The cat has 9 lives

Homunculus and the Cat

by

Nathan Croft

A NetGalley Review

This author has been steeped in legends, myths and folklore and has used all their knowledge to astound the reader with the breadth of disciplines involved n this story.

I thought I was quite widely read about fantasy and folklore, myths etc and all the afterlifes and hells – after all I had researched Greek myths for one book review, and I had read the series of books about Hell. But the references here baffled me and thus I had to bookmark page after page of things to work out what they were – which of course meant that I couldn’t understand the story as these items were quite crucial to the story-line. And if I was baffled in lots of places, then without being too egotistic, I suspect a large numbers of readers, except those in a very closely knit community of fantasists would be also. This greatly limits the audience for this book and means that I would initially have given it 1 star.

The average reader would either have to continue reading only understanding a part of what was read; or stop and look things up, which greatly interrupts the story.

However, for those people familiar with all these myths, folklore, fantasy worlds, there may well be a 2 or even a 3 star ranking available. I just couldn’t tell. I was not the intended audience it seems. PS, there is a wonderful page on Wikipedia which lists legendary creatures or myth, folklore and fairytales by classification.

So here are the items that I didn’t know about but needed to – and what I found out about them. But don’t take my word that I got it all right as I looked these things up after reading the book, and thus they are not in context.

  1. Orichalcam: a metal mentioned in the story of Atlantis as per the Critias of Plato. It is magenta coloured. Interestingly, some was recovered in January 2015 in a ship that sank 2,600 years ago off Sicily. In the ship, the ingots were found to be an alloy of copper and zinc and small amounts of nickel andiron. The question arise then as to whether this really was oricahum?
  2. Chakram: a throwing disk originating in India. Can be boomerang in type.
  3. Hekatonkheire: a giant god of storms and hurricanes in the Geek myths. 100 hands. There were 3 of them according to this myth, brothers of the Elder Cyclops and Elder Titans and offspring of Gaia and Uranus.
  4. Ennedi: is a plateau in Chad, Africa, reputedly to have a living sabertooth tiger.
  5. Czerno bog: no such bog. However, Czerno is a village within Poland. It is very small with a population of around
  6. Rod: I have no idea here but it could refer to the Rod of Asclepius or staff, which is associated with medicine and healing.
  7. Sun Wukong: a warrior magician in the form of a monkey, hatched from a stone egg according to Chinese myths – not an afterlife place.
  8. Marduk: He was a late generation god from Mesopotamia and patron deity of Bablyon city. He was later considerd to be head of the Babylonian pantheon of gods
  9. Inanna: again old Babylonian. The Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and warfare.
  10. Turritella: medium sized sea snails with tightly coiled shells, looking like a cone.
  11. Atargatis: she was the chief goddess of northern Syria – fertility but also responsible for protection and well-being. Sometime described as a mermaid- goddess but this may be an incorrect / mis-identification of the shrine. But fish were sacred to her. As were doves, as fish were symbolic of the fertility and life of the sea.
  12. Shikome: see number 17 below.
  13. Annwyn: was the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruld by Arawn or Gwyn ap Nudd – a world of delights and eternal youth and health and food.
  14. Fusang: Chinese entity or mythological mulberry tree of life or a mysterious land to the East
  15. Cynnamolgus or should it be Cynomolgus: a crab-eating macaque; or the mythical Aritotle’s cinnamon eating bird which were giant birds. Their eat or made their nests from cinnamon sticks.
  16. Hippogriff: front quarters of an eagle and the hindquarters of a horse.
  17. Yomotsu-shikome: aka ‘ugly woman of the underworld’ in Japanese, was a hag sent by Izanami to pursue her living husband for shaming her. There may be 8 such hags. Japanese mythology combines the Shinto pantheon with several kami or gods.
  18. Yomotsu-hisame: an alternative spelling for the hags of Yomi
  19. Yomi: being an underworld of Japanese mythology
  20. Izamagi: seems to be incorrectly spelled – should be Izanagi? A deity born of the 7 divine generations in Japanese mythology – ‘the male who invites’. The first male to be born and who create the world with his sister Izanami.
  21. Manticore: Persian myth aka ‘man-eater’. Also in Greek myths as a creature of multiple parts – lion, humans, scorpion tail.
  22. Stheno: a gorgon sister of Medusa and Euryale – see 23. Eldest of the sisters and parents being Phorcys and Ceto.
  23. Euryale: see 22.
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