Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty { book review }

Thanks to a very good friend, I'm now a huge fan of G. A. Henty and R. M. Ballantine, authors from the late 1800's - early 1900's. Henty's books are sold here, and both are available on Amazon and other online book/antique stores. I can rarely find their books at Craigslist, thriftstores, and antique stores. Be sure to check out their books!

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The sacred cat of Bubastes has accidentally been slain; now young Chebron must pay for the offense with his own life, as this is the law of the Pagans in Egypt, 1250 BC. Chebron, the son of a high Egyptian priest, flees for his life taking his sister Mysa, one of the household slaves Amuba and several companions with him. They escape through closely guarded Egyptian exits only to find themselves in unfamiliar and dangerous lands inhabited by a very different culture of people. Along the way, the roving band of refugees encounters and befriends a Hebrew girl, who exposes them to very strange ideas including the worship of "one true God."

My Review:
I don't think the Goodreads review presents the book quite right. And it makes it look like they haven't met Ruth yet or heard of the Hebrew God until after they started running for their lives. Most of what that review said doesn't happen until the middle of the book.

The main character is Amuba, not Chebron.

Amuba, prince of the Rebu must join his father and people against the oncoming Egyptians - who are attacking for no reason, but to conquer.

Stories of the Egyptians might and victory do not stop them on their efforts to not be defeated. The Rebu will not give up thwir freedom without a fight. They know they have been true to their gods, and are a determined that their gods will be true to them..

But things don't turn out as Amuba foresaw. The Rebu are defeated, and he and a close friend, Jethro, are among the prisoners to be taken back as slaves.

Why the gods allowed this Amuba does not try to wonder. Their ways are too much for him. He just prays that they will not put him under a hard cruel master.

Luck, it seems is with the boy and man, for both are taken together by the high priest of Osiris - who himself isn't what it seems.

He also doubts to the gods' hands in humans' fate. And what he says and thinks cause him to have many enemies.

With war settling down, customs have more authority now. Amuba is becoming friends with the priest's son Chebron.

The two have many unanswerable questions, along with Jethro. The Hebrew girl Ruth only adds more confusion and brings more questions.

But it is the Cat of Bubastes that determines the rest of their lives, and pushes them to an ultimate decision and test- who are the real gods, or could there be just one?

Some things that stand out:

-Moses gets introduced in a chapter.

-The Egyptian culture, especially how they did their hair, and the animals they considered sacred. One thing really interesting was that if anybody killed a cat, even by accident, even a stray, the punishment was death, and there was no way out of it.

-How Henty presents the idols/god situation. He does a really good job, in my opinion, and it makes more sense to me now why pagans believed in gods

-References to Joseph.

-How he describes the Jews and the reasons the Pharaoh hated the Hebrews.

-How the boys had patriotic feelings for their own countries and cultures, yet valued life above even that.

Note on content: Appropriate for all ages, Henty's books do have violence and war, but nothing too extremely graphic. All of his books I have read have had a definite moral, were Christian, displayed History in an interesting way, and taught good values. I can not remember there ever being any cursing or swearing of any kind.

Who else has read a book by G. A. Henty?

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