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On March 15, many letters and reviews addressed to Rev. G.P. Taylor (www.shadowmancer.com) were forwarded to us. We have posted portions of some of those comments and reviews here -- with Rev. Taylor's permission) so that you might glimpse the enthusiastic endorsements of this book by children, teens, teachers, parents and grandparents. They show the book's impact on the minds and hearts of fans of all ages and many diverse religions. Each seems to interpret the message, suggestions and images in the book in ways that fit their own beliefs, wants and values.
Book Review by Jill Clark: "Sorcerers, smuggling, and superstition, demons, dragons and darkness.... With its allure and charm, the very first pages will draw you into a world where ‘strange, invisible creatures’ will fill your ‘mind with horrifying, hideous thoughts’, where the ‘fresh morning sun glows blood-red’ and ‘streaks of lightening flash from sky to sea’. Strange, eerie, and absorbing, this is a book to lose yourself in.
"Set in the 1750s on the North Yorkshire coast, it is the age of the last magic where witchcraft and folklore are rife. There unfolds a story of an evil vicar, Demurral, who having sold his soul to Satan is using black magic to seek out the Keruvim, the twin sources of power. ...
"Through these powerfully drawn characters, G.P. Taylor explores themes of Christianity.... Yet there is nothing explicitly religious in Shadowmancer as Muslims, Christians, and people of no faith will enjoy it.
"Shadowmancer is the sort of book that will be read and read again."Anonymous: I think that would make a great series and just thought I should let you know. The book renewed my sense that God exists in a way, and I would like to thank you for that.
Benaged 14 (aka Obadiah Demurral- I'm not that evil!): It is my favourite book so far, with the mix of fantasy , history, adventure, magic and an underlying religious meaning ... Just a general question--what you wrote in the book, is that what you believe another world or heaven to be like? Do you believe in only one god, or do you think that in another universe or world that many other gods are battling out for power? Also, do you believe in a heaven and if you do, what do you believe it is?Emma: I can only congratulate Mr Taylor on his style of writing which keeps your eyes glued to the pages and also the way the book is written so that all people of all religions will relate to it in their own way, myself being of Catholic upbringing I see a lot of similies between things written in the book and things instilled in me as a child but they are extremeley cleverly worded and placed in such a way that a child or adult of any creed, nationality or religion could not fail to be absolutley enchanted with this first book in the series.
Joseph:Thank you for such a lovely story of redemption. Your passages about sin being blotted out, people not ever being beyond redemption and each of us having a choice were beautiful. I was very taken with the seamless way you retold biblical stories anew although I never imagined the King with metal shoes! I am intrigued to learn why, or perhaps how, you pictured this?
Laura Dennis:I am a primary school teacher; therefore I read a great deal of children’s books for research and pleasure! ... I was pleased to see a book which dealt with issues such as slavery, racism and religion in a sensitive and ‘grown up’ way. ... I will be recommending the book to the children in my class and the other teachers in the school! Lynn: I'm a religious education teacher in a secondary school and will recommend the book and refer to it in lessons.
Anonymous:I think the book is amazing because the story has some realality and magic so it gives it a god effect. I also like how it involes god and magic also power.
Anna Ward:I am a big fan of Harry Potter and also love horror and fantasy books. I found this book a delightful combination of them all. One point though. I know the book is fictional but do you really believe that witches worship the devil? Being a wiccan myself, i can assure you we do not believe in such a being in any form. I think thats best left to the goths!!!
I especially like the way the book dealt in teaching people to have faith in something. As this is something I have to teach in school, which the children often find hard to understand, I appreciate the way it is easily conveyed throughout the book."
ZacharyWilsey : I have read your book Shadowmancer, and I am halfway through Wormwood.... I am a very strong Christian, and I would like to compliment on your accomplishements so far. I, however, would like ask you to be sure that when you write these books you pray for God to help you to write them. The books sound very much like Christian books (not false prophets), but some of the things which you said about the books bothers me. In the Christian magazine Breakaway they said that you said that you wished that Christians had banned the books. But wouldn't that be saying something if every Christian disaproved of your book except you? You should be careful that you aren't saying that you know everything and others do not. Chances are, if all of the Christians except one said that something was bad wouldn't it be more likely that they are right and the one is wrong?...
