Vicar Obadiah Demurral rules his part of the Yorkshire coast with cruelty and an iron fist but under a pious guise. But no one dares to oppose his tyranny for the villagers are rightly afraid of his dark powers. Only near-orphan Thomas Barrick is bold enough to speak out against the greedy vicar, and for his candor, Thomas is soon attacked by some unearthly creatures sent after him by Demurral. The vicar is in reality a "Shadowmancer" Ė a sorcerer who speaks to the dead using a stolen African artifact, the Keruvim. His secret burning ambition is to overthrow God and usurp his position using the forces of evil.
But Thomas is saved in the nick of time by a young African boy called Raphah. Thomas and his friend Kate agree to help Raphah rescue the Keruvim and checkmate Demurral. During their efforts, they witness many strange things, encounter danger like never before and have their faith tested to the utmost. But throughout, they keep wondering about Raphahís miraculous powers and his all-powerful god Riathamus. But can three young children be able to defeat the forces of the dark in an epic battle between good and evil? Will Demurral win his unholy quest?
G.P.Taylorís first novel is without a doubt stunning. While it fits neither in the Harry Potter genre nor can it be classified absolutely as Christian fiction, Shadowmancer remains an engaging saga about the constant, unending battle between good and evil. Characters are varied and of various ages, and the struggle they all undergo both within and without as the lines of battle are drawn and sides are chosen feels authentic and timeless in its message. Yorkshire comes to life with its cliffs, seaside and superstition-ridden folks and their customs. Taylor makes full use of these to populate his novel with such fantastic creatures as the Seloth, thulak, Varrigals, Dunamez, etc., which gives his novel a fanciful fantasy/gothic feel thatís odd but effective. Himself an English vicar, Taylor brings authenticity to the religious rhetoric into which he frequently lapses through his young protagonists, and while this isnít off-putting, it does slow down the pace and dilute the tension time after time. The book, which is the first in a series, ends in a cliffhanger that will keep the readers on tenterhooks waiting for the next one titled Wormwood, set to release in September.