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Taylor, G.P. Shadowmancer.

Penguin Putnam. 300p. c2003. 0-399-24256-2. $16.99. JS

Taylor, a Yorkshire parson himself, tells a tale of a small-town vicar with ambitious aspirations who ultimately sells his soul for power. Parson Demurral, the vicar of Whitby, is consumed by greed and procures through deception the Keruvim, an ancient relic that, when joined with its mate, bestows supernatural ability upon the one who wields it. Demurral has stolen, cheated, and lied in his efforts to increase his wealth and status at the expense of others. So, when the dark stranger Raphah comes ashore to reclaim the Keruvim and take it back to its rightful place across the sea, Demurral sinks to new depths, torturing and murdering those who stand in his way.

The protagonists are a pair of young teens, Thomas and Hate, who join forces with Raphah to recover the Keruvim and stop the vicar's reign of terror. A few other colorful characters, including a miller and his family and a good-hearted smuggler, pop in and out of the plot to help Kate and Thomas battle the vicar.

More Hawthorne than Dickens, the good vs. evil theme is heavily laden with fundamentalist Christian dogma. The traditional religions of early Britain as well as modern divination practices come into Taylor's line of fire. However, his message is clear--evil is always punished and only the faithful will be saved in the end. Michele Winship, Asst. Prof., Capital Univ., Columbus, OH
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Winship, Michele
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:238
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