The Diamond of Drury Lane

A Cat Royal Adventure (Volume 1)

by Julia Golding

Roaring Brook Press

MYSTERY, TREASURE, AND A LIFE ON THE STAGE.  The first episode of the adventures of Cat Royal is a big, fat juicy read.
She’s Cat Royal – four foot four, with long red hair, green eyes and not a penny she can call her own. But she does know a secret – where a treasure is hidden in the theater that is her home. The problem is, she isn’t the only one looking for it. One adventure leads into the next, taking Cat – and readers --  through the colorful streets of late 18th Century London. The exciting mystery – filled with fascinating characters, lots of incident, theatrical spectacles, and even a bit of political intrigue – will thrill readers.
The Diamond of Drury Lane is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Read an Excerpt

Diamond of Drury Lane
Act IIn which a spectacular stage effect goes spectacularly wrong ...SCENE 1A BALLOON RIDEIt occurs to me now, Reader, that you may be wondering who I am and just what I am doing living in a theater.My full name is Catherine Royal, known to almost everyone but the vicar and Mr. Salter as Cat. I am four foot four, have long red hair and green eyes, and not a penny that I can call my own. But I am not asking for your pity: I think I am more fortunate than those heiresses of many thousands a year that you read about in sentimental novels, for I live in the most exciting place


Praise for The Diamond of Drury Lane

The Diamond of Drury Lane has been named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Mystery for Youth books in their May 1, 2008 issue.  
Starred Review:  Kirkus Reviews - May 1, 2008 issue

Young Cat, red-haired and full of curiosity, lives at the Theater Royal in Drury Lane, having been abandoned there as a wee babe and raised by the theater folk and Mr. Sheridan, the owner. Golding surrounds Cat with colorful characters. The butcher boy, also a boxer, heads up a gang that rivals that of evil Billy Boil. Johnny draws revolutionary cartoons and has a secret. The music master’s protégé, freed slave Pedro, plays the violin like an angel and becomes Cat’s partner in adventures. There are boxing and gang fights and pawnshops and a terrible jail and a lively pair of noble siblings who fall in with Cat; there are overheard conversations—like the one about a hidden diamond…. The characterization tends to the sketchy and offhand, but the story itself plunges headlong from the theater into 1790s-era London’s muddy streets and silken drawing rooms. Readers will be heartened to know that this is the first of a projected quartet (although it eschews a cliffhanger ending). Winner of the 2006 Smarties Prize. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
Starred Reiew - School Library Journal
Gr 6-8–A remarkable debut novel. Cat is a streetwise orphan living in the Drury Lane Theatre in 1790s London. Her budding friendships with violin prodigy Pedro, a former slave; two teenage members of the aristocracy; and the theatre’s mysterious new prompter are put to the test when she agrees to help safeguard the hidden treasure of the title. Golding’s fast-paced story abounds with atmosphere and adventure as Cat struggles to prevent the vicious leader of one of Covent Garden’s street gangs from finding the diamond. Along the way, she experiences a taste of political intrigue and begins to wonder what her future holds. The author’s liberal use of late-18th-century phraseology adds charm and color to this first-person tale, which is aided by a glossary in which the likable heroine explains each term. Cat and her friends are wholly three-dimensional... Readers will likely be too captivated by the charming prose, exciting plot, and Cat herself ....–Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD

Reviews from Goodreads



  • by Julia Golding

  • Julia Golding’s first book – the first in the Cat Royal Quartet –won the 2006 Smarties Prize.  She lives in Oxford, England.

  • Julia Golding
    Julia Golding


Available Formats and Book Details

The Diamond of Drury Lane

A Cat Royal Adventure

by Julia Golding

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Trade Paperback


  • e-Book



Roaring Brook Press