The Catswold Portal

The Catswold Portal

by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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A striking new reissue of an epic fantasy by popular Harper author Shirley Rousseau Murphy, featuring a princess's dangerous quest to reclaim her throne...and, of course, cats!

There is a door in an artist's garden: an elaborate carved passageway into a realm ruled by a dark sorceress queen. There entities strange and wondrous roam the Netherworld––yet none as astonishing as the shape–shifting Catswold...

Raised by the oldwitch Mag, Melissa discovers a perilous secret. She has more than one form––human girl and magical cat––and once inhabited two worlds. And it is her destiny to return to a mystic realm of wonder and terror, to do battle for her people's liberation and the crown that is rightfully hers.

A man beset by tragedy, painter Braden West is intrigued by the calico cat who has charmed her way into his studio. But his "guest" is more than she seems, and Braden's very existence will be radically altered as he follows Melissa from the Hell Pit into the dread perils of an evil ruling court, thrust into the heart of a magical conflict with more at stake than he could possibly have imagined.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060765408
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/25/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 495,419
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the author of twenty mysteries in the Joe Grey series, for which she has won the Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion nine years running, and has received ten national Cat Writers’ Association Awards for best novel of the year. She is also a noted children’s book author, and has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards. She lives in Carmel, California, where she serves as full-time household help to two demanding feline ladies.

Read an Excerpt

The Catswold Portal

By Murphy, Shirley Rousseau


ISBN: 0060765402

Chapter One

He ran pounding through the forest, his tennis shoes snapping dry branches as he stretched out in a long lope. Running eased the tightness, the tension. He was tall and lean, dark haired. Dodging between the broad trunks of redwood trees he headed uphill toward the mountain, swerving past deadfalls, trampling ferns that stroked his bare legs like animal paws. Strange thought, Alice's kind of thought, animal paws. He shivered, but not from the cold. It was dusk; Alice would be cleaning up, putting away her paints, washing her brushes, thinking about dinner, wondering whether to go out or open something. She wouldn't speak to him while he was still working, would go out to the kitchen and stand looking in the freezer.

She would have done those things. Had done them, once. The pain ran with him, he couldn't shake it, couldn't leave it alone.

Months after the funeral he had started to heal, to mend, the hurting began to dull, some feeling returning besides rage and grief. But now suddenly his pain was raw again, the last few days were as if her death had just happened, her body in the wrecked car ... He swerved away from the ravine and ran steeply up between boulders, but at the foot of Mount Tamalpais he turned back. It was dark now within the forest, though the sky above the giant redwoods still held light. He ran downhill again for a long way before lights began to flicker between thetrees from isolated houses braving the forest gloom. The chill air held the smoke of fireplaces and he could smell early suppers cooking. Alice would be saying, Let's just get a hamburger, I don't feel like cooking, don't feel like getting dressed. She'd fix herself a drink, go to shower off the smell of inks and fixative, slip on a clean pair of jeans. His breath caught, seeing her body wet from the shower, little droplets on her breasts, her long pale hair beaded with water.

He was in sight of the village now; it stretched away below him, the last light of evening clinging along the street and to the roofs of the shops. He could hear a radio somewhere ahead, and the swish of cars on the damp macadam, then suddenly the streetlights burst on all at once. His feet crushed fallen branches then he hit the sidewalk and an explosion of speed took him past the library, the building's tall windows reflecting car lights against the books. He could smell frying hamburgers from the Creek, and farther on something Italian from Anthea's. He swerved past villagers closing up shop, and each looked up at him. "Hey, Brade!" "Evening, Braden." He dodged the first Greyhound commuters returning from the city. "Hey there, West." "Nice night for running." He nodded, raised a hand, and pounded on past. His long body reflected running distortions in the shop windows. Crossing the dead-end lane to the garden where his studio stood among other houses, he glanced up the hill toward Sam's Bar that stood at the edge of the forest, thought of stopping for a beer, but then went on.

He cooled down on the veranda, poured himself a bourbon. Pulling off his tennis shoes, sitting sprawled in the campaign chair, he stared up at the tangled garden that began at his terrace and climbed the hill above him; a communal garden shared by the six houses that circled it. It was a pleasant, informal stretch of bushes and flowers and dwarf trees creating a small jungle. Two of the three houses above were dark. The lights in the center house went off as he watched, and his neighbor came out, her dark skin hardly visible against the falling night, her white dress a bright signal. She crossed the garden to the lane with long, easy strides, waving to him. "Evening, Brade," her voice rich as velvet. He lifted a hand, smiling, watched her slide into her convertible and turn at the dead end beside Sam's, drive slowly down the lane and into the traffic of the busier road, heading for the city. But when a cat cried on the terraces above, he shivered, unsteady again. He could see its eyes reflected for an instant, then it was gone.

As he rose to go in, he felt for a split second the warmth of anticipation. His eager mood burst suddenly: Alice wasn't there. Alice was dead. The loneliness hit him like a blow, and he turned back and poured another whiskey.

Evening was the worst. They had liked to sit on the terrace after a day's work, unwinding, watching the garden darken, watching the stars come spilling above the redwood forest that crowned the hill above the upper houses. In the evenings they had shared little things, random thoughts, coming together in a new way after working all day side by side in the studio, seldom talking, just being near each other. In the evenings Alice came alive in a different way from her deeply concentrating, working self, as if the night stirred a wild streak in her. Sometimes she would rise from the terrace and, carrying her drink, would walk up the garden to stand looking at the tool shed door.

And now suddenly Alice's death hit him as if it had just happened -- his frenzy as he tore at the jammed car door, as he beat at the window. Alice lay twisted inside, her hair tangled in the steering wheel, blood running down her face. The rescue squad tried to cut the door away with gas torches, but he had fought them, crazy with fear that they'd burn her ... Continues...

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Catswold Portal 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a late addition to the Joe Grey fan club. Over the past month and a half I have devoured ( much the way Joe would deal with a plate of salmon mousse ) the entire Cat series. It was a delightful experience. I wasn't sure what to expect from " The Catswold Portal " , but reading it after the series was perfect. This book tied up a lot of loose ends for me. It is a rousing fantasy/adventure that truly shows Mrs. Murphy's talents.
McDr More than 1 year ago
The beginning!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely marvelous! I totally enjoy reading it. Melissa and Braden are awesome characters. There is so much adventure in this book, it's amazing! I totally enjoy the romance between Melissa and Braden. It's absolutely an exciting book! All of the characters are cool,except for Siddonie,of course. But that's okay! There's always every one else! The ending is awesome. It's really quite a story! Everyone should read it.
AngelaG86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young woman with the ability to turn herself into a cat finds away to go between her world and ours, while trying to recover her memory to find who she is, and why she is so important to the war being fought in her world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
utdelilah More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books. Charming, exciting and magical. Hard to put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interestin and fast paced
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic for everyone that loves fairy tales, fantasy, romance, or cats. Its as beautiful as it is original and heartwarming.