It was not immediately clear when I began to read this book exactly how the title fit with the story. However, the characters brilliantly pull a reader in, until the question is revealed, “Why do Cats Have No Lord?” I believe that is the first comical twist WillmShetterly gives this very busy plot.
The opening scene sees a young female con artist escaping her noble lover with literally all the family jewels. Her horse has telekinetic talent, and one of the stolen items, a rare miststone necklace, is of great value … to a number of people.
The characters include Merry, an odd little priest and member of a secret order called the “Questers,” a handsome, quick-witted man named Catseye, whose smooth moves and eye patch identify him as the classic “mysterious stranger,” and Thraas, a barbaric simpleton for whom every spoken word is understood only in its most literal sense. These three, Liselle, and her horse, Darkwind, are chosen to find the Lord of Cats and rescue him from whatever circumstance or person has been holding him hostage.
Meanwhile, the political intrigue surrounding the strange miststone necklace, the nobleman’s lover, Queen Glynaldis and her soldiers, and a demon named Asphoriel, are only some of the factors that put the hazardous venture at risk.
The combination of four adventurers and their mishaps and misunderstandings makes for some true comedy. For example, when they come upon Smyorin, First Among Dragons, a most amusing exchange takes place between Catseye and the bored reptile as it uncovers Catseye’s true identity and reveals more information about the task that the quartet faces.
The only real weakness that I could find in Cats Have No Lord was the lack of development of the setting. The politics which are evident in the story could be detailed a bit more. But all in all, with its marvellous Hollywood-style duelling, and its consistent light banter, this is a fun pocket book.
(Ace Books, 1985)