The Mark of the Cat

~ 1st Novel in the Mark of the Cat Series by Andre Norton

(Series aka) The Cat People


Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1992 dustjacket ~

Now award-winning author Andre Norton presents an all-new novel of magic and adventure — the unforgettable story of a boy's journey of discovery from trial to triumph — that will delight longtime fans and new readers alike.
In the five queendoms, the kotti is a sacred animal, believed to possess magical powers. To young Hynkkel, the kotti Mieu is his treasured companion, his friend, his kin...until she is cruelly taken from him in a drunken rage by his violent brother, leaving Hynkkel‘s heart as barren as the deserts of his homeland.
Commanded by his father to Solo — to travel into the unknown in a test of survival—Hynkkel sets out with little more than the red-gold sandcat pendant, bestowed upon him by a woman, worn around his neck as a reminder of his loss. He begins his journey with nothing ...
But his trek will bring him to a cave where he will enter the secret world of the cat
And to a trial that will mark his destiny.


Write-up from the back of the paperback edition ~

“She remains one of the most underrated masters of science fiction and fantasy, just read The Mark of the Cat and you’ll see…” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
Andre Norton presents a brand-new novel of magic and adventure – the unforgettable story of a journey of discovery that will delight longtime fans and new readers alike…
The Mark of the Cat
The kotti is a sacred and magical anmal… but to young Hynkkel, the kotti called Mieu is more: treasured companion, friend, kin.
Then Mieu is cruelly taken from him – and Hynkkel, heartbroken, must travel into the unknown in the test of survival known as Solo. With only a red gold sandcat pendant to remind him of his loss, he begins his trek. He does not know that it will take him to the secret world of the cat…
And to a trial that will mark his destiny.
“In the latest fantasy by one of the genre’s undisputed greats… characters and cultures come to life under her expert guidance.” – Library Journal


Write-ups from fans ~

A young man who was the second son of a tribal chieftain is considered no better that a servant in his own home because of his dislike of the warrior's arts, preferring to tend to the livestock. When the oldest son kills his companion cat, he flees into the dessert, where he befriends one of the large wild Sand Cats of the region. The cat and his mate "give" the boy their oldest male cub as his companion on his wonderings. The boy hooks up with a doll-maker and her apprentice, and travels with them to the capital city of the Five Queendoms, where he is selected as one of the candidates for the position of Emperor. Thanks to his innate resourcefulness, and the assistance of the Sand Cat, he wins the throne. ~ SL

Based on Karen Kuykendall's "Outer Regions" portrayed in her paintings and her Tarot Deck. These are the adventures of Hynkkel, hated by his brother, scorned by his father and sent out into the wilderness to "solo" in a test of survival. He was sent with minimal equipment and the family never expected to see him again. His pet Kotti (house cat) was killed by his brother, and he was depressed. In the wilderness he was vulnerable to sandstorms, extreme heat Sand Cats (large mountain lion size) hordes of vicious large Rats, outlaws and rough terrain which would quickly wear out his footwear. One day he stumbles upon a wounded Sand Cat. Despite the fact that Sand Cats are considered the enemies of men, he decides to help heal the cat and he becomes blood brother to the huge Sand Cat and his mate. When Hynkkel wants to continue his journey, the Cats send their half-grown son Murri with him. They can communicate due to a cat mask amulet given to him by a mysterious Lady. They meet an old Bard, have some more adventures and the old man tells them how to find the way to civilization. Upon reaching the capitol city, they meet the lady who gave him the amulet and then the adventure really begins, leading him to an unexpected destiny. Very good read, hard to put down. The sequel, “Year of the Rat” starts the day this book ends. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ March 15, 1992

Inspired by Karen Kuykendall’s famous book of paintings, The Cat People and her equally famous tarot cards, Norton has evoked a richly drawn world of five queendoms where domestic cats are revered, huge rats hunt in vicious packs, and young humans are abandoned miles from home in a coming-of-age rite called the Solo. Hynkkel, the younger son of a high-ranking official, is ostracized by his family because he’s more comfortable with animals than practicing warfare. Only Ravinga, a doll maker with powers beyond her craft, sees his promise and gives him a pendant marked with a cat to protect him on his quest. But beneath Hynkkel’s quiet nature lies a streak of heroism, and, left alone, he risks his life to save an injured sandcat. In return for his courage, he becomes a blood brother to its pack and privy to their thoughts. Hynkkel continues on his journey homeward accompanied by Murri, his sandcat brother, drawn by a sense of fate. When the emperor dies suddenly, Hynkkel is one of five men chosen to complete the trials to become the new leader. Hynkkel’s tale is wrapped in layers of myth and detail, unfolding slowly but satisfyingly. Norton’s fans will savor it while awaiting the sure-to-be coming-sequel. — Candace Smith


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1992 by Scott Winnett in Locus #375, April
1993 by Lyn C. in SF Commentary #73/74/75


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1992) Published by ACE, HC, 0-441-52020-0, $17.95, 248pg ~ cover by Joe Burleson ~ illustration by Karen Kuykendall {Blue Paper Boards, Black Paper Spine, Cream End Papers, ISBN on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (1992) Published by Legend, TP, 0-712-65399-6, £8.99, 248pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Melvyn Grant
  • (1992) Published by Legend, HC, 0-712-65330-9, £14.99, 248pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Melvyn Grant
  • (1993) Published by Legend, PB, 0-099-98170-X, £4.99, 248pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Melvyn Grant
  • (1993) Published by ACE, PB, 0-441-51971-7, $4.99, 248pg ~ cover by Joe Burleson ~ illustration by Karen Kuykendall


Non-English Editions ~

  • (2006) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo and St. Petersburg, by Domino, 5-699-14929-5, HC, 352pg ~ translation by N.I. Nekrasov ~ cover by R. Hescox ~ Russian title Знак Кота [The Sign of the Cat] ~ Limited to 5000 copies


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1996) Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press and Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-859-49091-7, HC, 320pg ~ Russian title Знак кота [The Sign of the Cat]


    • "The Mark of the Cat" as "The Sign of the Cat" ~ translation by M. Shamray, pp. 3-280
    • "Were Wrath" As "Wrath of the Werewolf" ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev, pp. 281-318


  • (2002) Published as Fanzine (self-published), HC, 840pgs. ~ cover by M. Whelan ~ Russian title Лоренц ван Норрис [Lorenz van Norris] ~ Limited to 20 copies and not released untill March 2018 


    • "Lorenz van Norris" (cycle)
      • "The Sword is Drawn" as "Naked sword" ~ translation by V. Arzhanov & Olga Filippova, pp. 5-134
      • "Sword in Sheath" as "Sword in the sheath" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 135-268
      • "At Swords Point" as "On the edge of the sword" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 269-414
    • "Cat sign, Year of the Rat" (cycle)
      • "The Mark of the Cat" as "The Sign of the Cat" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 415-612
      • "Year of the Rat" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 613-837

View the Original contract



Open menu