In a medieval world where love potions where the of the day, and medical practices where often cruel and harmful, the male protagonist of the book, the Burned Man, remains relevant and mysterious through his quality of being marked forever by fire. Andrew Davidson's Gargoyle is a tale of love and passion that transcends time and catapults readers into German medieval history.
The Gargoyle novel is the opera prima of Canadian author Andrew Davidson. Davidson, born in 1969, has a B.A. in English literature from the University of British Columbia, and worked as a teacher in Japan. The Gargoyle is a psychological thriller about love, religion, mental illness and medieval history, which unfolds in two parallel story lines that converge at the end. The main plot of The Gargoyle book has to do with a burn victim that is visited by a sculptress named Marianne, who assures him that they were lovers in medieval Germany. The Burned man, as he is known, has drug problems both before and after his accident, and also becomes suicidal, but in true Scheherazade style, the woman spins a tale that convinces the man to live. Below is a brief summary by thegargoylestl.com.
The second story line in The Gargoyle novel concerns the tale told by Marianne, which protagonists are both herself and the Burned Man. This story takes place at a 14th century German monastery called Engelthal, or Valley of the Angels. As a baby, Marianne is found and raised by the nuns, until her seemingly innate knowledge of languages lands her a job as a scribe. Several years later, the Burned Man arrives at the monastery, where his injuries are cared for by Marianne. It is revealed that the members of the mercenary troop to which the man belonged are looking for him. Once he has recovered, he and Marianne abscond from the monastery and start a new married life. They run into one of the Man's former brother in arms, who too is looking to desert. A while later, the three are living together, but soon found themselves hunted down by the mercenaries. The troop manages to capture and execute both men, and chase a pregnant Marianne until she falls through a frozen river, where some sort of deux ex machina apparently grants her not only the ability to evade her persecutors, but also the power live to present times where she finds the reincarnation of her erstwhile lover in the person of the Gargoyle book's protagonist.
In terms of content, there is not too much novelty in The Gargoyle novel. The idea that love is so powerful a feeling that it endures through the centuries was already explored in Coppola's film Bram Stoker's Dracula, and the relationship between a woman caring for a badly burned patient was expounded in the award winning movie The English Patient. Furthermore, Andrew Davidson draws heavily from Dante's Inferno as well. On the other hand, this book is the printed equivalent of a summer blockbuster, meaning that many people will read it and enjoy it while it lasts. As a matter of fact, the author inked a deal to publish the novel in 20 plus countries around the world.