Monday, August 18, 2008

Debut Showcase: The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
(Amazon UK, Canada)
by Andrew Davidson (website, other website)
Excerpt (also available as PDF)

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.

Gosh, I don't know what to think about this one. The narrator doesn't sound like he'd be very likable at first; maybe he is compelling otherwise. But the idea of the carefully planned suicide made me sit up. One 0f the websites is, and you might think that I linked there mistakenly; I did not. Scroll down to see the relevance to this novel.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I've been posting giveaways for this almost non-stop at my Win a Book blog. The buzz is huge. Can it live up to it, though?

I'm willing to find out!

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Wow!!!! Sounds like a redemptive novel with temptations to fall back into sin and despair when the human crutch is gone..and the enabler is present. Sounds good. Perhaps a character development novel. -C

Tia Nevitt said...

Susan, I've noticed that hardcover debuts get a lot of buzz. Paperback debuts--whether trade or mass market--not so much. That's why I usually concentrate on the trade or paperback debuts.

I think you nailed it, Carole. I'll be on the lookout for reviews of this one.

Maria said...

I hate that cover. It's just awful IMO. Maybe it's the whole tatoo idea? I dunno. I hate it.

Tia Nevitt said...

I hate tattoo covers as well. I'm just old enough to have missed the whole tattoo craze, so such covers don't do anything for me.

Is it the sort of cover you'd be embarrassed to be seen with?