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SHADOWMANCER [Hardcover]

TAYLOR GP
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jan 2004

Shadowmancer takes you into a world of superstition, magic and witchcraft where nothing can be taken for granted, and the ultimate sacrifice might even be life itself.

Obadiah Demurral is a sorcerer who is seeking to control the highest power in the Universe. He will stop at nothing. The only people in his way are Raphah, Kate, Thomas - and the mysterious Jacob Crane.

Packed full of history, folklore and smuggling, this tale of their epic battle will charm both young and old. The thrills, suspense and danger are guaranteed to grab the attention and stretch imaginations to the limit.

'A compelling and dark-edged fantasy . . . here is solid confirmation that the devil doesn't have all the best tunes - or plots. Highly recommended.' Independent on Sunday

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Creation House (7 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591856132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591856139
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15.9 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,670,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Written to include such elements as magic, witchcraft, superstition, sorcery, history, folklore and smuggling, Shadowmancer has become a book that simply cannot be ignored. Despite such fierce competition as JK Rowling's mighty bestseller Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Reverend Graham Taylor's debut children's novel has nevertheless garnered impressive media coverage.

At the heart of his story lies the classic battle between good and evil. On one side Taylor has painted one of the most despicable men possible--Obadiah Demurral, an 18th century vicar who preaches restraint and tolerance to his flock of god-fearing but misguided souls while all the time hiding the fact that he is a shadowmancer--a sorcerer who speaks to the dead--who commands these unfortunates to do his own bidding. For Demurral is intent on seeking to control the ultimate power in the universe. He doesn't want to worship God anymore, he wants to be God. And in the finest traditions of such stories, he will stop at nothing to achieve his dastardly goal.

Lined up against him, however, are some equally inventive good guys. Thomas Barrick, at 13, is the spunky almost-orphan who can intuitively see straight through Demurral's pious act and knows him to be evil to the core. Helping him is feisty tomboy Kate Coglan, Raphah--a mysterious African who has journeyed far to reclaim the precious symbols that Demurral is using for evil purpose, and Jacob Crane, a smuggler with a big grudge against the demented vicar.

The plot might wobble a little in places and the simmering religious overtones might get up a few people's noses, but Taylor's colourful cast is undoubtedly a triumph. The characters are larger than life, engaging, plentiful--and you'll care what happens to them. (For ages 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

‘Shadowmancer’ takes you into a world of superstition, magic and witchcraft where nothing can be taken for granted, and the ultimate sacrifice might even be life itself.

Obadiah Demurral is a sorcerer who is seeking to control the highest power in the Universe. He will stop at nothing. The only people in his way are Raphah, Kate, Thomas - and the mysterious Jacob Crane.

