Fay Sampson

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Children's Fiction

The Pangur Bán Stories
Other books for older children and teenagers
Books for younger children


 * New. Ebook of THE RED LIZARD.*

    Fantasy. The Valley of the Unicorn is in danger. Young Fydyha goes to her evil cousin as a spy, but is bitten by his lizard.Can Skentyl save her and the Valley before she kills the Lady?

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** HARD ROCK , Scripture Union. A boy in danger in a Cornish mine has a life-changing meeting with John Wesley. **

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(Lion - ISBN 978 0 7459 6072 2)

The High Sorcerer's Daughter Sarba has reason to hate the Xerappans, after what they did to her mother. She is sent on a mission into Xerappo, where the young sorcerer Tekran calls her certainties into question. Soon they are both fleeing for their lives across the desert, with the Sorcerer Guard and their dragons in pursuit.


  In the darkness there were two men talking in low, urgent voices. As Sarba came back to herself, fragments of memory coalesced, along with the atoms of her body. She scrambled to her feet to join Colonel Jentiz and Tekran.

  The colonel turned to her apologetically. 'I'm sorry, my dear. I didn't realize you'd never transported before.'

  'Don't apologize to her,' said Tekran. 'This is life or death. And it'll still be death if we stay in this orchard.'

  Sarba looked behind her, up the hill. Through the dark branches of the lemon trees, she glimpsed the bright perimeter lights of the Colony. They were not far away.

  'I'm sorry I couldn't get us further from the Fence. It took enough effort, as it was, transporting three of us this far. But we need to be clear of the trees before I bring the camels. Let's move!' Jentiz's voice was swift and decisive. Here was a man accustomed to command. It helped a little to steady the racing fear in Sarba's heart, but not much.

  She had broken her vows as a Ring-Holder. She had betrayed her mission. She was outside the Fence. 

  Terrific! Topical and relevant. Fay Sampson explores modern themes in a fantastic adventure story which will suit young and mid-teens. Gateway Monthly Recommended Read..
    She has the gift of making you live through every scene. I don't know how she does it, but I hope she goes on doing it for a very long time to come.  Diana Wynne Jones.

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(Lion - ISBN 0 7459 4985 1)

Novan's country has been conquered, and he is eager

to join the freedom fighters. The only trouble is, he's fallen in love with a girl from the other side. When he gets a chance to kill the High Sorcerer, he faces a terrible choice. Soon they are both fleeing for their lives.



 Just for a moment pride flared through Novan. None of the Yadu would have dared to make this walk into the compound, not even Balgo with his sorcerer's rod. The leopards would have attacked them without hesitation. The magic of a sorcerer's rod could stun or kill them, but it could not tame them.

   His arrogance ebbed away. It was not him the leopards were afraid of. He could do nothing alone.

   He came within their semicircle and felt in his own nerves the shudder he saw run through them.

This compelling and well-paced story has powerful resonances with modern times as people under colossal pressure confront agonising decisions as a result of struggling to understand and do what is right. Gateway.

A gripping, suspenseful tale of love, adventure and magic.  Carousel.

A gripping fantasy.  Primary Times.

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(Lion - ISBN 0 7459 4670 4)

Even the imaginary creatures seemed real. The plot was exciting.  

Lancashire County Library; Children's Book of the Year Reviews.

coverpic THEM
Fantasy adventure. Britain is under the grip of a sinister regime. Berlewen is summoned to serve THEM. Instead, she, Honesty and the faithful four-footed Enkenethal set out to join the rebels. To reach the island, they must confront the terror lurking under the marsh. They are guided only by a song, which tells of a Prince in hiding. But does he exist? And will he be the sort of leader they are expecting?

Magical... This is a beautiful book which will entrance 12 to 14-year-olds. It is extremely well written; the plot moves forward briskly; the characters are developed skilfully and believably; wise and wholesome principles are introduced and promoted with subtlety and sensitivity. A stylish novel which has a very great deal to offer and which can be recommended... unreservedly, as a novel of quality.   School Library Association.


Berlewen went ice cold. The men were on either side of her, looking down, laughing, too near.

  'Oh, no, madam. We wouldn't dare touch you. Not unless you were very naughty. No. There's plans higher up for you. THEY want you.... Now!' 

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The Pangur Bán Stories Top
Acclaimed Celtic fantasy, featuring the cat, the bloodthirsty princess and the painter.
Breathless, tumbling fantasy… a wildly joyful … action-packed tale.
Outstanding value… compulsive story-telling.
Church of England Newspaper

Pangur Bán: The White Cat
(Lion - new edition ISBN: 0-7459-4763-8)
Enmity sweeps Pangur, Finnglas and Niall into dangers underwater. Who will save them when their own efforts fail?
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Finnglas of the Horses
(Lion - new edition ISBN: 0-7459-4761-1)
Finnglas's quest to find her lost horse leads to danger none of them dreamed of. They fall under the power of the Rhymester and his shape-shifting Wolves.
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coverpic Finnglass and the Stones of Choosing Finnglas and the Stones of Choosing
(Lion - new edition. ISBN: 0-7459-4760-3)
Finnglas is heir to the Summer Land. But first she must pass seven tests. If she fails, she will die.
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The Serpent of Senergad
(Lion - ISBN: 0-7459-1520-5)
A princess, a potter and a goose-girl are prisoners in the caves of the loathsome Worm. How can Pangur, Finnglas and their friends save them?
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The White Horse is Running
(Lion - ISBN: 0-7459-1915-4)
Finnglas's rivals loose the sacred White Colt. The result is war. As the friends race to stop it, Finnglas and Niall are captured. What will happen to Pangur when he catches up with the Colt?
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coverpic Shapeshifter: Shape-Shifter: The Naming of Pangur Bán Shape-Shifter: The Naming of Pangur Bán
(Lion - new edition. ISBN: 0-74594762-X)
The prequel. A white kitten is caught under the witches' half-made spell. He is a danger to everyone who tries to help him. Rashly, Niall sets out in pursuit.
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Shape-Shifter / Pangur Bán: the White Cat
(Lion - ISBN: 0-7459-3757-8)
Double-decker volume.
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Other Books for older children and teenagers Top

