By C.G. Salamander
Sheena Deviah (Illustrations)

Publisher: Hachette

Some 260 well written, designed and illustrated pages take the reader through the widths, depths and breadths of India and its coastlines and examine 100 mythical creatures. The creatures may exist in myths and legends, in folklore, as images in paintings, maps and statuettes, or in the imaginations of people the author encounters on his journeys. The tale of the collection, verification and documentation of the mythical creatures forms a driving narrative, along with the maps and images. The author deftly alludes to the links between the mythical creature of India, and those of other cultures, countries and mythologies – including amongst other things, the Akupara, relating to both Hindu mythology and Terry Prachett’s Discworld. 


Salamander tips his hat to Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” with Newt Scamander as the narrator, and similarly has a young adult narrator. This does not in any way detract the book from being suitable for a middle grade or young adult audience. Whereas Fantastic Beasts is a compendium from A-Z, with copious notes before the compendium starts, Makaras to Manticores travels through India, and the voice of the narrator accompanies the descriptions of the creature.