The Stranger's Guide to Talliston

By John Tarrow

A Young Adult fantasy adventure inspired by 'Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home', Talliston House & Gardens

Friday, 30 March 2018


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...

Click here to explore the labyrinth of the house and gardens.


Walking the labyrinth is to experience time out of mind. The entire unimaginable structure is a glass-fronted shadow-box world, transfixed forever behind glass; a miniature land of allusive memory. The pathways that link each location are also between time, with the entire labyrinth existing between the walls of any reality which the reader is familiar. Hence the need to spotlight the danger of journeying within it. This is like no house anyone has ever entered. It is not a single house, but a multitude of houses, each from a different time and places. Built from the elements it destroys and confounds any notions of what a dwelling is – and presents us with something else entirely. This is more than a house, more than a row of houses or an entire lost city. This is a realm of unimaginable depth, width and breadth.

That is why I have created this journal, this guide to survival, for if I make a wrong turn, or fall foul to the tricks, traps and blackguards of this landscape, some knowledge of all I have discovered remains. To this end, here are some key points to take with you:

1/. A clear head will find itself. Merely being out of sight of the time and place that you find familiar gives many a man the creeps & jitters – a feeling of being disconnected utterly from all you know. A natural one and dangerous, also. Never yield to it. In the heights and hollows of this labyrinth the grip of panic is often the grip of death.

2/. Finding oneself when lost is the true test of a man. If you hold this guide you may save yourself by sheer pluck and presence of mind. Consult herein to find the familiar from the stranger.

3/. Loss of mental control is more fatal than lack of food, water,, clothing or proximity of wild beasts. The man who keeps his head has the best chance to come through this ordeal safely.

4/. The following rules are to be kept foremost and first in one’s mind when traversing this dark kingdom:

• If you become lost do not yell, run, worry or quit.

• Do not wander aimless or take the first path that is presented. Make certain it is the right path.

• Stop, seat yourself sown and use your head, not your legs.

• If injured, consult the chapter Times You Will Visit to seek closets aid so far discovered.

• If caught by night, fog or storm, sop at once and find a sheltered spot. Get warm and gather plenty of dry fuel for a fire.

5/. If you feel or know your trail is discovered, if you are hunted by any of the denizens of this place’s dark regions – leave that time & place as quickly as you may. For all spore is lost with the crossing between locations.

Click here to explore the labyrinth of the house and gardens.

A note of clarity: these images and text are not from the novel. They refer to the book within the book. In the story, thirteen-year-old Joe finds this leather-bound volume in The Old Rectory in 1852. While I was writing Joe's adventures, I was also creating the guidebook he carried. Maybe one day this companion will exist, but for now there is one copy, kept at Talliston. To this end, I will refer to real novel as The Stranger's Guide To Talliston and the fictitious guidebook as The Stranger's Guide. Confused? Think The Book of Lost Things... and you're there!

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