Ratha's Creature: The First Book of the Named
by Clare Bell
What's in a name? Curious cub Ratha thinks she knows; having a Name means having intelligence and being part of the society of the Named, which has traditions and laws and rules that make survival in the world more than instinct and bloody battles. This is what she's been taught by the clan leader, Meoran, and this is what almost everybody knows -- everybody but Thakur, anyway, who is training Ratha to be a herder. He knows something more about the Un-Named, the deadliest enemies of the Named, but he's not saying.
Despite the fact that she is a she-cub, and young, Ratha's impetuosity brings her to the attention of the terrifying clan leader, clan politics, and to the attention of one of the Un-Named. And then one night when lightning strikes the dry summer woods where they live, the yearling Ratha tames the flames -- and changes everything about what the Named know, and their way of life.
Can the clan survive without change?
Will Ratha survive her exile among the Un-Named?
A fast-paced, intelligent book anthropomorphizing the progress of prehistoric cat creatures, this brings to mind Kenneth Oppel's Darkwing, with cats instead of bats, and a lot more teeth and claws.
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