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By rath8325 - Posted on 27 May 2009

Ratha Returns with New "Courage"

Ratha, the fire-wielding leader of the Named prehistoric cat clan, has, according to the recent VOYA review of the new Ratha's Courage, "a long and venerable history". From the now-classic hardcover Ratha's Creature (Atheneum/Margaret K. McElderry/1983) to Ratha's Challenge (MKM/MacMillan/1996), Ratha's prehistoric Miocene world fascinated readers. Throughout four books, she and the Named grew and developed.

In Ratha's Creature, she learned how to herd three-horn deer, discovered the truth about the supposedly witless UnNamed raiders, tamed her "creature", the Red Tongue (fire), and led a blazing revolt against Meoran, the short-sighted, tyrannical clan leader. In Clan Ground, she fought down the challenge to her leadership by the orange-eyed demagogue Shongshar, who tried to turn the Named into a fire-worshiping hegemony. In Ratha and Thistle-chaser, she struggled with the daughter she wounded and abandoned. In Ratha's Challenge, she led the Named in a mystifying encounter with True-of-voice and the Song-entranced mammoth-hunting cat tribe.

Now, thirteen years later, comes Ratha's Courage: The Fifth Book of the Named. Why has there been such a long gap after Challenge and why at last did I return to the series with Courage?

When Ratha sprang from the pages in 1983, she created a whirl of excitement. She captured the 1984 IRA Award, an honor "intended for newly published authors who show unusual promise in the children's and young adults' book field.  Ratha's Creature also shared; the 1984 PEN USA Award and became a Locus Magazine Award nominee. She became a regular on recommended book lists for teens and was hailed as an instant classic. CBS Storybreak not only optioned the book, but made an animated episode, which aired in 1987 (and is in clips on MySpaceTV and YouTube).

Here's my favorite scene, which was taken almost verbatim from the book. In it, Ratha first learns how to tame her "creature".

 

She and the Named were on their way to recognition and popularity, like the kind accorded the present-day Warrior Cat series.

 

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Ratha's Courage Cover

Join other Named Series fans on the Ratha Series Forum.  Hunt up information in the Fire Den, read the new Twitter creation, "Ratha's Island", or strut before the clan to introduce yourself in the Fire Dance.

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