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Publisher's Summary

Plagues kill in more ways than one.

Merliss is no ordinary cat. She's far more. She's a young girl's spirit trapped in a cat's body. While the magic that banished her has snatched away her human speech, it has given her a life spanning millennia. For centuries she has lived with the cunning folk, assisting their efforts to heal the sick and ward off malevolent creatures. Now, a bleeding sickness has thrown the community into chaos.

The cunning man and his apprentice are in danger from the disease. The life Merliss has worked so long to build is in jeopardy. Before she entered the cat, she had trained to be a shaman. Do her centuries of experience hold a secret to a cure? But disease isn't her only nemesis.

A pair of malevolent creatures move into the neighborhood, threatening more havoc. Merliss and her cunning partners face more challenges than they can handle. But the greatest threat to Merliss' survival may be the ignorance of terrified people looking for a scapegoat.

The Great Contagion is epic fantasy from a cat's eye view. A prequel to Cat Sidhe, The Great Contagion is a stand-alone installment in The Merliss Tales series.

Prowl with Merliss now.

©2019 Jeff Chapman (P)2020 Jeff Chapman

What listeners say about The Great Contagion

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book and part of The Merliss tale

The Great Contagion is part of the Merliss tales. Excellent Book! Never judge a book simply by a title. This book is fantastic! The story isn’t centered around sickness. It’s about a young magician stuck for centuries in a cats body. When you have cats you have mischief! I ran across this book while I was listening to Cat Sidhe which Sidhe is pronounced “She.” They are both fantastic books but please listen to this one first to get a good feel of the Characters personalities. I hear there are more books in the works! I can’t wait!

1 person found this helpful

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What a great story

I really enjoyed this story. The perilous travels of Meriless the cat. She encountered monsters, killers, friends & danger. All the while just wanting to help. Helping is hard when your a cat. But not when you are a magic cat. I reccomendl this book if you like magical adventures & cats of course.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A magical cat amid games of the old gods

Merliss is an ancient shaman cast into the body of a cat centuries ago. She made an oath as a shaman to protect her people, and she carries that oath forward as a magical cat. To do it, she allies with other magical creatures of the forest, plains, and streams to trade intelligence and favors; she assists the local cunning men--those with gifts of healing--to find the roots, herbs, and fungi they need to minister to their people; and she uses blood magic to draw power from the ley lines below the earth. And that's just the background canvas! I was captivated by the language and imagery. She tells her story like a magical cat who is also an ancient shaman--with precise vocabulary that brings to life the damp forest loam under her paws, the smells of flowers and leaf mold and the mud of the riverbank, and the sour taste of river goblin blood caught in the rough of her tongue. The narration was wonderful. The story itself had several strands that did not hang together perfectly, but whose life is perfect? And when you are trying to understand the games the old gods are playing, can even a centuries old magical cat perceive which is a piece and which is not? I received this audiobook free in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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Delightful Fantasy Adventure!

Merliss, our heroine, is a centuries old cat with the heart of a shaman girl trapped inside. Her unique talents aid the ‘cunning man’ and his apprentice as they try finding a cure for the plague that’s killing people. Mr Chapman has built a unique world blending magic, suspense, Fae legends, herbal medicine, heartwarming characters, unusual creatures, an evil sheriff and a twist ending into a totally captivating tale. I look forward to reading more of Merliss’s adventures. I received an audio book as a gift and am happy to recommend this book. Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful

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l LOVED it. More please!!

the story kept my attention at every turn and bears another hearing. and the narration - I have never enjoyed another narrator as much. not sure if I fell in love with the characters or tha narrator! either way, this is a wonderful audiobook and I give my highest recommendation!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Middle-grade from a cat's perspective