Packed full of history, folklore and smuggling, this tale of their epic battle will grip both young and old. The thrills, suspense and danger are guaranteed to grab the attention and stretch imaginations to the limit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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It was a still October night. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seemed promising, but proved disappointing 5 Dec 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I came to this book with high hopes, but have to say that I was disappointed. The writing is generally leaden (apart from occasionally well-written pieces of 'atmosphere'), the characters are cardboard, the plot is simplistic in the extreme, and there is no real depth of emotion. It has some good moments - the use of the Christian mythology is interesting, though it could be explained better for those not familiar with concepts of seravim etc; the basic idea behind the plot (over-ambitious evil vicar seeks world dominance, not realising he is being used by the devil) is promising. However, the whole work is let down by poor writing and determination to get the writer's Christian viewpoint (eg about tarot cards) across. (I may add that while I loved 'Northern Lights', the first in the 'Dark Materials' trilogy, I found the didacticism of 'The Amber Spyglass', with its obsession about 'dust' and the 'falsehood' of religion equally irritating). As for other characters / story elements - some characters are inserted briefly for no apparent reason, other than to 'lend atmosphere' (eg the witch on the moor, who seems to serve no plotting purpose); the children are whiny and two-dimensional; the constant preachiness of Raphah (love one another) gets annoying, and it's never really clear where the keruvim came from, why God would allow it to have such power as to overthrow himself, etc. All in all, a disappointment.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Super hype-super fall 14 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback
Starved of some good fantasy to read, I decided to give this novel a try only to be disappointed, bored-and somewhat confused by the plot. This is not the kind of book to read in installments, as some of the chapters have serious cohesion problems and the strands of sub-plots are woven ad infinitum.
With regards to the characters, the novel presents a typical 'good versus evil' scenario, underlined by overt and complex religious connotations, which for a younger reader will be too complicated to follow at times. Raphah, Thomas and Kate, the main protagonists, are fairly one dimensional, although each have their own personal issues to resolve, which leads them to team up in their quest for an artefact, currently in the clutches of the evil vicar Demurral(a contradiction in terms?). Demurral has terrorised his parish for many years now and people are too afraid to stand up to him. If this character is in any way supposed to equal Vodermot's dimensions in Harry Potter, he certainly fails to strike horror into the reader and his 'army' of semi machines are far too easily avoided. His actions are half hearted, indecisive and far too drawn out. The most interesting character is probably Demurral's somewhat deformed and cunning assistant Beadle, whose desperate attempts to impress, spark some pity.
The only more interesting part about the novel is its setting around the Whitby area, visiting many of the familiar tourist sites, lending them a new history.
I managed to plow through this one but it is unlikely that I would read a second installment. However critical I initially was of Harry Potter, it is at the end of the day a much more enjoyable romp than this far too serious hotchpotch of a novel.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Just an opinion BUT ...
The hype about this decidedly average children's story from the publishing industry is understandable, in the light of the millions made for them by J. K. Rowling, but the complicity of the so-called critics is more surprising (and eye opening). On the back cover the "Times", "Observer", "Herald", "Daily Telegraph" and "Independent" all breathlessly agree that Shadowmancer is "the biggest event in children's fiction since Harry Potter".
There's no way these critics (or a proficient editor) actually read this book. Shadowmancer is poorly written, with a lack of attention to consistency that is continually jarring (and, yes, children pay attention to detail).
- How many hands does Demurral have as he "... took hold of the golden staff and placed his left hand on the stone fist ..." and "... raised the Keruvim with right hand ..." ?
- How strong is teenage Kate "A small figure leapt out of the darkness at Thomas and Raphah, grabbing them both by the throat and pushing them face down on to the ground" and how do you push two people face DOWN by their throat ?
- How dangerous can the Varrigal be (a "race of (eight feet) warriors") when Thomas, the young boy who was just pinned down by Kate, a teenage girl, is able to effectively trade sword blows with them using a Varrigal sword (from a fallen Varrigal, shot dead by Kate) ?
- Is the mill wheel wood or metal ? "A large wooden mill wheel jutted out into the mill beck ... It rolled on without stopping, the newly cast metal and fresh blue paint churning the water of the beck."
Shadowmancer also explains far too much, far too soon, as if children cannot wait for details to be revealed, or work things our for themselves.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Here comes the Fantasy Bandwagon! 20 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
Who this book is aimed at? The overtly Christian nature of the work makes C.S Lewis look like a Evangelical Shrinking Violet, and yet Taylor is so scathing of the Church in places it is unlikely to appeal to most Church goers.
Sadly there is so little to reccomend this book. I think I can see what he's trying to do: Reclaim fantasy for the Christians, but give it the same modern edge as Pullman. But he fails so badly that if I was a cynic I think that he'd written it for the profit that there is to be made from the fantasy novel at the moment.
There isn't the intellectual thought to make the book cross to the adult market. None of the ideas are original and the the only stand out idea - The Azimuth: a child clinging to life and yet best left to rest in peace - is dissmissed without ever being exploited. The characters are weak and under developed, with many being introduced and dismissed without a second thought. The locations and the promised folklore are underused and largely ignored. The plot is ill concieved and poorly executed. And the ending is unsatisfying. The overall effect is purile and unsophisticated, with neither the charm of Tolkien, the sheer power of Pullman or the clockwork plots of Rowling.
Let us hope that Taylor either goes back to writing school or decides never to find a new day job!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Damp Squib
Sounds promising. Great title, but full of cliched trite. An overblown Enid Blyton story. What appears to be a Tolkien-Lite story is actually Christian Propaganda. Read more
Published 22 months ago by J N Kereve-Clarke
1.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what all the fuss was about
I read this one a while back, was very disappointed, and wondered if it was just me. It's nice to see I'm not alone. I sometimes feel 'literature' is like a lot of modern art. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Corinda
1.0 out of 5 stars fantasy author in money spinning plot rip off shocker!
I generally do not buy books- I borrow them from my library.Thanks goodness I did that with this apology for a fantasy story from GP Taylor. Read more
Published 24 months ago by bernie the bolt
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Waste of time
Very seldom, I have ever been compelled to write a review on how utterly rubbish something is, but G P Taylor's shadowmancer qualifies as being so awful that I had to write... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2009 by N. Mirza
2.0 out of 5 stars Humourless and plotless
Some 36 years ago my primary school teacher called me and all my class mates to the front of the class, had us all sit on the floor at her feet and read us the first two chapters... Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2009 by Mr. A. I. Harrison
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire.
If I could give it no stars, I would.

Normally I avoid books that have comparisons to Harry Potter on the cover, since although I enjoy Harry Potter, the writing... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2008 by Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Many
I was given 'Shadowmancer' for a Christmas present by my mother's instructions to an aunt who - let's face it - does what she tells her. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2008 by A. Simpson
1.0 out of 5 stars Monumentally bad - a testament to all that is wrong with modern...
I stumbled across this much-hyped book only recently in a charity shop. Having waded through it's contrived, irrelevant 'action', tried to engage with marionette characters and... Read more
Published on 18 Aug 2008 by Jim Ashton
1.0 out of 5 stars Christian propaganda badly packaged
I read this work really looking forward to what I thought would be an excellant and exciting fantasy novel. I had been let down by J.K. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2007 by RDWHITE
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
I've read worse. I've read better. The characters are a little on the thin side but the plot is quite good.
Published on 26 July 2007 by mackempaul
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