The Stranger's Guide to Talliston
By John Tarrow
A Young Adult fantasy adventure inspired by 'Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home', Talliston House & Gardens
Publication date: July 2019Buy
Our Gracious Thanks!
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The Butterfly Edition
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The Oak Edition
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Two Collectable editions
The Ship Edition
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The Labyrinth Edition
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The Bronze Key To Talliston – Under 16s Visit
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The Copper Key To Talliston – Tea & Tour for Two
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The Silver Key To Talliston – Tour & Stayover for Two
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The Golden Key To Talliston – Dinner & Stayover for Four
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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 foes, 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.
John Tarrow is an English novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies. His extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world. His collaboration with Talliston House & Gardens weaves together its 13 rooms into a rich narrative and introduces us to an ordinary boy who discovers the secret to achieving the extraordinary.
THE BOY LIVED ALL ALONE in an old abandoned school bus in the middle of a wooded roundabout. His father had once called it the magic roundabout, but the boy didn’t know why. He wanted to believe in magic, just like his mother. But if magic did exist, it certainly didn’t exist anywhere around here. The boy’s name was Joseph, but everyone called him Joe. By everyone, this meant his father and mother as Joe didn’t know anyone else. For as long as he could remember, Joe’s parents had been on the run. They never stayed anywhere for very long, and everywhere they did, they found a safe house like the bus where they could lie low in emergencies. The roundabout was large and densely packed with trees so tall that travellers to the motorway or the airport or the nearby villages and towns never knew the boy and the bus were there at all. Like the wood, the bus was there long before the overpass, the roads and the tarmac that surrounded it, and now both the trees and the vehicle were intertwined. His father said the bus was hiding in plain sight, and the boy knew everything there was to know about that. He spent every day hiding in plain sight.
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.
- 14th May 2021 SPRING NEWS FROM THE TALLISTON LABYRINTH: FESTIVALS, REOPENING & NEW BOOK LAUNCH
Great to be welcoming guests back to the house and gardens which are looking spectacular as they start to bloom for the new year. Two items of news for you this time:
JOHN TARROW at the ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL
One of the hardest parts of lockdown was the cancelling of a whole host of school visits, book group talks, conventions and book festival appearances. So it was wonderful news that The…7th December 2020 WINTER NEWS FROM THE TALLISTON LABYRINTH
As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to get in one more update with news of what is happening with the books, house and gardens. On the publication front everything is in hiatus as the sequel and non-fiction manuscripts await next steps. Though there has been lots of work creating video and behind-the-scenes content for The Talliston Fellowship and setting the house for our faerie tale installation…8th September 2020 LATEST NEWS FROM TALLISTON HOUSE & GARDENS
This video is a sneak peek of just one of the amazing exclusive content available to members of The Talliston Fellowship.
It has been over a year since the publication of The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston – and what a year it’s been! Now lockdown is beginning to ease, I thought I would give everyone an update on what is happening and how to keep involved with all things Talliston.
VISITING…15th August 2019 HAVE YOU ENJOYED READING THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON?
- John Tarrow at the Forbidden Planet book signing.
In the few weeks since launch, The Stranger's Guide To Talliston has had a wonderful welcome to the reading world. We've appreared on the BBC and ITV, garnered a raft of great reviews, wowed at the London Film & Comic Con / YA Lit Con and had some great readers' feedback. So, as Worldcon Dublin starts today – and every science fiction…11th July 2019 OUT TODAY! THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON IS ONLINE & INSTORE!
Well, this is the end of a quite remarkable journey – and perhaps the beginning of a new one.
Today The Stranger's Guide To Talliston is launched online and instores across the UK, Europe and the USA. This week we have featured on television, radio, print and digital channels and we are just two weeks away from appearing at the London Film and Comic Con. This event has close to 100,000 attendees…29th April 2019 THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON HAS ARRIVED!
Talliston House & Gardens today took delivery of our author copies of The Stranger's Guide to Talliston novels. These are the first of the 500 limited editions and supporters should receive their copies next week.
This really does complete the Talliston project, offering a story narrative to the rooms of the house and gardens. It also looks like an artefact from the house – a book to grace…16th April 2019 THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON PUBLICATION DATE & BOOK LAUNCH
As you will have read, The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston is now printing and the 500 limited edition copies are expected to be in the UK warehouses by the last day in April 2019. While the trade hardback is not set to be released for another two months (11th July 2019) for the summer, your copies that you have waited so long to receive will be with you in the first days of May 2019.
I would…26th March 2019 THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON COVER REVEAL, PUBLICATION DATE & A NEW ADVENTURE...
The first months of 2019 have been a whirl of activity as we finalised the manuscript, dustcover, endpapers, foil hardback cover image, internal artwork – and organised The Golden Key To Talliston annual prize draw, Stranger’s Guide tours of the house & gardens, and updated Tarrow.co.uk website with the branded artworks, images and information.
