Blog Tour, Middle Grade Fiction

Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor ~ Extract Blog Tour

It is such a privilege to welcome author Thomas Taylor to Scope for Imagination for the Shadowghast extract blog tour. Shadowghast is the third book in the fantastic Eerie-on-Sea series. It published on the 2nd of September 2021. Don’t miss this deliciously spooky book and its predecessors – Malamander & Gargantis!

Now, curl up and enjoy this taste of Shadowghast!

Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor

Chapter 1

All Hallows Eve

Do you remember your first Ghastly Night?

The first time you saw Eerie-on-Sea’s special Halloween show?

The first time you gathered on the pier with your friends and family, and huddled in the cold night air – and the glow of the manglewick candles – as you waited for the magic to begin?­

Perhaps you were carried there on your dad’s shoulders, toffee apple in one hand, sparkler in the other? Or perhaps you peeked from snug inside your mum’s coat as the puppet master lit the lantern.

Remember how you blinked in the beam of eerie light?

Remember how the strange fumes tickled your nose?

Remember how you gasped in wonder as the showman’s hands conjured puppets of shadow – forms and phantasmagoria that crept and capered and danced above you in the smoky autumn air?

And did you see it?

Did you catch a glimpse of that extra shadow – one not made by the skilful showman’s fingers?

A shadow not cast by anything at all?

A crooked figure, cavorting in dark delight at the edge of the lantern’s beam, never – when you turned to look – quite where you thought it was, but always there, hunting, tormenting, snatching the showman’s shadow puppets one by one till the show was ended.

And the smoke curled away to nothing.

And all the shadows were gone.

And no sound remained but the hiss of the lantern and the creak of the pier and the churn of the endless sea.

Well? Do you remember?

Did you ever see the Shadowghast?

But what am I saying?

Of course you didn’t!

You’ve probably never even heard of Ghastly Night, or manglewick candles, or any of it.

Unless, that is, you’ve been to Eerie-on-Sea before, and asked too many questions. But even then, I’m sure you’d have forgotten this strange tradition of ours, falling as it does on the night the rest of the world knows as Halloween. Like most people, at this time of year you’re probably too busy carving pumpkins or planning your trick-or-treat costume to pay much attention to the funny old ways of a little seaside town. Too busy make-believing in goblins and ghosts to worry about the one legend of a bad spirit that might actually be true.

And that’s fine.

For you.

But if you lived in Eerie, you’d see it differently. If you stayed behind when the summer tourists left, and the candy-coloured signs of seaside fun faded into the dark of winter, you’d know. You, too, would hurry a little faster through the blustery streets as the days grew shorter and the shadows long. And when the end of October finally arrived, you’d put up a manglewick candle for protection too.

Just in case.

Just in case this is the year that Ghastly Night is forgotten and no showman lights a lantern on the pier to conjure shadow puppets in offering to the dark. For if that should ever happen, so folks say, the Shadowghast – enraged by the insult – would hunt instead for the shadows of the living.

But I see you’re smiling.

You’re still thinking the Shadowghast is nothing more than a silly superstition.

No more than a trick of the light.

Only, remember this: at the heart of every legend is a spark of truth. And when the sunlight dies and you’re running from the shadows through the deepening streets of Eerie-on-Sea, a spark – no matter how small – is sometimes all you need.

Unless that trick of the light is actually a trick of the dark.

My Review:

It’s October in Eerie-on-Sea and the nights are drawing in. Ghastly Night is approaching – a night when a shadowy story threatens to take control of the town. In this third book in the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series, Shadowghast is a monster you definitely don’t want to meet on a dark night!

Herbert Lemon is still busy in his post as Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. It’s the end of the summer season and Cheerie-on-Sea is becoming Eerie once more. When a strange troupe of actors arrive to perform for the traditional Ghastly Night, Herbie ends up with more than he ever imagined. Why does this mysterious raven-haired woman know his name and why does she want to meet with him in Lady Kraken’s private rooms? It looks like Herbie’s life may never be the same again.

Spunky Violet Parma knows that a problem shared isn’t really a problem at all – it’s an adventure. She’s ready to help and shed some logical perspective on some shocking revelations about Herbie’s past. With question after question, she is ready to unpeel the layers of mystery and discover the truth within.

All of my favourite parts of Eerie-on-Sea return in this magical tale of the creepiest of folklore, dangerous villains and closely guarded secrets: the Eerie Book Dispensary with the imposing Mermonkey, Erwin the wise bookshop cat, Clermit the clockwork Hermit crab, the wonderful Jenny Hanniver and the irreplaceable Mrs Fossil.  A suspicious magician, haunted arcade games and unexplored tunnels are added to the mix to reveal the deepest secrets of Eerie-on-Sea and a Ghastly Night shadow puppet show that will change the town forever!

I devoured this book in one afternoon as I was carried away with Herbie and Violet on an edge-of-my seat adventure. I gasped in shock and rushed on to find out what was going to happen to this wonderful pair, all the time not wanting the story to end. I can’t wait to go back and read it again with my children. I’m sure once it’s published, this will be an audible bedtime favourite for my three. We often hear the tell-tale words of Malamander and Gargantis drifting from their bedrooms as they settle down for the night – dreaming of Eerie-on-Sea.

Thank you to Walker Books for a sneak peek at this incredible book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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