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Alexandria: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Unfolds Hardcover – September 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
It's been 11 years since Bantock first introduced the eponymous stars of Griffin & Sabine, the beautiful and unusual novel in which the reader became a voyeuristic third party to the lush correspondence between London postcard designer Griffin Moss and South Pacific postage-stamp designer Sabine Strohem; two subsequent volumes completed the trilogy. Last year, Bantock launched a second trilogy with The Gryphon, reuniting Griffin and Sabine and introducing Egyptologist Matthew Sedon and Isabella de Reims, a student in Paris. At the outset of this latest epistolary volume, Matthew informs his beloved Isabella that Sabine has somehow become a part of him, in order to heighten his powers of intuition. This comes in handy when Isabella finds herself menaced by their sinister foe, Frolatti, and Matthew is called away by an exciting archeological find. Is the mysterious sculpture discovered at the dig site what Frolatti has been after? Bantock has fashioned a maddeningly labyrinthine, wildly romantic and exquisite work that reveals just how much story can be conveyed with a few well-placed words and images. He threads the theme of dualism seamlessly throughout, underscoring Sabine's assertion, "In each of us there are two worlds-the practical and the mythological" and the notion that the coming together of the two, as embodied here by Isabella and Matthew, is an essential part of some grand design. The book's cliffhanger ending will only intensify the eagerness of fans for the concluding volume, The Morning Star.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Highly imaginative and ebulliently romantic illustrator and storyteller Bantock revived the epistolary tale of Griffin and Sabine, the cosmic love story that catapulted him onto best-seller lists more than a decade ago, in his last book, The Gryphon [BKL S 15 01]. In that tantalizing volume, the long silent correspondents make contact with another smitten pair: the young archaeologist, Matthew, and his sweetheart, Isabella. As their mystical adventure continues here, Sabine affirms her psychic connection with Matthew, who has just begun work on a new dig in Alexandria, perhaps on the site of the city's legendary lost library, and Griffin continues his long-distance, somewhat spooky mentoring of Isabella, who is studying sphinxes in Paris. All four are eloquent, artistic, and oddly calm in the face of inexplicable, often frightening events that mark their approach to a hidden treasure their menacing foe seems also to covet. Bantock draws liberally on the myth of the Egyptian god Thoth, scribe and guardian of the great library, and employs a self-possessed cat as Isabella's new familiar, upping the ante on both love and mysticism only to leave his enchanted readers waiting impatiently for the next installment. As always Bantock's illustrations are exquisite, each a beautifully detailed clue to the metaphysical mystery at hand, but, as before, many of the letters are removable, making this an unlikely candidate for circulation but well worth having for in-library reading. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I love his work....his books are such a visual treat that even if I do not know what is going on, I enjoy them. I love handling them and looking for hidden clues in the drawings.
That said, I feel that I don't know Isabella and Matthew as well as I knew Griffin and Sabine. G and S were much less mysterious and I was able to make more sense of what was going on. I also felt that Bantock wrote each of his original trilogy without resorting to cliffhangers, a device which I find a bit off-putting, and which he used in "The Gryphon" and again in "Alexandria".
However, none of these complaints will stop me from buying anything Nick Bantock writes!