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The Sands of Time


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Fresh from his first adventure (Time Stops for No Mouse), Hermux Tantamoq, watchmaker, amateur sleuth and intrepid mouse about town, finds himself drawn into another intrigue when his artist friend Mirrin Stentrill's exhibit of cat paintings incites a riot. Long presumed to be mythical creatures by the urbane small rodent population of Pinchester, cats are a taboo subject. No one knows that better than Mirrin's old chipmunk flame, Birch Tentintrotter, who was run out of town decades ago when he deciphered an ancient map to the kingdom of cats. He reappears unexpectedly with another old scroll, and mouse history may never be the same. "We're going to discover once and for all if cats actually existed or this has just been a horrible hoax," Mirrin determines. Soon they are off, with the odious playboy scholar (and revisionist historian) Hinkum Stepfitchler III and his fiance, hilariously self-serving cosmetics millionaire Tucka Mertslin, on their collective tails. Birch, Hermux and the mouse of his dreams the lovely aviatrix Linka Perflinger race to find the ancient tomb of Ka-Narsh-Pah, and its cat-and-mouse secrets. Hoeye's galloping plot, evocative descriptions ("The papyrus was the bleached yellow of September hay") and exuberantly sophisticated wit ("Tucka was happy. She loved rich people. They were so much fun. They were so full of life. And they had so much money!") keep the pages rapidly turning. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 5-8-Mouse watchmaker Hermux Tantamoq returns in this sequel to Time Stops for No Mouse (Putnam, 2002). He teams up with a chipmunk to investigate an ancient Cat Kingdom, and the friends uncover evidence suggesting that felines once kept mice as slaves. Their work pits them against a highly regarded scholar with evil designs, a greedy but beautiful cosmetics tycoon, and a "mouse supremacist group." With hidden tombs, dynamite traps, and last-second escapes, the plot moves quickly. The melodramatic moments are nicely tempered by a lighthearted tone and subtle wit, and the "racism" of mice and the notion that the past should be studied even if it's unpleasant are thought provoking. The mouse-ruled world is easy and fun to slip into, with charming details about food, pets, and fashion, and other assorted topics revealed with dry humor. The tentative romance between Hermux and Linka, the daring mouse aviatrix, progresses significantly by the time this tale concludes. The watchmaker is an endearing hero. His modest, unassuming manner doesn't quite hide his courage and cleverness, recalling Bernard of Margery Sharp's The Rescuers (Little, Brown, 1959; o.p.) and E. B. White's protagonist from Stuart Little (HarperCollins, 1945). Supporting characters are distinct and amusing, particularly Tucka Mertslin, the cosmetics queen. The 80 short chapters move briskly and have a satisfying conclusion that clearly paves the way for future adventures.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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