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Ratha's Creature: The First Book of the Named Paperback – March 2, 2011


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Ratha's Creature: The First Book of the Named + Clan Ground (Named) + Ratha and Thistle-Chaser (Named)
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Product Details

  • Series: Named
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Imaginator Press (March 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936917017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936917013
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...the setting is richly realized, characters have vitality and credibility both as felines and as intelligent beings, and the theme of rebellion cum advancement is brilliantly developed, making this a powerful, moving, and memorable story that will draw readers right in and hold them to the final page. (Starred Review) --Booklist

Powerfully written, the reader is immediately enveloped in a vividly recreated past world that could have easily be happening now or in the future.... Despite the turbulence of life around her, Ratha is portrayed with such sensitivity that her very fears, thoughts, frustrations and anxieties are humanly comprehensible. --Language Arts

Customer Reviews

I genuinely feel the loss of one character in particular...sigh.
Chip's Challenge
I read this story when I was a kid, and am enjoying it just as much now that I am older.
Over The Rainbow
They were the first books I read where after I read them, I cried.
Nicole Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Shanshad VINE VOICE on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are plenty of cat stories out there in the publishing universe. I can honestly say I've never read any cat story that's quite like the work of Clare Bell. Don't look for cuddly bright eyed kittens here! Part Clan of the Cave Bear, part Jungle Book, Clare's prehistoric feline fantasy takes us into the world of a clan of sentient cats called the Named and one spirited yearling named Ratha. Back in print after many years, these works are back on the shelf and in the hands of eager readers again.

This first book is Ratha's story, her journey in discovering her own strength as she changes roles from herder, to rebel, exile and heroine. When a spirited Ratha discovers ways to handle the fire that so terrifies her people, she doesn't realize that her actions will lead to exile, and a loss of all she's ever known. As Ratha is forced to grow up and struggle through hardship to find her way, she must learn what road to travel, despite the price she pays to walk it. When the Clan who exiled her is threatened with being destroyed, she must decide if she will be the key to their survival against the attacks of the Unnamed.

Reading this again after so many years I was pleasantly surprised to find this book has lost none of its impact and strength. Ms. Bell has created a harsh prehistoric world that her cat clan lives in. This is not a land of magic or easy choices. Each choice leads to inevitable consequences, even when it may be the right choice to make. The author's deft handling of her characters allows for readers to suspend their disbelief and really visualize this band of sentient cats that herd animals for food.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Beth Hanson on May 5, 2002
Format: Library Binding
Ratha's Creature gets you interested in just who these characters are right from the start, and the plot carries you through the growth and maturation and eventual "awakening" of Ratha, and her heartbreak at the cubs she birthed being without the gift that her clan prizes in its members.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Now a college senior, I still look for the "Ratha" books in every bookstore I enter. The emotions and relationships are very real, while the plot is exciting. I love Bell's cat-books. Wish still in print.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Emily J. Morris VINE VOICE on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am a cat person. I happen to believe that all cat people would enjoy this book, given they like a good infusion of adventure. Clare Bell brilliantly reimagines a prehistory where sentient cats are suggested as being the top species and a cat called Ratha dares to experiment fire. The writing here is top-notch and vivid with description that never gets too flowery. These are cats, but they are not cute and cuddly--think cousins of the saber-toothed cats. Bell gives their characters a wonderful blend of humanity and pure cat instinct. I don't know if I would consider this children's literature, but rather something anyone could read. Wonderful pick for any lover of fantasy adventure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Maurer on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After discovering I am going to be part of the Cybil Book Judge Panel for MG SFF I decided that I needed to take care of a few books prior to this reading challenge taking place. One of the books I wanted to read was Ratha's Creature which is the first book in The Named series. The premise of the book is quite simple, but the storyline is far from simple. There are prehistoric cats divided up into two tribes so to speak - The Named and Un-Named. The Named are a tribe that has developed a system to herd animals and keep for food. The tribe trains cats to be herders and keep the tribe alive. Females are typically not allowed to be trained under the cruel leadership of their leader named Meoran. The main character/cat is Ratha who is a female that is an exception to the rule when her teacher Thakur promised great things from her. On top of training the cats and herding their herds they also have to be on watch from the Un-Named who are constantly trying to raid and kill their food supply.

