Book Review: Pangur Ban by Fay Sampson

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Are you looking for a Celtic Fantasy novel to read in March in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day? Pangur Ban by Fay Sampson is a delightful and wild middle-grade / young adult novel following the misadventures of a 9th century Christian priest, a vengeful warrior princess, and a white cat named Pangur Ban. This would be a splendid book to read out loud with your whole family!

“Now! Now you shall see what happens to those who would break the spell of mermaids!”

Fleeing the king’s justice for his accidental crime, the monk Niall has been bewitched by mermaids in the underwater realm, while vengeful Princess Finnglas is in the grip of a terrifying sea monster. Pangur Bán, the white cat, is desperate. He must rescue them—but how? But who is Arthmael? And where is he? Can Pangur Bán find him in time?

Beautifully written, wilder and less safe than Lewis’s Narnia, this beloved allegory is newly republished. Whether you’re discovering it for the first time or rediscovering that book you loved as a child, Pangur Bán delivers breathless fantasy and spiritual depth for young readers and adults.

Click here to find places where you can purchase the book. The indie publisher Spring Song Press is republishing this hidden gem from the 80s with a beautiful new cover. If you pre-order the ebook or a new paperback before March , you can send the receipt to Spring Song Press and get desktop wallpaper of the new cover art. 

The novel was inspired by a poem about a cat named Pangur Ban written by a 9th century monk. The novel adds an otherworldly underwater adventure, a race against time and a warrior princess to the mix! It manages to capture the wild, dangerous adventure of Redwall and the spirit of Narnia. There is some colorful language and a brief moment of violence that may be too much for younger children. 

If you’re middle grader (and young adult) love classic fantasy stories with high stakes, mermaids, princesses with swords and monsters, Pangur Ban is worth checking out! 

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