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St. Patrick's Gargoyle Hardcover – February 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral becomes the target of an act of vandalism, the gargoyle guardian of the building enlists the aid of an aging Knight of Malta to assist him in his pursuit of the vandals. Combining an interest in Irish history with snatches of Templar lore, the author of the "Deryni" and "Adept" series creates a story of angelic powers and demonic forces locked in an eternal struggle. Engaging characters and gentle irony add a light touch to a metaphysical drama that belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1st edition (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441007252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441007257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,151,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Bentzen on March 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As an avid reader of Katherine Kurtz, I am delighted to review Gargoyle with utmost praise. A lighthearted, yet touching, story of a man who is growing old and a gargoyle who is even older. This twosome (amidst many other gargoyles) join forces to battle evil arising in Dublin. In the twilight of a waning era, the author portays with sensitivity and sensibility the multi-faceted culture of Dublin and the Irish. Emphasis on both humor and depth kept me engaged and entertained throughout the novel as I read it one snowy afternoon in the mountains from cover to cover.
What I appreciated from Katherine Kurtz's narrative is the beautiful and realistic descriptions of Dublin as well as a very fair representation of Irish cultural Christianity. She neither supports nor refutes anyones particular beliefs through the very sensibilities of the gargoyles guarding their respective churches. St. Patrick's Gargoyle is another view of gargoyles which you have likely not seen with the popularity of these beings from the TV show, etc. Katherine Kurtz adds a wonderfully fresh perspective on the gargoyles' lives as they very much ought to be.
If you have read any of Katherine Kurtz's other novels, you realize how she is able to articulate the reality of death with a legacy for the living. I appreciate her continued perceptivity in these areas by leaving the reader understanding something deeper about our own mortality. This book 1. may read quickly, 2. may not be very long, 3. may be considered for young adults, but make no mistake, deeper convictions run throughout its text.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
At one time, he was an avenging angel, part of a group who would fight whenever He gave the command. However, when God gave His only begotten son to mankind, he turned gentler as described in the New Testament. Reengineering the activity, God no longer needed a horde of bloodthirsty warriors so in a downsizing move, he reassigned many of them to the critical role of Gargoyles, guarding sacred churches and cathedrals. Paddy keeps watch at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but goes to the Gargoyle enclave once a month.

The sentry is on his way home when he learns that someone vandalized his church and stole valuable artifacts. Paddy coerces Frances Templeton, a Knight of Malta, to help him. After a successful mission, Frances sees Paddy in his true form, which usually means death to the human observer. However, Paddy intercedes obtaining more time for his new friend for a few more days. They learn that a true knight needs to perform a task to prevent Satan's demon from arriving on earth. Paddy knows that the Divine Plan is at work, but in spite of their valiant output, Paddy does not know the outcome of their endeavor.

Katherine Kurtz writes an often irreverent, but witty tale that never pokes fun at religion. Instead Ms. Kurtz gracefully walks the thin line between an amusing satire and homage to theologies. ST. PATRICK'S GARGOYLE is a powerful fantasy that focuses on predetermination as opposed to free will through a Divine Plan that proves God's love for humanity. That message with numerous other missives reaches readers on many different levels in a complex, superbly written novel.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W Spice on April 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an ardent fan of Kurtz's Deryni novels, I looked forward to reading "St. Patrick's Gargoyle." I was terribly disappointed. If this was intended as a story for young adult readers, I should think they would be insulted. Though I am middle-aged, there are many so-called juvenile novels that I have greatly enjoyed. There is no reason that a book for young readers can not be held to the same high standards of more adult literature. Kurtz is a writer who is generally quite adept at letting events carry the bulk of her story-telling work. Here, however, we are never SHOWN anything, we are always TOLD. I can't think of a much greater weakness for a work of fiction.
The premise -- a group of gargoyle's, former angels, stand guard over Dublin, and enlist the aid of an elderly devout Catholic in a battle against evil -- is an interesting one. However, that's about where the interest ends. The characters are merely sketched, never fully drawn; unlike the characters in the Deryni stories, I never came to care about what happened to these characters.
The book is often pedantic and unnecessarily "preachy." While the
theologizing is not uninteresting, it provides little that helps to advance the story; the information it provides is in no way essential, and the action bogs down as a result. I certainly don't disagree with any of Kurtz's religious opinions; I simply find them to be a distraction here.
I think the basic short-coming of the novel is the marked lack of any sense of suspense. While we are told that the "heroes" must prevent some sort of evil which will have grave consequences for all humanity, we are never shown just what this evil will entail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book originated as a short story based on an actual cathedral break-in in Dublin, Ireland. I would love to have read the original story--you can almost put it together from reading the interactions between the Gargoyle Paddy and Francis Templeton. Sadly, what fills in the blanks is a very interesting travelogue of Dublin and some history of Irish politics and church Reformation. If you're into reading that kind of history, you may want to check out a more authoritative source.

"St. Patrick's Gargoyle" may be a good book for young adults if you can find youth readers that can keep their attention on the book. Some passages are truly evocative, especially when Kurtz writes about Francis Templeton and his love for his old Rolls, Phyllida.
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