If you are a cat lover, you will love The Great Contagion no matter your age. The author, Jeff Chapman, does a magnificent job describing things from a cat’s perspective. His writing truly shines when he is describing her motivations and cat-like behavior. If he wasn’t a cat in another life, he must be a great lover of cats. I imagine him a man who daydreams what his cats are thinking about as they lounge by a warm fire and purr at his scratches. If I review this book as a middle-grade book, I think it is fantastic. It pushes the boundaries and brings in some interesting themes. If you like the Magic Tree House series, you will love this book. 5 stars I struggled with the review for this book more than I have any other book. This book is touted to be a YA fantasy. But alas, it is not. I will admit that it rides the line between middle grade and YA, but it tips more to the middle-grade side of the fence. You could easily replace the two main characters in any Magic Tree House book with this cat, and she would fit right in. I really think that says it all right there. What is missing from the book? What would make it more YA? Relationships for one. While the cat is a fascinating character, she doesn’t spend very much time in one place. Therefore, you don’t see her building or deepening relationships. The strongest relationship that she has is with the house that she lives in. If I review this book as a YA fantasy, it is missing the elements that make me love YA. While the cat is fascinating, she is constantly driven by the action around her. Her best moments come at the end of the book when she finally takes charge to save her fellow cats. 3 stars Jannie Meisberger narrates this book to perfection! She adds so much to the book. I cannot imagine anyone else narrating this book. Source: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Great Contagion

I enjoyed this book!Merliss is a cat,for the most part.She has magic in her and will be tasked with saving cat kind. Jannie Meisberger was a fine narrator.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.' 

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Cats

I love cats! This book was amazing. Very sad was the part where they were killing and trying to down the cats...

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Story from a Cats viewpoint

The main character is a Girl who was turned into a Cat a VERY long time ago. She stays with various Cunning People throughout her life as a cat trying to help teach the various apprentices. This is a world where there are a large variety of magical beings.

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Quite interesting though a bit uneven...

I first met Merliss as a character in 'Cat Sidhe" and now she returns in her own tale. And while I generally liked the book, I think the pace of it is a bit uneven... I don't often read books that have an animal as the main character and are told from that animal's point of view. As Merliss is a cat, and cats are curious creatures, with a short focus span, easily spooked and seemingly not interested in anything but themselves (at least my cat is like that:)), it was interesting to see how all these features play in the book. But as Merliss is not a typical cat but a magical creature, she's all that and more... Merliss as a character is one of the strong points of the book. Another strong point is all the other magical creatures of the Celtic folklore, like the pucas, present and playing quite an important part in the whole plot. Surprisingly, the strong points of the book are also its weak points; Merliss gets distracted a lot, and finally we don't really know what the main plotline of the story is: is it Merliss's search for the water goblin? Or is it her search for the mysterious root that may be the cure for the great contagion? Or maybe it's her quest to save the cats the mad crowd blames for the plague...? Or maybe none of the three but something completely different - because when gods play people (and cats) pay...? This uncertainty kind of bothered me; I felt some of the subplots were excess material we could definitely do without (like the whole water goblin plotline). It also made the whole first half of the book too slow, with too many detailed descriptions, especially when compared to the second half of the book and especially the last last few chapters, in which the action speeds up really fast. So I'd say the first half of the book is a 3-star, while the second half is a 5-star story - that's why I've decided on 4 stars for the story altogether :) Narration by Ms Meisberger is very good, as always. I like the way she reads individual characters and the balance between the neutral narrative parts and the emotional dialogues in her interpretations. DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Lana R.
  • 08-25-20

Fantastic fantasy story.

I am a huge cat fan and love most stories featuring cats as protagonist. Jeff Chapmen builds fantastic worlds with his great story telling. Written very well characters are so likeable. Narrator did a great job as well. The right voice telling the story can make all the difference. Would definitely recommend for cat lovers.

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  • miss
  • 08-08-20

lovely

what a totally lovely audiobook with the main character a cat. It was well written by Jeff Chapman and narrated by jannie Meisberger. I really enjoyed it xxxxxx