This is the first book in a trilogy by Alex Milway, full of plenty of different kinds of mice. I’m not a mouse lover (even though they are very cute and all that), but I still enjoy the book. So even if you hate mice, check it out. 🙂 The mice can be based on things we know (like the elephant mouse) based on the name. Others are based on natures (the Nosferatu mouse is a vampire). But the first mouse we meet in this book is dangerous, and he’s got claws. Seriously.
This guy is the Sharpclaw, one of the most dangerous mice that a collector can own. They need to be put in a special cage that their claws can’t slice to bits. And Emiline, the mousekeeper, has to chase him in mouse armor and hope that she can catch him soon. The Sharpclaw isn’t caught until after it’s freed a bunch of mice from the mousery (luckily, Emiline was able to get them all back), stowed away in the carriage of Devlin Drewshank the Privateer, and terrorized the crew of the Flying Fox. Emiline caught the Sharpclaw using the mouse armor helmet of the Flying Fox’s mousekeeper (a boy named Scratcher), and some mouse spirits to send it to sleep. When Isiah Lovelock (the famous writer of the Mousehunter’s Almanac) and his butler Spires saw her there, she thought she would have to go back to continue working as Lovelock’s mousekeeper.
Drewshank, quite famous himself for having found a couple of new mouse breeds, had told her she had the abilities of a mousehunter. And even though Spires tried to stop Emiline from going, Lovelock said that she could, because if she thought that there were better opportunities for her, he wasn’t going to prevent her from going after them. Of course… he knew they would run into trouble you see. On their way to Hamlyn, they ran into two Grak, sea monsters. Grak are made when a mouse (I think it was the long-eared one) is dropped into salt water. They almost got destroyed by the first one, but when the second one appeared they started fighting each other. Of course, everyone assumed this must be Mousebeard’s doing. He’s an infamous pirate who has mice in his beard, and it’s said that he has a better mouse collection than Lovelock (no one would say that to the man’s face of course).
Emiline had made a couple of friends on ship, the cat Chervil (who doesn’t seem to hunt mice), Scratcher, and Drewshank’s first mate. In Hamlyn she meets a man named Algernon while Drewshank meets with Lady Pettifoger (a pretty woman who got him into trouble in the past), Lovelock’s contact in Hamlyn. She is living with Lord Battersby. Drewshank and Battersby do not like each other at all. If the reason was said, I forget it. Anyway, Emiline and Scratcher meet Algernon’s three Boffin mice. That brings a question to mind: Did I already tell you about Emiline’s mouse Portly? No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Portly is her little grey mouse (grey mice are a common breed), and he knows more tricks than most. And he was her only real friend when she was Lovelock’s mousekeeper.
They set out to sea again, once again searching for Mousebeard. They find him one night, as fog descends on their ship and an eerie wailing noise can be heard. A small cloth mouse is hung on their ship, meaning that Mousebeard is going to get them. And that means that what just passed them in the fog was the Silver Shark, Mousebeard’s famous ship. Later of course, Emiline and Scratcher learn that the fog was made by a machine, and that the wailing was done by Howling Spirit mice. Anyway, they are eventually caught by Mousebeard’s crew, and find that he is very gentle with mice. And it turns out that Mousebeard isn’t the enemy. Lovelock set up Drewshank as bait for Mousebeard, he had the navy coming. Why? Because Mousebeard “stole” something from a ship called the Caroline. A mousebox with two golden mice.
There is a death penalty for stealing or possessing golden mice if you aren’t on the island you come from. And Mousebeard only took the golden mice so that they wouldn’t die when the Caroline sank. And guess what? He told Drewshank that he had planned on returning the mice to their home. He’s quite sweet sometimes. And guess what? Mousebeard has spies. I won’t name them now, I’ll leave that as a surprise. The same goes for a rather large ally of his. I’ll just say that Lovelock’s plans had it so that he’d get to “protect” the golden mice for awhile. This was really just an excuse to have them so he could secretly breed them and make Old Town powerful again.
Exploiting mice, it’s something Mousebeard is totally against. And he’s got a curse on him, being on land gives him chest pains and slowly starts killing him. I think that it’s like that for Lovelock, only, he can’t go on sea. I intend to find the sequel soon, because the book was amazing and I didn’t want to put it down (it’s like that with most books), and so of course I stayed up late finishing it. XD