Monday, August 24, 2009

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

This is an ambitious work, combining history, romance, and suspense into an enveloping story, rich in detail and description. The narrator, a very unlikely protagonist, begins the story by crashing his car while under the influence, then being trapped inside while it burns around him. He is eventually rescued, although not expected to survive, due to the serious third-degree burns covering most of his body. Overnight, he has gone from being a well-paid and sought after porn star and producer to a grotesque monster, abandoned by all of his former "friends."

During his lengthy stay in the hospital, he receives a visit from a mysterious yet beautiful woman, Marianne, who claims to have known him in their previous lives. She regales him with the story of their past, in twelfth century Germany. As she is released from the hospital and continues her visits, he slowly falls in love with her. When, after months of being cared for in the burn unit, he is finally released, it is to Marianne's home that he goes for his re-entry into "normal" life.

While he settles in with Marianne, she becomes increasingly obsessed with creating her gargoyles, first spending a few days at a time creating them, but moving on to working until sheer exhaustion takes over. She claims that the gargoyles and "her masters" are hurrying her along. What will happen to our narrator when Marianne completes her final gargoyle and reaches the end of her story?

This is a story of love and loss, rebirth and renewal. Our narrator learns to open his heart to what had been previously closed. This book is both lovely and painful to read, and is so thick with storylines it seemed to take me forever to make it through...which was perfect, because it was one of those stories that I did not want to end.

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