A Free Man on Sunday
(Hardback: Gollancz - ISBN: 0-575-04114-5)
(Paperback: Harper-Collins Lions - ISBN: 0-00-673501-0)
Edie and Denis join the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout.

Wonderful book.
Irish Independent

Dramatic and vivid story… exciting… thought-provoking.
Children's Books of the Year
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(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72299-1)
A teenage rock band fall foul of the police.
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The Chains of Sleep
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72250-9)
Fantasy on the Scilly Isles, as Sarah and Lew wake an old power.

Whoever reads this haunting little novel is likely to read it twice.
The Listener
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The Hungry Snow
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72262-2)
Dartmoor is in the grip of blizzards and girl babies are mysteriously dying. Can Marie save her newborn sister?

A racy and compelling narrative… strong in characterisation and vivid incident.
Methodist Recorder
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The Watch on Patterick Fell .
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72077-8)
Winner of the Spanish Barco de Vapor Award
Near-future thriller, as protests grow around the nuclear processing plant.

Taut and dramatic.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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Landfall on Innis Michael
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72201-0)
Near-future thriller. Roger and Elspeth move to an island guarding nuclear waste. But the former inhabitants have other ideas.

Plenty of adults are likely to be reaching for … an exciting tale around an unusual idea.
Express and Echo
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Books for younger children Top

coverpic The Dancing Horse
The Dancing Horse
(John Hunt - ISBN: 1-903019-78-8)
The Obby-Oss dances through the village on May Day. But when a French warship attacks, he may be the only one who can save them.
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The Christmas Blizzard
(Lion - ISBN: 0-7459-2214-7)
A Christmas visit to grandparents goes wrong when the family car gets stuck in a blizzard.
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Josh's Panther
(Hardback: Gollancz - ISBN: 0-575-03914-0)
(Paperback: Puffin - ISBN: 0-14-032485-2)
Josh's attempt to make a big cat's footprint sets off a massive hunt.
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Chris and the Dragon
(Hardback: Gollancz - ISBN: 0-575-03661-3)
(Paperback: Puffin - ISBN: 0-14-032121-7)
Chris gets a star part in the Nativity play, until it all goes wrong.
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Jenny and the Wreckers
(Hardback: Hamish Hamilton - ISBN: 0-241-11368-7)
(Paperback: Marshall-Pickering - ISBN: 0-7208-0734-4)
It's a stormy night, and Jenny's father hasn't come home. Can she light the lamp in the lighthouse alone?
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The Empty House
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72195-2)
Thinking about school makes Rachel feel sick. But the abandoned kitten next door is even more scared.
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Half a Welcome
(Dobson - ISBN: 0-234-72031-X)
Kevin and Jane don't think much of their adopted baby brother - until he gets kidnapped.
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(Hamish Hamilton - ISBN: 0-241-89236-8)
Britain is evacuated. David and Carolyn become refugees in the African bush.
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Making Fantasy Come True
Being a writer is the most fun job you can have. There are all sorts of things I wanted to do as a child, but never had the chance to. Researching for a book gives me a wonderful excuse to catch up on them.

When I was a child, I loved books about pirates and the Swallows and Amazons series. But even though I lived in a fishing village, I could only dream of learning to sail. In Pangur Bán the characters are swept out to sea in a small boat. So now was my chance. I took myself off to a sailing school on the west coast of Scotland - and managed to capsize the boat on the first day.

Finnglas is mad about horses, so that sent me learning to ride on a Dartmoor farm. But in Finnglas and the Stones of Choosing, one of her trials involves driving a chariot. Um… bit of a problem there. The farm rose to the occasion and offered me a day driving horses. I spent a wonderful morning walking behind a horse, harrowing a field. In the afternoon I was put in a light surrey. Not quite a wicker chariot, but the next best thing. In front of me was an obstacle course. I was supposed to drive my horse at a fast trot in and out of the poles, like a slalom race.

You never know what an experience feels like until you try it. I hadn't realised how slowly boats capsize. You have passed the point when it is inevitable, but still the water creeps coldly up your body. With driving a horse, I imagined you would have to haul on the reins, left or right. To my astonishment, you simply wind the reins round your hand and turn your wrist a little, clockwise or anticlockwise. And if it's well-schooled, this huge animal, many times stronger than you, goes exactly where you want it to. I only clipped a couple of poles.

Some of the Celtic ships I write about are made of leather, stretched over timbers. Tim Severin made one and sailed it across the Atlantic, following the voyage of Saint Brendan. I saw it afterwards, at Exeter Quay. Until I did, I never guessed what a leather boat, made waterproof with sheep's fat, smells like.

I love rummaging in books for information, but there's some research where you just need to get out and do it.


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