The Novels of P.W. Catanese

How to buy the books

P.W. Catanese at
Simon & Schuster, official publisher's site

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About the

The Books of Umber:
-Happenstance Found
-Dragon Games

-The End of Time

The Thief and
the Beanstalk

The Brave

The Eye of 
the Warlock

The Mirror's Tale

The Riddle
of the Gnome

This and

Author's sketchpad

About the

and answers

Just for teachers


Contact the author at



Want escape? You're in the right place. 

(WANT ESCAPE is an anagram of PW CATANESE. See what I did there?) 


Hello readers and curious visitors. Thanks for stopping by to learn more about me and my stories. Starting with The Thief and the Beanstalk, I wrote five novels inspired by classic Grimm's fairy tales, with an unusual twist: They are sequels to those original stories, taking place 40, 50, even 100 years later. After those five novels I moved on to a trilogy called The Books of Umber.  So, eight novels altogether so far, all published by Simon and Schuster/Aladdin. Critics love them. Young readers love them. Adult readers love them. I know you'll enjoy them too. Check out all the titles by using the links at the left or click on the covers above. If you want to know the latest from me, check in here, "like" me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.  


Where can you buy them?
Ask your local bookstore (especially your local independent bookstore). Or here's a full list of sites like Amazon where you can get the books, eBooks and audio books.


What's next?

Some time has passed now since the final book in The Books of Umber series was published. I still feel the ache of leaving those characters behind, and I know from your messages that many of you miss them too.


So, what have I been up to since then? First, I took a little time off to let my batteries recharge after completing that series. And then it took a while to figure out what I was going to do next – a journey that included a detour into a premise that did not work out. But for those of you who are waiting to read the next thing I’ve written, hang in there. I have indeed been busy. But these things take time unfortunately, and the delay isn’t always caused by the lazy author. I promise this: If you like what I’ve written before, you’ll like the next thing very much. It’s exciting, funny and occasionally scary, with an element you haven’t seen in my stories until now.


In the meantime, I want to extend my sincere affection and gratitude to: 

  • The nice folk who've taken the time to message me with their thoughts about the stories

  • Anybody who’s stayed up late with one of my books because they were too wrapped up to stop reading

  • Any teacher who has brought my books into the classroom

  • Any student who has chosen me for a book report

  • Any librarian or bookseller who’s put my books on their shelves

  • Anyone who’s written fan fiction with my characters

  • The wonderful people who nominated my books for the state book awards

  • Anyone who has written something nice on Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon and the like

  • Any school that has brought me in to talk to their students – probably the most fun I can have.

Thank you readers and friends. If you like my work, tell a friend – it’s the nicest thing a reader can do for an author apart from actually purchasing a book.


Welcome to readers from Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Florida, Montana, Washington, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri and Hawaii!

Happenstance Found has been nominated for book awards in your area. Thanks for the readership, and feel free to email the author to say hello and ask questions:


Watch the video  book trailer for

The End of Time. And get an  introduction to all the books.







Nice words for Umber.

School Library Journal calls The End of Time (The Books of Umber 3) the “fantastic conclusion to P.W. Catanese’s riveting fantasy trilogy.” 


School Library Journal on Dragon Games (The Books of Umber 2): “a true roller coaster of a book...with new wonders around every corner...”


Publishers Weekly on Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber 1): “Catanese dazzles in the first of the Books of Umber… An auspicious start to the series.” (starred review) 


Read more reviews and visit the


The German covers are amazing.


Here's what the German translations look like. Fans of Nima, Boroon and the Silkship will really enjoy these illustrations by wonderful German artist Helge Vogt. See them larger here (scroll to the bottom).  They look even better when bigger!


Audio books.
The entire Books of Umber series is now available in audio - look for it at Amazon and The reader is Richard Poe, the actor who has read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, among other great titles.
Richard does an incredible job of bringing Happenstance, Umber, Oates and all the other characters to life. All three have been named Amazing Audiobooks by the American Library Association. School Library Journal's audio book review of Happenstance Found says  "...a compelling cast of characters...Narrator Richard Poe does an excellent job voicing all the nuances of a caring, bewildered boy...An excellent first title in the projected series."  Buy them and listen to excerpts here.


Who are "Casualidad"  and "Tesadüf"?

That's what Happenstance will be called in the Spanish and Turkish translations of Happenstance Found.  The Books of Umber series is also getting foreign translations in Catalan, German and Thai. 

Gorgeous Dragon Games wallpaper for your computer.
Courtesy of cover artist David Ho and the Simon and Schuster publicity department. Two wallpapers and an Avatar, right here.


An interview on audio.
In an interview with WritersCast, we talked about where the idea for The Books of Umber came from, the writing process, and more. If that stuff interests you, or if you want to know what I sound like, check it out here. 


Author visits.
I've been to schools in Connecticut, Nevada, Virginia, New York, Texas, Florida, Michigan and Kentucky... where to next? Click here to learn more.