Nick Bantock spent over 100 weeks on the bestseller list with the original Griffin and Sabine trilogy, a captivating and heartfelt correspondence between two unusual souls. The enormous popularity of this epistolary series is easy to fathom. Dazzling and haunting illustrations by Bancock adorn postcards, envelopes and letters (encased in the envelopes to take out and peruse) and propel a tale that is as otherworldly as it is romantic. Along with the beautiful and haunting story, readers return repeatedly to the baroque, sumptuous, and cryptic illustrations which contain clues to the character's fates.
Bantock began his second trilogy with The Gryphon, by introducing readers to a pair of separated lovers, Matthew and Isabella, whose affecting letters and long-distance love affair parallels that of Griffin and Sabine. Like the first trilogy, mystery and intrigue abound, and as the pair's adventure intensifies they are guided by the sage and enigmatic voices of Griffin and Sabine themselves. Alexandria follows The Gryphon and expands upon Matthew and Isabella's bewitching puzzle. By the end of Alexandria readers will be desperate to possess the final installment, The Morning Star. Bantock's second trio is as satisfying as the much-loved first a gorgeous and unique series that compels much rereading and examination.
Synopses & Reviews
Griffin & Sabine, Sabine's Notebook
, and The Golden Mean
have sold over 3 million copies worldwide, and spent over 100 weeks on The New York Times
best-seller list. At long last, Nick Bantock brings us a new volume in the Griffin and Sabine story.
The Gryphon is a tale rich in the artistry, mystery, and surprise that make the original saga so beloved. Although readers will be drawn into the book without ever having read the trilogy, The Gryphon begins to answer the question that fans have been waiting eight years to answer: "What happened to Griffin and Sabine?" As their remarkable fates are gradually revealed, we are introduced to Matthew and Isabella, long-distance lovers who find themselves entwined not only in each other's lives, but also in a perilous and alluring intrigue. The drama literally unfolds from postcard to richly decorated postcard and as provocative letters are pulled from real envelopes.
The Gryphon features stunning new imagery, offering glimpses of mythic dreamscapes and surreal creatures as only Nick Bantock could have imagined. For those meeting Griffin and Sabine for the first time, here's an introduction that will have them yearning to explore the earlier volumes. And for those who have already entered the enchanting world of Griffin and Sabine, The Gryphon is a delightful rediscovery of a truly extraordinary correspondence.
"Through a series of postcards and letters, the four characters communicate across oceans and realms to describe a world of beauty, fantasy, love, and mystery. Bantock's drawings, collages, and paintings are captivating and original, depicting the places and events that the characters write about and re-creating the haunting visions that plague Isabelle. The letters and notes, many of which are removable, will give readers the sense that they are experiencing the story with the characters..." Library Journal
"Extremely original...classical myth, reality, and fantasy are blended artfully in this modern allegory." Los Angeles Times
Ten years ago, Nick Bantock until then an illustrator and creator of pop-up books shot to sudden fame with Griffin and Sabine, a love story unlike any ever published. It was a beautiful, enigmatic series of original postcards and illustrated letters (which had to be removed from their envelopes to be read), exchanged by Griffin Moss, a London illustrator, and the mysterious Sabine Strohem, unknown to Griffin but sharing a psychic awareness with him. It appealed to readers' sense of romance and their voyeuristic inclinations.
It quickly became a best-seller, as did Sabine's Notebook and The Golden Mean, completing what became known as the Griffin and Sabine trilogy.
While enormous attention has been paid to the quality of the illustrations and the love story at the heart of the books, little mention has been made of the trilogy's complex psychological subtext. A Jungian reading would suggest that Griffin and Sabine are manifestations of opposing aspects of a single personality Bantock's, perhaps.
The author/illustrator continued this psychological exploration in later books, including The Forgetting Room and The Venetian's Wife, and it is an exploration to which he returns in his brilliant new illustrated novel, The Gryphon. The first book in a new trilogy, it brings back Griffin and Sabine and shows Bantock upping the ante significantly.
The Gryphon begins by introducing two new correspondents Matthew Sedon, a young archeologist at work in Alexandria, and his relatively new-found love Isabella de Reims, a student in Paris. To conquer the distance between them, the pair exchange postcards and letters. (Bantock neatly deals with the niggling question of "Why letters in the age of e-mail?" by emphasizing the romance of the printed word. Besides, Isabella's computer is on its last legs.)
It is not crucial to have read the original trilogy to enjoy The Gryphon. Bantock summarizes the plot with a brief introduction and subtle comments. A close re-reading of the first three books will, however, reap significant benefits in the recognition of recurring patterns and motifs.
The first of these patterns is Sabine's introduction. In a conscious echo of her first approach to Griffin Moss, Matthew receives a postcard from Sabine, whom he has never met, yet who nevertheless seems to know much about him. The first postcard Matthew receives is, in fact, the final postcard of The Golden Mean.
Over the course of a few more exchanges, Sabine directs Matthew to pick up a package, being held for safekeeping in Alexandria, which contains the original correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. She urges the young archeologist to read the letters. "Do not be put off by the personal nature of these documents. There is a much broader significance."
With The Gryphon, Bantock is committed to shifting away from "the personal nature" and exploring "the broader significance." As a result, the novel is more complex than any in the previous trilogy. The addition of a new pair of lovers complicates the correspondence (letters and postcards crossing back and forth among four characters), but their inclusion, and the nature of the new couple, signals a deliberate shift in emphasis.
Where much of the pleasure of the first trilogy lay in the anticipation of Griffin and Sabine's first meeting, Matthew and Isabella are already intimate, already in love. By removing that anticipation and acknowledging the first set of correspondence, Bantock is free to more directly explore psychological depths, offering a vivid Jungian, alchemical account of transmutation and transformation.
That's not to say that The Gryphon is dry and scholarly. Far from it. It's a heady brew of love and separation, passion and mystery. It's a breezy read, for the act of reading someone else's mail tends to bring out the furtive
A new volume in the correspondence series that began with Griffin and Sabine reveals the fates of the original characters while introducing Matthew and Isabella, long-distance lovers who find themselves in a perilous situation.
A new volume in the Griffith and Sabine story, this is a tale rich in the artistry, mystery, and surprise that made the original saga so beloved. Illustrations.
As the remarkable fates of Griffin and Sabine are gradually revealed, we are introduced to Matthew and Isabella, long-distance lovers who find themselves entwined not only in each other's lives, but in an intrigue of mythic proportions. The correspondence of Griffin Moss and Sabine Strohem, at turns enigmatic, sumptuous, and romantic, reveals dangerous undercurrents and strange forces at work in the universe. These powers have only grown stronger with the couple's disappearance. Nothing is heard from them for quite some time, until Sabine asks Matthew Sedon, a young archaeologist working in Egypt, for help. As Matthew is reluctantly drawn into the intrigue, he finds encouragement from his strong-willed girlfriend, Isabella de Reims. Miles away in Paris, Isabella struggles with glimpses of fabled landscapes and vivid fantasias that come to her in waking dreams. Slowly Matthew and Isabella realize that to unlock this secret world is to open the door to their deepest yearnings. Author and artist Nick Bantock tells a story like no other: as you pull handwritten letters from stamped envelopes, the enchanting world of The Gryphon literally unfolds in your hands.
About the Author
Nick Bantock was born in England and now lives with his wife and four children on an island off Vancouver. He is the author/ illustrator of the best-selling There Was an Old Lady and is currently working on several other illustrated books. He first got the idea for Griffin & Sabine while jealously watching his island neighbors gather at their mailboxes and pull out thick letters covered with foreign stamps. He now receives elaborately decorated mail every day.