If you’re the kind of person who has fallen in love with a Grimm’s fairy tale, delighted over Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, or dreamed of flying with Peter Pan to Neverland, you’ve arrived at the right doorway. Talliston is a place you’ve only ever seen in your dreams; a world of magic and imagination like nowhere else on earth. A house where Time never treads….
DANGEROUS BUILDING. KEEP OUT!
Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers The Stranger’s Guide, a cryptic book charting this immense no-man’s land and his only map through its dark and dangerous puzzle of doors and rooms. Hunted by sinister forces, Joe is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What lies at the labyrinth’s centre and will it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?
Equal parts Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, His Dark Materials and The Lion, Witch And The Wardrobe, The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston is a classic tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians lies the story of children discovering the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.
A FANTASTICAL JOURNEY
The setting for this novel is a real-life house that's been on quite an extraordinary journey itself. It began in 1990, with the UK’s most ordinary house: a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex. Over the next 25 years, more than 130 volunteers, artists and artisans transformed it into Talliston House & Gardens. Now that Talliston is internationally famous and dubbed 'Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home' (The Sunday Times), it has inspired this amazing adventure.
THE TALLISTON FELLOWSHIP
Talliston is an exploration of the concept of the extraordinary within the ordinary. It’s about realising how we each have inside us the power to be whatever we want and to live any life we can imagine. Already the house is a thriving community of writers, artists and artisans – and appeals to anyone who yearns an escape from the mundane modern world into a life made magical.
On the night of the attack, his father’s last words to him were “Go, son, run! Go to the hideout and never look back. We’ll get there when we can.” Joe had done as he said, and he hadn’t seen them since. That was a very long time ago, but as he had no electricity to power anything, he didn’t know the date, and sometimes not even the day of the week. The boy could not be certain how long he had been living rough in the bus. All summer at least. Not that time actually mattered in his life. Now there was just the light and the dark. He got up when he woke and went to bed when it got too dark to see or do anything. Joe spent every night fearing his parents would ever come back for him.
And every day Joe spent following The Rules.
To keep him safe, his father had made his son memorise a whole heap of dos and don’ts. This wasn’t the usual things like ‘Always Eat At The Table’ and ‘Don’t Jump On The Sofas’. This was strange stuff like, ‘Formulate Contingency Escape Routes’ and ‘If It Howls, Feed It’. Over time, Joe had simplified that list and now it looked like this:
RULE #1: NOWHERE IS SAFE.
RULE #2: ALWAYS HAVE A WAY OUT.
RULE #3: BE INVISIBLE.
RULE #4: DON’T MAKE FRIENDS.
RULE #5: DO NOT TALK TO DEAD PEOPLE.
Then there was the most important rule of all. The One Rule To Ring Them All. The rule Joe must never break.
A GOOD BOY TAKES HIS MEDICINE.
Joe had been born sick. He had a rare disease that had a very long name and meant that if the boy placed too much strain on his body, his heart would break and he would die. To treat this condition, Joe had a bottle of medication that he had to take every thirteen hours. No matter if it was midnight or breakfast or when Joe was in the bath or taking a dump. Joe wore a clockwork timer around his neck and when the countdown reached zero, wherever he was, whatever he was doing, he had to take his medication. It was another rule on top of all the other rules. The rules that governed every day of his stupid existence. Joe lived his life by these two truths: The Rules kept him safe and The Medicine kept him alive.
Which had been all well and good until today. Because this afternoon he had drained the last mouthful of the thick, white, foul-tasting liquid. Now the ribbed brown bottle was empty and he had to get some more. Automatically Joe had twisted the timer back to thirteen and it began its countdown, quietly ticking away his final hours.
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