The first of the three 'Children of Plynlimon' novels
‘With Sabrina Fludde, Smarties’ Prize-winning author Pauline Fisk has created a haunting literary epic set around the River Severn. On one level this is a superbly told mystery story about where Sabrina comes from, who she is and why she is here. Beyond this, the reader enters a magical, ever-shifting world, which spans centuries and imbues its central characters with a mythological presence. The book is beautifully jacketed, with the potential for an adult crossover, particularly for those who relish European literary fiction.’ THE BOOKSELLER
‘The concept that reality works on many levels and that our everyday experiences are threaded with spiritual and historical charges is lyrically explored in this ambitious and intriguing novel. Ghosts and spirits of the past and present people this story of Abren, the abandoned girl whose fate has a cataclysmic effect on the market town of Pengwern. This archetypal shire community becomes unsettled as a darker, deeper underworld is revealed below its streets….The clever story is richly imaginative, drawing on classical tales of metamorphosis.’ TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
‘Fisk’s sweeping story gets off to a brilliant start with the description of a body being carried along by rising flood waters. The reader is plucked out of the water and plunged into the story of Abren, who must discover who she is and where she has come from. Ancient and modern worlds are cleverly entwined in a multi-layered novel packed with big writing and even bigger ideas as it traces the way that past and present are inextricably entwined.’ THE GUARDIAN
Abren comes to in the early-morning mist to find herself struggling to escape the flooded River Severn, with no memory of how she happened to be in it. Rescued by an eccentric local family, she plays the part for them of an ordinary girl, but her hazy half-memories tell her that she is so much more. When she meets a tall, gangling street-boy in a ragged coat, with a background as unknown as her own, the mystery of her past begin to unravel, taking her back to a time of legend where she finds herself forced to confront the horrors of her past…
I was meant to be writing another book at the time but, as has happened before, this one demanded to be written instead. I’d recently moved to a new house in the medieval heart of Shrewsbury (which the book turns into modern-day Pengwern) and maybe I wanted an excuse to explore this new world with its strange characters and secret life. Initially the book was about a girl suffering from memory loss, but the river that carries her into the story (the Severn) quickly began to take over. As soon as I started researching it, looking into its history, legends and journey from source to sea, I found myself not only with a title (‘Sabrina Fludde’ being the old name for the River Severn) but with three books, not just one.
It’s taken me nearly ten years to write these books about Plynlimon - the magic mountain where the Severn and its sister rivers, the Wye and Rheidol, have their source - and the children whose lives are caught up with them. When I started ‘Sabrina Fludde‘, I‘d no idea what a long journey it would be.