and Queen of cats, after all) but they stay in character as well. If you've ever owned a cat you'll see your cat in this story.

The lead cat in the story, Tag, is the apprentice to Majicou, who's something like Merlin in the King Arthur legends. Majicou needs someone to find the King and Queen of cats and bring them to their place of power, and has chosen Tag to be his apprentice--but he can't spend any time preparing Tag for his quest. He can only pass on a few words of wisdom and the name of the place to take the King and Queen. Majicou also has several non-cat followers who he pledges to send to Tag to assist him.

Tag is opposed in his quest by what might best be discribed as an evil cat breeder, known as The Alchemist. The Alchemist has been breeding cats since ancient times so that he could control the "wild roads" and the power within them.

One of the things I liked best about this was the mid-story. This is still a coming-of-age book but deeper than just coming of age, it's more a coming-of-maturity book. As in most books of this type, Tag gathers members of his quest as he goes along, including the King and Queen. At one point The Alchemist splits up the group into three or four subgroups that go through their own maturation processes, gaining self-knowledge and growing into their roles. Some of the members die during the quest as well, either doing good deeds or at the hands of The Alchemist. I found the interplay and paralleling of the groups the most entertaining and interesting, especially as they interact with humans and other cats.

I enjoyed this book very much--I'd recommend it to anybody who likes fantasy or cats or both. Gabriel King writes very well and his cats feel very cat-like, even within the roles they take on as the book progresses.


Peggy Gregory:

Gabriel King has an excellent way with the written word; his descriptions are akin to painting, drawing the mind's eye to the beauty or the horror he wants us to "see." Early in the book, we read how a soap bubble has "strange, slippery colors" and that it "blundered without a care..." Wonderful! I particularly enjoyed the story from the point at which Tag's group splintered into smaller groups. The action seemed to pick up considerably from that point and everything drew back together nicely at Tintagel Point.

I liked the from-a-cat's-point-of-view similes ("the stars wheeled overhead, as sharp as claw marks in a velvet sky" and "the water, green and lucent as a cat's eye") and wished that King had used more of those and fewer similes that come from a human point of view.

A couple of points--would a cat really think of his side teeth as "carnassial"? Or would a cat of Tag's limited experience recognize Japanese architecture? Better, perhaps, to have had Sealink, a more traveled cat, point out the buildings as such.

If I may point out what seems to me a glaring error (though it's probably been corrected already): how does the deaf cat, Cottonreel, know that the two "Orientals" in the van had said anything about being made into gloves, yet not hear Ragnar's question about the vicarage?

Overall, an enjoyable experience. I look forward to reading more of Gabriel King's work.


Becki Rosenstock:

I did enjoy The Wild Road for the most part. I thought the authors did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life, and especially from a feline view. I could certainly see my own three cats in parts of the story. I've even discovered a "road" that runs across my kitchen table.

I did not especially care for the portions of the book dealing with the experimentation on the animals and I thought there were parts dealing with it that were overlong.

The only other thing I had real trouble with was trying to "place" the story--I wavered between England and the U.S. for the first parts of the book. I finally realized it was England, but it was confusing.

I too had the feeling that there could be another story about Tag and Cy; I hope that it would be of happier times. If so, I would definitely want to read it.


Read the Prologue and Chapter One