Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle was recommended to me by my Codex novel writing buddy (*waves to Patty*) and when I found out it was written by an ex ESL teacher who worked in Japan, you KNOW I had to read it.

And oh, it was nice.

The story starts with a horrific car accident wherein the narrator is badly, badly burned. His life is radically changed, and things look pretty awful for him until a strange woman, a sculptor, begins visiting him in the hospital.

She says she knows him from a different life, and proceeds to woo him back to embracing life again by telling him four stories of lovers. (and in the Japanese story, he gets details and tone right, so that made me happy.)

But all is not as it might seem, and the woman has secrets of her own to hide.

The main character’s voice is compelling and real, and along with him, I found myself fascinated by the historical details (mediveval germany, victorian england, medieval Japan, and viking period iceland) and the stories of the lovers.

This book does not pull any punches. The fates of the lovers are not happily ever after, and the ending of the book was satisfying, but realistically bitter.

Highly, highly Recommended to ALL, even those people who do not particularly care for the fantastic genre, as the fantastic bits are the kind of “is it magical or is it just her schizophrenia?” kind.