From the New York Times bestselling author of the Deryni series-an enchanting new fantasy set in contemporary Dublinhellip; Dublin is not the city it once was. Tourists crowd the ancient buildings and swarm the cobblestone streets; hooligans steal artifacts from newly-remodeled cathedrals. In these changing, troubling times, history is a mere curiosity; nostalgia, a cheap commodity. But there are still those who long for what used to be. They perch in dark alcoves high above the bustling streets. They watch. They listen. And they wait. Everything is different. As Padraig keeps watch over St. Patrick's Cathedral, he remembers what Dublin was like before the tourists descended, before the renovations started, before he was a gargoyle. Back in the days of the Old Testament, he was an avenging angel, righteous and ruthless, fierce and feared. Now he guards a church, and tries to forget. Nothing is sacred. One cold December night, vandals break into St. Patrick's. Paddy melts into the darkness in search of revenge-and with the help of an elderly man named Francis Templeton, he finds it.
Young adults will best appreciate this light, sentimental fantasy about the gargoyles who watch over the churches of Dublin, whether Catholic, Protestant or deconsecrated, from bestselling veteran Kurtz (the Deryni series, etc.). More mature readers, on the other hand, may be put off by the simplistic story and the slack pace. The city's gargoyles meet monthly on a moonless night and, like good Irishmen, bemoan change and the loss of the good old days. When vandals break into St. Patrick's Church, Paddy, its resident gargoyle, calls on old Templeton, a Knight of Malta who drives an ancient Rolls Royce for weddings, to help him apprehend the miscreants. Paddy also brings to life the Rolls Royce's hood ornament, which Templeton tells him is a gryphon, not a gargoyle. Investigating the scene of the crime with his thirtyish policeman godson, Marcus Cassidy, Templeton finds Death's Deputy at the church, expecting his due. In a nice touch, Paddy argues with the deputy to allow the old man more time to discover who's behind the break-in. Heavy in its piety and exposition of Celtic history, this novel is a determined tourist guide to Dublin sites; however, James Joyce did some of the same thing, and Ulysses is still going strong. (Feb. 6) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 29, 2002
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