Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Excerpt: The First Escape by GP Taylor

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The First Escape

SaltRiver (August 20, 2008)


A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include Wormwood (another New York Times bestseller which was nominated for a Quill book award), The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias the Oracle, and Mariah Mundi. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 19.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: SaltRiver (August 20, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414319479
ISBN-13: 978-1414319476



Anonymous said...

Dear Amy - this is GP Taylor writing to you - frome

I visit many schools each year for the promotion of reading. Due to these visits I found that we had a reading crisis with many children being reluctant readers. Teachers admit this is a big problem. I decided to do some research and found that children in years 5 to 9 found books that were mostly text, difficult to keep reading. They are the first of a visually stimulated society with pictures, colour and graphics playing an important part of their daily lives. Websites - computer games and the like have had a major effect on this. yet books are lagging behind - yes - we do have manga and comics - but they are not the same as chapter books.

After much thought I developed a book that has combined all of these things and much more. It has text (to the reading level of my other books and equivalent to Pullman) as well as full page illustrations - word art - graphics and manga comic strip. Each page is black bordered to keep the childs eye on the page and to mimic a computer screen (to make it familiar). The pages are tinted cream so that children with reading difficulties find it easier to read. (You can read a sample chapter at or

The book was released a week ago in the USA and here are some of the responses below. it is also getting a cult following in the UK as schools are buying it from as they have heard what it is doing for reading and encouraging reluctant readers. Schools are now asking me to visit to promote the book to children to get them reading. All schools have to do now is contact STL for copies.

I tried the book in a UK school before publication with amazing results. It was the first book one dyslexic girl had ever read.

One girl said today "When I got your book, I was so absorbed in your book that it only took me under two days to read it (I couldn't put it down!). I loved the way it was part graphic novel and part book. That really made me understand what the characters looked like. My favorite bit was when Brummagem and Muzz Elliot were fighting over the donkey! That made me laugh out loud! "

A parent said, "My 8-year-old son, Will, who's been reluctant to read chapter books despite his abilities, devoured the first Doppel-Ganger book, and then his 11-year-old brother, Alex did as well. They are very eager to know when the next book will be available! Can you please advise? "

And a teacher put this in an email today, "Re The Dopple Ganger Chronicles. It is extremely interesting to me this book was published in that format (comic/novella). I am a fifth grade teacher and have been toying with the idea of a book like that. Then, as I'm shopping in Mardel for new books for my students I find your book. Needless to say I bought it immediately! I was a reluctant reader when I was a child and comics were about the only thing I would read cover to cover without interruption. I actually read them, not just looked at pictures. I know how important the skill of reading truly is and long to pass this on to my students. Your Dopple Ganger series will be a permanent part of my classroom for sure. I only hope it is the dawn of a new format of book so others can jump on the band wagon. Thank you for your wonderful God-given creativity!"

Another parent wrote today. "The kids loveThe Dopple Ganger Chronicles! My son is almost 13, has ADHD and has a real hard time staying focused, so reading is a chore for him. He is totally into The DoppleGanger Chronicles! When he's not doing his schoolwork, he has his nose in that book! We're so happy to see him enjoying a book on his own! Thanks so much!"

British schoolgirl, Hannah Gerard had severe reading problems and had never read a book until this year…now she’s had her own writing published on the internet.
Hannah, aged 11, had a reading age of just seven and would ‘switch off’ whenever she encountered a book, as her dyslexia and special needs made reading a chore. But that all changed after best-selling author, Reverend Graham Taylor, visited her small village school in Yorkshire to test out his latest book, “The Dopple Ganger Chronicles,” which comes complete with large text and illustrations in a style similar to Japan's cult Manga comics.
Her mum, Trish, who is a nurse, was astonished., “Hannah had severe dyslexia and found reading and writing a challenge and was reluctant to pick up a book. Her twin, Rebekah, was an avid bookworm - the exact opposite of Hannah.
“But the visit to the school and her copy of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles inspired her; the illustrations and words in the book somehow captured her imagination. The central characters in the book are identical twins, but Hannah has never mentioned the twin aspect as something that inspired her. It was the first time that she’d ever grasped a book, and she read it all from cover to cover and even wrote a final chapter of her own.
“The teachers were astonished and asked her to read her final paragraphs in the ‘Sharing Assembly’ and it was such a moving experience for us as parents. It was such a proud moment for us as we’d known how much she’d struggled with reading.”
Reverend Taylor, who self-published his first best selling book, “Shadowmancer,” after selling his motorbike for £3,000, said, “Hannah is inspirational in her own right – she’s written a tremendous ending [to the book]. I decided to publish her ending on the internet as a tribute to her undoubted talent. I’ll be looking out for her on the best seller lists when she leaves school. She’s showed a fabulous improvement to the teachers at school and I think she deserves all the credit.”
“Since [Reverend Graham’s visit], Hannah has developed her reading and writing skills to such an extent that she no longer needs extra support in her lessons,” said her mum. “Her reading age has rocketed by four years in less than twelve months. She is a member of the library and is no longer frightened of using the computer to find out more information about her favourite subjects – the Egyptians, archaeology and Dr Who.
“It was the mixture of words and illustrations [in The Dopple Ganger Chronicles] that made her want to read it. And now she's talking about reading Harry Potter next - it's almost a miracle. When Reverend Taylor published her final chapter on the internet, that gave her another tremendous boost.
“She always puts 200 per cent into everything, but she still has to concentrate and work hard. They’ve done their SATS this year and Hannah has come up to the level that is required – which has been a massive jump for her. But since reading the book, Hannah has improved significantly above most of the children that are around her.”
Her dad, Andrew, an aviation buyer is delighted. “Hannah has come on in leaps and bounds – it’s been brilliant. At one point her peers were leaving her behind as their reading improved and that made it worse for her. Hannah was the child who never put her hand up in class or during discussions, but now she is the opposite. It’s a fantastic transformation.”
Jenny Hartley, her head at Hackness Primary School, said, “There has been a huge improvement. Hannah wasn’t even reading before this at anywhere near age-related expectations. The catalyst for her improvement was the book. Graham was extremely enthusiastic and inspirational on his visit. A lot of the children enjoyed the book, but it really captured her interest and imagination.”
Of her success, Hannah remains modest. “The book really helped me with how I read, but reading is good now. I used to find the words hard, but I am not afraid to ask for help now.”