I would personally like to thank the team of editors…1st March 2019 LAST CHANCE TO OWN! LIMITED EDITION CLOSES MIDNIGHT ON SUNDAY 3RD MARCH
A sneak peak of the beautiful foil golden raven on the dustjacket of the Stranger's Guide.
At midnight on Sunday 3rd March advanced orders of the limited edition of THE STRANGER”S GUIDE TO TALLISTON will close. So if you or anyone you know would like to own one of only 500 special edition hardbacks, then this is the final chance.
Having seen the artwork and internal pages, this is truly…19th December 2018 LAST CHANCE TO OWN! SUPPORTERS' LIST CLOSES IN THREE WEEKS!
Advanced orders of the special edition of THE STRANGER”S GUIDE TO TALLISTON close at midnight (GMT) on 6th January 2019.
We are now a few weeks away from entering the final stage of production, and the publishers are closing the supporters list at midnight on Twelfth Night 2019.
Don't miss out as this version of the book will never be sold elsewhere and will never be republished.
The…15th November 2018 LATEST NEWS FROM THE LABYRINTH: THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF TALLISTON
The process of bringing a final manuscript to bookshops is not a swift one. With over 100,00 words to copy edit, proof and layout there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to bring you your special edition version of The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston. Currently the covers are being crafted and the story is finished editing and will soon be laid out and ready for that final proof.
It seems…24th August 2018 EXPLORING THE THREE CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON
With the story & development edit done, cover briefed and the copy edit in progress, The Stranger's Guide To Talliston is well on its way for publication. While we work to make this special edition of the book, I wanted to share the core tenets or principles behind Joe's journey through the labyrinth. To illustrate these, here are three pages from the recent talk I gave at the Finchingfield Guidhall…3rd July 2018 WANT TO READ THE ACTUAL STRANGER’S GUIDE? HERE’S YOUR CHANCE!
Help The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston reach 125% funding and everyone who has pledged receives the complete text of the guidebook as an exclusive free gift!
On 20th July 2018, Netflix launches a new 12-part interior design series, Amazing Interiors to its subscribers – and Talliston House & Gardens is proud to be featured in the line up of the most fantastical properties from around the world…19th June 2018 LOCATIONS FROM THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON
It has been a busy two months since we hit 100% as the grand task of novel development with the publisher, editors and the creative team continues. Golden labyrinths are being designed, the story has undergone a professional edit, and whispers of cover designs are being heard. At this stage a publication date is not far from being announced – and here at Talliston we have been busy contacting all…1st April 2018 WE ARE AT 100%!
A great big thank you to everyone who has supported The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston.
To those who pledged for a book.
To those who shared, blogged, tweeted and otherwise spread the word around the globe.
To those who volunteered to help run events to raise money, or tell stories, or bake pizzas from scratch.
To those groups and associations who invited me to come and speak to…30th March 2018 PAGES FROM THE STRANGER'S GUIDE: A SHORT SURVIVAL GUIDE
After the sensational news that The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston has reached 83% funding today, there is ever more necessity to quickly prepare you, Gentle Reader, for your imminent journey into the dark and dangerous labyrinth of the house & gardens. So, without further bluster...
+++WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BECOME LOST IN THE WORLDS…14th March 2018 PAGES FROM THE STRANGER'S GUIDE: ENTERING THE LABYRINTH
And so the time approaches for your first journey into the timeless no-man's land that lies within Talliston. Here are a few more words of wisdom for that journeying from The Stranger's Guide...
+++PREPARING FOR YOUR JOURNEY+++
Before entering the immortal labyrinth of the house it is essential that you spend time in preparation for your adventuring. Think of this as with the same respect as…1st March 2018 PAGES FROM THE STRANGER'S GUIDE: IN PREPARATION FOR YOUR JOURNEY
As we race to our halfway milestone, I thought it about time to start preparing you, gentle reader, for your eventual journey into the dark and dangerous labyrinth of the house & gardens. And where better to start than the pages of The Stranger's Guide itself. After all, this mysterious guidebook was written for this exact purpose.
For these updates, I want to look at the guidebook Joe finds within…23rd February 2018 STORIES & PIZZA at TALLISTON HOUSE & GARDENS
Our two favourite things. In one fabulous evening.
On Saturday 10 March 2018 from 18:00 at Talliston, CM6 1DU, join your personal storyteller and other guests for a creative journey through the extraordianry house of the novel. In certain rooms, tales are told and when you get to the kitchen you eat delicious homemade pizza. Limited to 20 places. Half already booked.
THE STORIES…8th February 2018 A BIG THANKS TO THE EARLY SUPPORTERS!
Just hit 9%! Wonderful, as we really haven't even started to get this out there! Please share and help me make it to 10% by the end of our first week.
It would also help a lot to get people sharing the book link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, your own personal networks, and with anyone who you think might be interested in reading such a book – this really helps to spread the word.…
These people are helping to fund The Stranger's Guide to Talliston.
Rhel ná DecVandé
Tracy Tracy Masters