Talking cats, a missing princess, swordfights with villains, and secret identities combine in this epic tale of bravery and self-discovery on the high seas.
Duncan is very smart. He also has a most unusual gift. So why does his mother encourage him to be perfectly average and insist he only get mediocre grades ? His special talent is the ability to talk to cats—but Duncan longs more than anything for academic success. When Duncan rebels and gets a perfect test score, people start taking notice of him. And it turns out that some of those people may not have the best intentions . . . not by a long shot.
A boy who has been taught to hide his true potential is thrust into extraordinary circumstances when he gains the wrong sort of attention. Eleven-year-old Duncan McKay, who learned to speak the language of cats at an early age, is frustrated by his mother's insistence that he hold himself back at school and avoid any sort of notoriety. In a moment of weakness, he confides in the famous Earl of Merrick and ends up shanghaied onto the Earl's ship as a new crew member. There, Duncan learns that his absent father was notorious traitor Duke Charles and that the ambitious Earl wants to dispose of Duncan. After Duncan goes overboard, he discovers a helpful tiger, a missing princess, and a secret that turns his world upside-down. Jonell (The Secret of Zoom) offers an adventurous, swashbuckling tale, albeit one with a few too many predictable elements and a somewhat convoluted plot. Younger readers will love Duncan's kitten companion, Fia, and the majestic tiger Brig, but the Earl's eating habits will appall just about everyone. Ages 8 14.