After a school visit a teacher in an ethnic mixed school in a social deprivation area said. "You visited our school last October (2007)St Peter's C.E Primary in Ashton. It was amazing the impact that your visit had on the children's reading habits and their love of reading. Some of my boys wouldn't let go of the copies of Mariah Mundi. We researched your life to write biographies (which helped as the SAT's writing was a biography this year!)
The pleasure of reading grew and we had a lunchtime reading club -swapping and sharing your books among others. One child in my class was telling everyone that he was the one to lend me Salamder Street (brilliant - so glad the story has a sequel) We entered the Reading Connects competition and have been invited to add our story to the website. Your visit was the catalyst we needed to inspire the children.
My year 6 class exceeded their reading targets and we had excellent SAT's results in reading. I do feel that this was achieved through the love of books, discussing them, sharing them and analysing characters from books, rather than teaching to the test. I had to send a message to you to say thank-you for inspiring the children and the teachers. Your visit was a wonderful experience - one the children and myself will never forget. I hope one day in the future you may visit our school again."

Book Review Teen Reads

THE FIRST ESCAPE: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, Book One
G. P. Taylor
SaltRiver/Tyndale House Publishers
Fantasy/Action & Adventure
ISBN: 9781414319476
288 pages

Internationally bestselling author G. P. Taylor has entered brand-new territory with his fresh and riveting "illustra-novella" featuring three orphans with enough spirit, spunk and sass to overcome just about any villain or criminal activity out there. Taylor, who is now world famous for his beloved novels SHADOWMANCER, THE SHADOWMANCER RETURNS, WORMWOOD and TERSIAS THE ORACLE, now offers his audience a new type of reading experience. The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, which is told alternately in graphic novel format and plain text with occasional illustrations, is intriguing, beguiling and keeps the pages turning almost by its engaging format alone.

Yet Taylor's storyline is what will most grab and maintain his fans' attention. Like all his other works, THE FIRST ESCAPE is chock-full of amazing twists and turns that take readers by surprise with their adventurous impact and then equally subtle message of right/wrong and spirituality. Taylor opens this eye-appealing story with an eerie insider's peek into the dreary and sometimes dangerous life in Isambard Dunstan's School for Wayward Children. With a lightning blast thrown in for good measure, the scene is set for dark bodings of future events.

Sadie and Saskia Dopple, identical twin inhabitants of this dreadful establishment, run the show, so to speak, over the other more compliant orphans. By wit and daring, these two sisters find novel ways of wreaking havoc upon the child-hating cook, Mrs. Omeron, and the headmistress, Miss Rimmer. When they can't stand the temptation any longer, the twins give in to fellow orphan-inmate Erik Morrissey Ganger, who challenges them to break the rules. Little do Sadie and Saskia realize that this will set in motion an entire train of events that will first separate them and then place them in grave danger.

Enter the wealthy and eccentric writer Muzz Elliott, who arrives at the school and asks the girls to smile and open their mouths. One must go, while the other stays. Sadie chooses for her sister's sake, so Saskia is whisked away in Muzz's chauffer-driven car by Brummagem, the formerly faithful driver now turned traitor. Muzz's home is frightening at best, and Saskia is confronted with various otherworldly forces that try to influence her into compliance. Soon, Saskia is enmeshed in a murderous scheme in which she tries to escape from a number of evil characters attempting to find a missing inheritance and who will not stop at killing Saskia and Muzz to get at the treasure. While she is trying to stay alive, Sadie and Erik embark on their own adventure involving a completely different set of combatants.

The two suddenly friends decide to trust one another. They make a run for it from the school and are chased down by police and a huge dog, and fall into the hands of a crazed illusionist and deranged madman. With some luck, Sadie and Erik get away from Potemkin and rush to the aid of Saskia. Once they get to Muzz’s mansion, more creepy events and dangers ensue. But truth rules over all. By the final page, many of the wrongs have been righted, and a new fellowship of friends is formed with the three orphans and Muzz.

Fun, lighthearted and comical, readers will truly appreciate Taylor's newest offering, anticipate future installments in this unique six-book series and, strangely enough, find themselves recalling many of the life lessons in THE FIRST ESCAPE.

--- Reviewed by Michele Howe

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Anonymous said...

ooops wrong email

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