The Alchymist's Cat

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The Alchymist's Cat
First edition cover
Author Robin Jarvis
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Deptford Histories
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Hodder Wayland
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 320
ISBN 0-7500-0889-X
OCLC 28800221

The Alchymist's Cat is the first book in The Deptford Histories series by Robin Jarvis. Published in 1994, the series presents a fantasy set in 1660s London. The Alchymist's Cat provides background material for Jarvis' earlier Deptford Mice series, showing the beginning of Jupiter and his family in the series.


A young boy named Will Godwin is forced to work for the evil apothecary Dr. Elias Theophratus Spittle, after he frames Will for murder.

One winter, Will finds a family of cats in a graveyard and brings them back to Spittle's home. The family consists of a mother cat, later named Imelza, and her kittens - Jupiter, Leech and Dab. He persuades Spittle, who is searching immortality and take one of the cats as a familiar spirit. Spittle chooses Jupiter, whom he trains in the magic arts. However, Spittle hates Leech, which pushes Leech to plot Jupiter's downfall.

The Bubonic plague spreads throughout London. Although Imelza and Dab escape from Spittle, Imelza is beaten to death by a mob. Will's friend Molly saves Dab from near death. When Dab returns home, Spittle kills him during an experiment. Jupiter and Leech battle over who is heir to the black arts. After Spittle creates an immortality potion, he creates the Philosopher's Stone. Later, he succumbs to the plague and dies. Jupiter uses the potion on Spittle to resurrect him. Jupiter then discovers Dab's body, so he drinks the potion himself and turns on his master, whom he kills in a fire. Leech betrays Jupiter and leaves him to die in the fire, inheriting his brother's magic powers. Leech then falls into the fire himself. It is revealed later that the cat rescued by Will is Leech. Having drunk the immortality potion, Leech convinces a rat kept by Spittle to take him to the sewers. Leech takes his brother's name and title as his own: "Jupiter, Lord of All".

The book gradually weaves both story lines together. Both the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London appear in the story.

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