Sebastian is a word-loving feline whose barn mates include a depressed rooster, a speed demon thoroughbred and their twelve-year old human Deidre. When a boy lures them into a pre-industrial world where all creatures speak the same language, Sebastian learns that a Sorceress and her followers desperately need his black cat skills to help fight a usurping General. When Deidre is captured, Sebastian must find his inner hero and rescue her while fighting the urge to eat the mouse army. Their many adventures culminate in a grueling, booby-trapped horse race, which they must win in order to return his companions safely home.
Liz Nealon, Great Dog Literary
Sebastian, a black cat, is content to earn his keep catching mice and riding through the woods with his companions – a 12 year old human named Deidre, her ex-race horse and a depressed rooster. Everything changes when a boy on a white horse kidnaps him into a pre-industrial world and his friends follow in hot pursuit.
In this new world, all creatures speak the same language thanks to a benevolent Sorceress who believes in the Oneness of all beings. Sebastian, ever a witty kitty, loves speaking his mind, but this world is too dangerous for Deidre. A General has overthrown the Sorceress and murdered all the black cats leaving her without a helper. Her followers live in exile in the mountains guarded by bears and raccoons but always on the run. While empathetic to these troubles, Sebastian rejects the request by the boy Otter and the Sorceress to become the new helper. He only wants to get his companions safely home, until the General’s soldiers raid their camp and capture Deidre and Henry the rooster. Desperate to rescue them, Sebastian joins forces with the Sorceress and her rebels despite being reluctant to embrace her ways of Uniwasa – universal harmony. He also must listen to the Sorceress talking in his head now that he is her official helper. He travels with Otter into the heart of General Towne to hook up with the Cat Resistance who has a lead on Henry the Rooster’s whereabouts. Guided by the Sorceress, Sebastian announces himself to the General at the rooster-fighting arena and successfully gets thrown into the dungeons. With the help of a brave inchworm and mouse army, they execute a daring rescue of Deidre and other resistance members.
But the General foils their escape, surrounding them in the town square. Their fate seems sealed when Deidre’s horse Winny challenges the General, saying she and Otter’s horse Magnus can beat him and his team in his infamous eight-legged horse race – where two horses are tied together by a string and run a steeplechase-style race. The General accepts the challenge, agreeing to release them if they win. But everyone knows the General cheats and they are banned from the field until race time. Sebastian and the resistance animals must find and disarm booby traps while the race is in progress. It’s a grueling dash for their freedom by Deidre, Otter, Winny and Magnus galloping in perfect unison. Avoiding traps and clearing every obstacle, the two teams are neck and neck in the final stretch when the General pulls a pistol out to stop them but it gets knocked out of his hand. The companions win, but the General reneges on his promise to let them go. This angers the town folk, giving them the courage to stand up to him. Their bravery grants the Sorceress enough power to magically return and remind the town of Uniwasa and the fact they don’t have to live in fear of a tyrant. The town rises against the soldiers allowing Sebastian and friends time to escape. The Sorceress reopens the portal home and the companions return safely to their barn. Just as Sebastian is curling up to sleep, he hears the Sorceress say “Hello.”