G. P. Taylor
Ages 12 and up
To purchase at BarnesandNoble.com
From Publisher's Weekly:
G. P. Taylor's debut novel, a bestseller in his native England, is a dark and weighty morality tale set in 18th-century England about a black-hearted vicar with designs to take over the world and overthrow God. Obadiah Demurral won the vicarage in a drunken bet but long ago lost his faith ("Church is the place for reciting meaningless words to a God who isn't listening anymore"). He is now the shadowmancer of the title (he communes with the dead) and is working to obtain two Keruvim (one an amulet, the other a form that's revealed later in the novel) that, together, will give him unlimited powers. As the story opens he has secured the first, but the second is still at large. Raphah, a young African from the village where the golden Keruvim was stolen, seeks to return it to his home. Thomas and Kate, two youngsters who have suffered Demurral's ruthlessness first-hand, decide to help Raphah. The twists and turns of the plot take precedence over character development. The sudden changes of heart of Beadle, Demurral's withering right-hand man, and Jacob Crane, a murderous smuggler, seem unfounded, and some readers may be deterred by the heavy Christian shadings ("Riathamus stands at the door of your life and knocks," Raphah preaches, "if you hear his call and answer him he will share your life and live with you always"; Thomas says, "Within him he felt that something had changed and was continuing to change, something unstoppable, like the growing of a mustard seed"-a reference to Christ's parable). Still, there are enough surprises to keep readers madly turning the pages.