The Alchemist's Cat (The Alchymist's Cat in the original British version) is the first book in The Deptford Histories series by Robin Jarvis. It was published in 1991. It is a fantasy book set in 1660s London and provides background material for Jarvis' earlier Deptford Mice series. The book shows the beginning of Jupiter and his family.

Plot summary

Will Godwin, a young boy, is forced to work for the evil apothecary Dr. Elias Theophrastus Spittle after Spittle frames him for a murder. Following a close call, he finds a family of cats in a graveyard and brings them back to Spittle's home. The mother cat, as it seems, is named Imelza. But the father is nowhere in sight. Soon after, Will persuades Spittle, who is searching for a way to become immortal, to take one of them as a familiar. The kittens are thereafter named Jupiter, Dab and Leech. Jupiter is trained in the magic arts, while his brother Leech is despised by Spittle. Envious, Leech begins to plot the downfall of his brother, Jupiter. The plague spreads through London, and many people die. Imelza and Dab escape from Spittle, but Imelza is beaten to death by a mob and Dab almost dies but is saved by Maggy, a plague doctor and friend of Will's. Dab returns home and is soon killed by Spittle for his experiments, leaving Jupiter and Leech alone to battle over who is heir to the black arts. Spittle, after creating a potion that dyes things orange, manages to formulate the Philosopher's Stone, but contracts the Plague and dies, forcing Jupiter to use the potion on him to resurrect him. Jupiter, upon discovering Dab's body, drinks the potion himself and turns on his master and kills him by starting a fire. Leech betrays Jupiter and leaves him to burn, inheriting his brother's magic powers in the process, but falls into the fire himself. Will manages to recover one cat, burnt unrecognizably but later revealed to be Leech. Leech, having drunk both the immortality potion and orange dye, convinces a rat that Spittle had kept to take him into the sewers and takes his brother's name and title as his own, "Jupiter, Lord of All".

The book gradually weaves both storylines together. The Great Plague and the Great Fire of London occur during the course of the story.


This book has been announced as being adapted into a movie, with the script being written by Richard Carpenter. [1]

Another movie, an Anime, is being made unofficially and in hope of approval, with a script by Susannah M. Saenz. It will be released by Wildcat Productions.

External links


  1. "Greetings!". Retrieved 25 January 2008. 

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