BEHIND THE STORY
Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber) is a rollicking, scary and humorous adventure tale. Itís about discovery and self-discovery. Alienation and acceptance. Friendship and rivalry. Technology and magic Ė and the responsibility of those who hold the keys to either.
The reaction to the character of Umber has been very interesting. He's been described as part Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, Willie Wonka, Leonardo DaVinci and the Wizard of Oz. . . I wonder who he'll remind you of?
What's ahead in Dragon Games (The Books of Umber 2).
Where did Hap come from? Why is he afraid of water? What happened to Sophie's hand? Who is WN? These questions and more will be answered, as royal tensions in Kurahaven explode, and Umber's all-consuming curiosity plunges his circle of friends into a harrowing adventure on a remote land ruled by a cruel tyrant.
To my new readers.
You donít need to know any of my previous books. This is a new story altogether. But if you read the Books of Umber and want to know more about this fantastic world, feel free to jump into my other novels. I think youíll be particularly rewarded if you visit The Mirrorís Tale, The Thief and the Beanstalk and The Eye of the Warlock. You can learn more about those novels at www.pwcatanese.com.
To those whoíve read my previous books.
Hello old friends. Iíve gotten so many notes and emails from many of you, and itís been the best part of becoming an author. I have good news: You are going to discover curious connections between The Books of Umber and my previous novels. For example, Umberís home city of Kurahaven is the same place mentioned in The Eye of the Warlock. And in Dragon Games, you will meet familiar characters (or creatures) from my earlier novels in supporting roles.
The origin of Umber.
In 2004 I was working on The Brave Apprentice, a novel about a young tailor who is in the right place at the wrong time when an army of trolls invades his kingdom. I was writing a scene where the king has assembled his knights and advisors to learn everything he can about this monstrous enemy. The king invites an old scholar named Griswold to address the group. During his speech, Griswold off-handedly mentions a historian named Umber who has written extensively about trolls.
Umber. At the time, I just pulled that name out of nowhere. But somehow the thought of a fellow who investigates monstrous and magical phenomena in the world of magic and fairy tales was planted in my head and began to grow. I mentioned Umber again in The Eye of the Warlock Ė still a brief reference, and he remained offstage in that story as well. By then, I was sure there would be a story about Umber some day, and it would be bigger in scope and deeper in meaning than anything Iíd written before.
Now, finally, that story is here. But itís not just about this remarkable inventor, explorer and historian named Umber. There is a second hero: a boy named Happenstance with unusual powers that he doesnít understand. As the exuberant Umber and hesitant Hap plunge into a series of wild adventures, their startling pasts and amazing destinies are revealed.
The Books of Umber is like my other stories in many ways. But this time thereís an unexpected dash of another genre. And I wonít say more than that, because if some readers are like me, then they prefer to be surprised.