Life’s already too busy for the little black wizard-cat Rhiow and the other cats of the New York City worldgating maintenance teams. The old, cramped Penn Station is being torn apart and relocated into its big new building, which means that the Penn worldgates have had to be moved too. Everyone’s nerves are in shreds, and no one’s had enough sleep for a human, let alone a Person. So when Rhiow goes staggering home to her litterbox the morning after the job’s done and finds it already occupied by another cat — who then vanishes — at first she thinks she’s hallucinating.
But she’s not. When her team is called to Los Angeles to do a minor consult after the city’s single worldgate is deranged by a string of earthquakes, Rhiow’s “hallucination” reappears bearing a dire message from the past. The messenger, a tom called Hwaith, reveals that similar earthquakes are striking Los Angeles in 1946 — indicators not only of increasing instability in the San Andreas Fault, but of something far more troubling. Something is trying to subvert the Los Angeles gate to its own purposes. “The Lone Power?” Rhiow asks. “No,” Hwaith says. “Something worse. Something from outside.“
Rhiow and her team find themselves caught up in ever-deepening peril and mystery as they make the dangerous trip back to post-war Los Angeles. Their intervention plunges them headfirst into the glitzy, murky world of 1946 Hollywood, a smoggy film-noir landscape filled with glamourous starlets, flamboyantly corrupt studio heads, wicked, pampered cats with hidden agendas, unsolved murders, snoopy screenwriters, scheming PR flacks, and a shadowy, celebrity-ridden cult dabbling in knowledge better left alone — knowledge which could destroy their world’s present and doom its future, if the dreadful promise of the Year of the Black Jaguar is fulfilled…
The Big Meow completes the “Feline Wizards” sequence begun in The Book of Night with Moon and its sequel To Visit The Queen (published in the UK as On Her Majesty’s Wizardly Service).
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