Ratha comes across a discovery that throws everything in disarray. A forest fire occurs and she learns how to use fire as a tool. However, after a very intense scene she is banned from the clan and sent out on her own to survive. The problem is that she has only been trained to herd so hunting is not her forte. The whole element of survival comes into play in the animal world. Everything she has been taught in her tribe is flipped upside down and the story takes off and never slows down.

I will admit that at first I thought it was cheesy that these cats could herd animals and some could speak. However, those thoughts quickly went away and I found myself absorbed in the story line.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am an avid reader of anthropomorphic fantasy, including Erin Hunter's Warriors series, which focuses on multiple clans of wild cats battling for survival in the modern day. When I heard about the re-release of the Named series, which now includes Ratha's Creature, Clan Ground, Ratha and Thistle-chaser, Ratha's Challenge, and the long-awaited fifth book, Ratha's Courage, I eagerly purchased the first book.
Clare Bell's "Books of the Named" tell the story of a prehistoric clan of wild cats based off of modern cheetahs and pumas who have developed human-level intelligence and self-awareness, which they utilize to herd large herbivorous mammals for food. However, the clan's herds are frequently raided by the savage cats of the Un-Named, most which are not intelligent enough to understand anything other than the hunting instinct and the will to survive. This book focuses mainly on Ratha, a young clan female, who discovers what she calls the "Red Tongue", or fire. Believing it to be the perfect defense against the raiders, she brings it to the tyrannical clan leader, Meoran, only to be exiled from clan ground for her free thinking. Beyond the safety of the Named, Ratha finds peril, friendship, and ultimately a tragedy that will scar her forever.
From the moment I began Ratha's Creature, I was intrigued by the compelling plot and complex characters. Ratha herself is stubborn, headstrong, rash, and yet ultimately endearing, and her adventures bring a brisk, thrilling pace to the plot. Despite the anthropomorphic qualties of these prehistoric cats, I was surprised to find them entirely palpable; their human-like charactersitics do not overshadow their animal instincts, which only deepen the characters and make them all tyhe more enthralling.
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More About the Author

Born in England in 1952, I moved to the US with my family in 1957. I worked in oceanography, electrical engineering, test equipment design and mechanical engineering before I wrote my first book, Ratha's Creature (Atheneum-Argo Margaret K .McElderry 1983) , the story of a prehistoric wildcat who learns to tame fire.

Since then I have continued to write fantasy and science fiction for children and adults. I continue to be fascinated by big cats, as showcased in Tomorrow's Sphinx (cheetahs in Tutanhkmen's Eygypt) and Jaguar Princess (were-jaguars in Aztec and Olmec Mexico).

My stories tend to show sociological themes as well, exploring the changes that are brought about in culture through technology. I also enjoy creating plausible and workable alien critters ( the aronan fliers in People of the Sky). The central theme of my fiction is evolution, having been influenced early by the works of C.S. Lewis, Olaf Stapledon , and Arthur C. Clarke.

I have degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering, biology and chemistry and have continued working in technical areas in addition to writing fiction. I became involved in building and designing electric vehicles and spent a year in Norway working on a production EV. I have also participated in electric vehicle racing in the Arizona Public Service Company-sponsored Solar and Electrics competitions, held from 1991 to 1998. My electric Porsche 914, known by her racing number, 13, was a well-known competitor in these races. I was also involved with the Women's Electric Racing and Educational Team (WE'RE-IT) when we raced the Porsche and our converted race-Rabbit, #6 Hop-along.

After moving to a remote site in California's coastal mountains, I and my partner put together our own solar and wind systems and experimented with a power-generating waterwheel. A naturalized citizen of the US, I now live with my partner-become-husband, Chuck Piper, in the hills west of Patterson, California.

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