The Books of Umber
Dive into the acclaimed fantasy adventure trilogy today! It begins with Happenstance Found, continues in Dragon Games, and reaches its epic conclusion with The End of Time. Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook - plus an audiobook that features the wonderful performance of Richard Poe. Scroll down for details on the stories.
for Happenstance Found:
A Horn Book recommended title for fantasy and science fiction.
Named to the Master List for the Texas Bluebonnet Award.
Named to the Master List for Florida's Sunshine State Young Reader's Award.
Nominated for the Pacific Northwest Library Association's Young Reader's Choice Award.
Nominated for Indiana's Young Hoosier Book Award.
Nominated for New Hampshire's Great Stone Face Book Award 2010, sponsored by the Children's Librarians of New Hampshire.
Nominated for Hawai'i's 2010 Nēnē Award, given by the children of Hawai'i for the best children’s fiction book.
“Catanese dazzles in
the first of the planned Books of Umber series by wittily
subverting genre tropes. Happenstance, a boy with strange green eyes,
wakes up in a cave with no memories of who he is or anything about the
fantastic world in which he lives. He soon encounters Lord Umber, an
adventurer who seems familiar with our world as well as his own, and his
two companions — a brute cursed to be forever truthful and a one-handed
artist and archer... As the group attempts to learn about his origins,
they're forced to confront a supernatural assassin and secrets from
Umber's own mysterious past. Catanese packs a lot into the book: rich
characterizations, well-choreographed action sequences and genuinely
surprising twists at the end. An auspicious start to the series.”
“Readers, both young and old, will anxiously await future titles in the "Books of Umber" series.” - Children's Literature
“Catanese’s forte is in defining the features of the colorful imaginary world he creates, which is part steampunk, part fairy tale, and has a surprising contemporary twist. Merpeople, leviathans, and sorceresses mingle with Mozart, mirrors, and elevators in this unusual culture…a cinematic quality that will be enjoyed by a wide range of fantasy readers.” - The Horn Book
“Catanese departs from the fairy tale retellings... to create an intriguing intergenerational partnership set in a fantasy world that tantalizes with glimpses of modern-day technology...an engaging and deftly written fantasy.” - Booklist
“Hap's vulnerability and Umber's
good-natured exuberance make them both extraordinarily
appealing...the characters that surround the two are equally compelling...they
emerge as almost archetypal in their symbolic resonance....Rife with
grisly horrors and absorbing wonders, Umber's coastal kingdom exerts
a fascination that lingers after the last page is turned, and
readers will be reassured by indications that a return visit is
“You can’t pack much
more intrigue into a first chapter than that of P. W. Catanese’s
Happenstance Found, in which a boy wakes, “fully conscious and
wholly formed” but with no memory of his past, and immediately discovers
that he and his companions are in danger from a wormlike beast, that
he’s in a tunnel under a mysterious lost city, and that he has in his
possession a cryptic message . . . was that an earthquake? Things
only get more exciting from here in this inventive fantasy, first in
a projected series.”
Named to ALAN’s Picks, April 2009.
Named to the Kid's Indie Next list, Spring 2009.
So far Lord Umber has been compared to Willie Wonka, Sherlock Holmes, the Wizard of Oz, Leonardo DaVinci and Indiana Jones... who will he remind you of?
Dragon Games begin!
for Dragon Games:
“Round two in the Books of Umber delivers more imaginative adventures and tantalizing hints about Hap’s past and Umber’s hopes for him... plenty of satisfying action and lots of narrow escapes.” - Booklist
“This sequel to Happenstance Found (2009) takes Hap (in the company of his manic-depressive patron, Lord Umber) all over the map of fantasyland... it's no surprise Hap ends up in constant danger: threatened by sleeping sea-giants, nearly burned to death in the lava-spewing inferno, almost eaten by ghost-ridden crabs and vicious, gnome-like bidmis, chased by megalomaniac princes and constantly endangered by political intrigue...the fast-paced and high-energy action of this video-game-like quest will please fantasy adventure fans.” - Kirkus Reviews
The grand finale of the trilogy. In hardcover, ebook and audio book.
is where it ends: The End of Time.
The memorable characters, fantastic creatures, and fast-paced action readers embraced in Happenstance Found and Dragon Games are all here in The End of Time, the heart-stopping conclusion to the acclaimed The Books of Umber trilogy.
for The End of Time:
The Books of Umber series is being translated into Spanish, Catalan, Turkish and German. Here are the thrilling covers for the German translations, by illustrator Helge Vogt: