Den of Thieves

Written by Julia Golding
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley Ella McNulty (aged 13)

London, Paris, 1791. In this, the third of Cat Royal’s adventures, Cat finds herself homeless and penniless when the Drury Lane theatre closes. And she has another problem. Her old enemy, Billy Shepherd, has called in a debt: either she gets him one of the crown jewels to add to his collection (he is going up in the world), or she remains in his power. Cat desperately needs to get out of London.

She is rescued by her friend Frank who is about to join his family in Paris. The Bastille, the hated symbol of autocratic power, has fallen. King Louis XVI is still, if shakily, on his throne, and the people are demanding their rights. Mr Sheridan, owner of the theatre but also a M.P., wants to know what’s going on and will pay Cat to keep him informed. It’s just what Cat needs.

But they arrive in Paris at a bad time. The king and queen have just fled and Frank, an aristocrat, is suspected of helping them. The mood of the mob is volatile and could easily turn ugly. Frank and Cat are taken prisoner by Jean-François (J-F), King of Thieves of the Palais Royale. J-F has sworn to protect them but his rival Ibrahim, the ruthless ‘Bishop’ of the Nôtre Dame thieves, has his eye on the reward offered for Cat. Have her letters to Sheridan been intercepted? Things are looking bad.

This gripping story has an action-packed plot and would make a terrific introduction to the French Revolution. The author captures the mixture of excitement, fear and uncertainty of the period. The old order is crumbling, but a power vacuum can be dangerous. The Revolutionary Tribunal and the guillotine are waiting in the wings…

Boys and girls of 10 plus should enjoy it.


Wow! The third Cat Royal adventure does not disappoint. Cat is cast out of the Theatre Royal, journeys to Paris in the middle of the revolution, mixes with seedy characters, gets into tight spots, and there is always the lurking threat of her number one enemy, Billy Shepherd. I found this book very readable and fast paced, with lots of surprises and of course, mystery (although the mystery is a bit too obvious, I thought, ah well). The French Revolution is described in a very interesting way because we learn how people feel about what’s happening to them. The plot goes off in lots of different directions and I found I always wanted to read on. The characters are funny and interesting with lot of the original characters reappearing as well as some new people. I would really recommend this book.