One problem that I have is why did you call God Ryathimus and Satan Pyratheon in Shadowmancer? That is very confusing because that can make people wonder if you are preaching Christianity or some other twisted religion.... Your fellow Christian,
Harry: The atmosphere and the intensity of the situations your characters found themselves in was both compelling and captivating....Actually, my teenage son first read Shadowmancer and then Wormwood. He asked me to read them both. I was not disappointed.
A couple of questions for you:
- In both books, God seems to be a distant observer/participant in the actual story. Is this by design?
- Do you plan to "gradually" reveal God (His attributes and nature) in your forthcoming books?
- Will God and his Son play a more central/relevant role as the sagas unfold for both Shadowmancer and Wormwood?
I couldn't help but notice a review left on your website by a white witch. The Scripture referring to "being all things to all people so that I might save some" immediately came to mind. Perhaps your books are (and will be) to literature what Christian rock and contemporary music is to the world of music and entertainment. A "light" that will draw people in to the light of the truth.
John Dempster: I thought you might be interested in... the Christian Viewpoint piece for the Inverness-based Highland News published 2nd July...
"In Shadowmancer, the ultimate sources of good and evil are God on the one hand and the devil-figure Pyratheon on the other. Part of Taylor’s goal in writing the book was to engage older children with a scary page-turner, but he had another ambition as well. He feels that many children’s books are ‘anti faith’, presenting an image of a dead or senile God which is ‘deeply offensive to Jews, Christians and Muslims.’ .
"‘I wanted,’ he insists ‘to write a book where God was treated normally, and was a normal part of life, and wasn’t this strange outsider but was visibly involved in people’s lives.’ Shadowmancer doesn’t dodge the big questions of faith and of God’s mysterious silences, but it presents a passionately good, universe-ruling God who is present with those who take their stand on the side of light.
"Taylor insists that it’s not a specifically Christian story. And yet there are many clues that Riathamus, the other name by which God is known in Shadowmancer, is the person Christians know as Jesus Christ....Graham Taylor knows what he’s writing about. When he was younger, he tried druidism, magic, transcendental meditation, ‘the lot’. ‘I looked into the occult and witchcraft but it wasn’t for me. I was still itchy on the inside.’
Matthew:You have, in your 2 books, revealed more of the spiritual warfare that goes on, just as frank peretti has in this present darkness. ...
Liz Resch: What was so fantastic was the thread of truth and light going throughout the book - your description of Thomas at the altar, meeting the King has opened me up to a new and much deeper realisation of what Jesus has done for me, and I've been a follower for many years !! - thank you so much. You have also reminded me that if we are truly to believe the greatness of God - then we need to walk in his ways - for fear and worry to fall away, and to stand up, and stand firm in what we believe.... I don't want to gush - but your book has opend my eyes to even more of God. Whats brilliant too, is that I can lend it to friends - and allow the light to shine through the pages.
From a very big fan, Sarah age 14:I really love Wormwood even though the last chapter was sad. I especially wanted to thank you for writing Shadowmancer; it has brought me closer to God. Thank you so much and keep on writing!!!
Bryan Moiser: Just like Raphah I feel the power of the Almighty deep within me, always have, always will. However, I find myself moving further and further away from the Church of England. I find it a reassuring institution but a dreadful and outdated form of religion. For me God is freedom and the established church just seems like a prison. Worse than that it cannot even decide what it stands for as the latest controversy over gay priests has shown.I am a simple man and I like to keep things simple. I believe that if you try to live your life according to what Jesus said then that is challenge enough - love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself, there are no commandments greater than these. Yet the church seems to make it more complex.Am I Christian? I hesitate to say yes for any label seems to be a limitation and with God I do not feel limits. If I am a Christian then I dare look no further into other religions, yet I feel there is much to be found there. Re-incarnation makes huge sense to me. I am sure that my loving God would be only too willing to give me numerous chances to get it right. The idea of Yin and Yan - everything in balance also fascinates me and I see this mirrored in your novel - the struggle between the light and the dark....So many religions rely upon a wise and knowledgeable teacher as the spiritual guide. I do not find such a guide either in the church as a whole or locally. Therefore it is with the greatest hope that I read Shadowmancer and maybe its sequels in the hope that you are the guru I am searching for. I sense that your are one vicar to whom I could spend hours talking to.
