Tersias

Tersias

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my review of these novels [here] and [here].

Tersias was written by G.P. Taylor and first published in 2005. It is a Christian horror story set in an alternate version of Georgian London and forms the third part of The Shadowmancer Quartet. This novel was preceded by Shadowmancer (2002) and Wormwood (2004) and followed by The Shadowmancer Returns: Curse of Salamander Street (2006). Although it technically follows on from the events of Wormwood, Tersias does not contain any of the same characters or require any knowledge of the events of its precursor and so could be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

The comet Wormwood has now passed and London escaped destruction, however the city has still fallen into decay. Fallen chunks of ice have destroyed many of the major landmarks and left a majority of the city dwellers too frightened to return. Those that remain live a life of constant debauchery and crime – circuses perform in the streets and beggars and thieves haunt the shadows. It is not long before something worse still begins to rise.

When the failed magician Magnus Malachi purchases Tersias – a blind twelve year old boy – he originally hopes to use the boy’s disability to line his pockets. However, he realises that Tersias is much more valuable when he finds that the boy has visions of the future. An invisible creature known only as the Wretchkin comes to Tersias and whispers the answers to questions in his ear, all of which turn out to be true. Seeing that he could easily make his fortune Malachi puts the boy on display, however this quickly draws the attention of some very dangerous men.

Lord Malpas has just been robbed by a pair of highwayman – teenage Jonah Ketch and his partner-in-crime, Tara. They have taken from him two powerful artefacts and he desperately needs them back. The crazed zealot Solomon also has an interest in Tersias’s power as he believes that the oracle is destined to be at his side when London finally falls to its vices – an end that he intends to spur through use of his genetically engineered monsters. While they all seek to use Tersias for their own ends, a worry lies in the boy’s mind. Just what is the Wretchkin and is it a being of good or evil?

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Wormwood

Wormwood

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Shadowmancer. You can read my review of this novel [here].

As you may have noticed, I like to find something good in every novel. Even if I don’t enjoy a book on the whole, I still try to look for that little ray of sunshine that made the story more bearable. There was only one novel that was so bad that I found myself unable to stick to this ethos – the ugly, hate-filled mess known as Shadowmancer. This is its sequel.

Wormwood was written by G.P. Taylor and first published in 2004. It forms the second part of The Shadowmancer Quartet – preceded by Shadowmancer (2002) and followed by Tersias (2005) and The Shadowmancer Returns: Curse of Salamander Street (2006). Although it does follow on from the events of Shadowmancer, Wormwood largely stands alone and so can for the most part by read and understood without reference to its precursor.

The novel is set in 18th Century London and focuses on Sarian Blake, a scientist who has recently come into possession of an ancient text known only as the Nemorensis. In this book is reported to be written all of the secrets of the universe and, through studying it, Blake learns that a comet called Wormwood will soon strike the city, poisoning the water and killing most of the populous.

Torn between wanting to warn the people of London and just leaving them to be destroyed, Blake continues to study the comet. However, he is not the only person who knows about the existence of the book. Far beneath London, a shadowy cabal of animal-masked magi plot to steal the Nemorensis. Led by the beautiful Yerzinia, they befriend Blake’s serving girl (Agetta) and trick her into helping them.

Although Blake is oblivious to their scheming, he still senses that something is amiss and knows that he must keep the Nemorensis safe. It is the only way that he can learn more about Wormwood and in doing so prove his genius to his peers.

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Shadowmancer

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Shadowmancer was written by G.P. Taylor and was first published in 2003. It has a direct sequel which bares the slightly less epic title of The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street and two indirect sequels – Wormwood and Tersias. Shadowmancer alone has sold millions of copies worldwide. And I hate it.

This may feel like a very strong stance to take, especially as this is only my second review. Believe me, I approached this book really wanting to like it but it is unfortunately not the story for me. Let me tell you why.

The story of Shadowmancer is largely set in the villages surrounding Whitby. It focuses on the adventure of three youths – Thomas, Kate and Raphah – and a smuggler called Jacob Crane as they attempt to thwart the evil machinations of a corrupt parson.

The preacher in question, Obadiah Demurral, has gradually grown corrupt over the years and has rebelled against God (called Riathamus in the novel) and instead sworn loyalty to Lucifer (referred to as Pyratheon) in attempt to seize all power for himself and thus force Riathamus to kneel before him. In order to do this, he needs to find two mystical artifacts called the Keruvim and time is running short for humanity as he already has one in his possession.

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