Judith: I found it thrilling, a rattling good yarn, yet with many deeper layers and a very real spiritual feeling, loved the meeting with the shepherd in the woods part, that moved me to tears. Am so looking forward to any further books you write. Am now taking my copy of Shadowmancer to my grandchildren's home... God Bless.Anonymous: One of the things i most enjoyed was the setting as it created such an intense and corrupt atmosphere, which makes the plot more exciting! Who was the keruvim before raphah? Why did the archangel tell pyratheon the mistake he made? Is seirizzim his angel name and pyratheon the name he gave himself?
Nick:I am 9 years old... I am really enjoying reading the book so far.
Andrew:I have read and enjoyed both of your books, Shadowmancer and Wormwood. I love the way you write and feel that you are a great inspiration to me. I feel that God is closer to me than ever because of reading your books. I am doing a project for school on your book, Shadowmancer.... God Bless You,
Steph:It took my mind off some of life problems at the moment, like bullying. Its so good ive read it 3 times, everything is so imaginative, creative and exciting....
Bethany:Anyway i opened shadowmancer wary of what it would be like. The note about you living in a secluded grave yard didn't help much either! However, i got into the book fast and soon discovered the deepness within it. I love how you have naturally placed bible verses throughout the text and the ease with which it can be read. I really cannot wait to read the next ones.
Lara Nicholson:I haven't even finished the book but can only think what a great movie Shadowmancer would make.
Do you not find your parishioners questioning if you should be writing about Satanism and evil? but I suppose to know good, you have to know evil.... Can't wait for the next installment and until then I shall probably re-read Shadowmancer, His Dark Materials (What do you think of the Pullman trilogy?) and HP......
Lesley Smith: I wanted to email you to congratulate you on a wonderful novel. I'm a practising Witch and a graduate of a religious studies college so I was interest to read the book as both a Pagan and a religious scholar and I found the way in which you used Christian symbolism fascinating. I'm an avid fan of Harry Potter and a writer myself but I have found it is rare to mix Christianity (or Paganism, for that matter) with fiction in a way that makes a genuinely good book. I do hope the Muses will inspire you to write a sequel! Brightest blessings for Lughnasah,
Jonathan Barry: I'am going to introduce your book to my reading group at school. I am in year 8 in September. I also happen to be a christian but I go to united reformed church. I'm interested in strategy, Science, Astronony, Paleontology, D.N.A engineering and archaeology.
A loyal fan:Little did I know, when I checked out your book at the local library, that it would be so spiritually lifting for me. I am an avid reader of all types of books and I thought it lovely that the good Lord above picked this one for me....
"My father has been battling a type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer for 5 years now, and we just found out it has returned. But while reading your book today, the Lord spoke to me and said that the cancer has been cast out and my father will live 10 more years. Hallelujuah!!!! ...
"As Raphah reached many in this story, I pray this book will reach many who otherwise may not have been taught about the glory of God and all He can do in our lives if we just accept Him as our Saviour and let Him into our hearts. Spiritually saving messages can come from the strangest places if we just allow ourselves to be open and accepting.....
2nd letter from the above fan: God has answered our prayers yet again and we are so thankful to the Power.
C. Edwards:I was fascinated and intrigued to read that you had spent the whole of your life searching for the hidden secrets of the universe. Also I am assuming that you have studied the paranormal and folklore somewhere to be able to lecture on the subjects. May I ask where should a person go, or rather where would I find a university that covers these subjects?
I, like yourself, am interested in the mysteries. I am hedgewitch by nature and practice alone.
Joan Symons:I am not normally a ready of children's/fantasy books but bought it for my Granddchildren and ended up reading it first. ... I can't wait to hear their reaction when they have read it too. It was so lovely to find that so many elements of it were so familiar to me from the Bible. ... I am sure it will make many people think, if they pick up on the many different level it contains.
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