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On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him – that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.

And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he'd never uttered: love.

The opening of this novel was intense and graphic, neither of which put me off from reading it. I don't know how Mr Davidson managed to convey so explicitly an experience that he's never had, but he manages to pull it off in a truly believable way.

However, once the main character - whose name is never revealed - leaves the hospital and begins his life as a recovering burn victim out in the world the story, for me, took a plumet. The plot never really progressed as I would have expected it to. We merely jump back and forth in time, which isn't difficult to keep up with, just boring. It was a long drawn out story which lost me as a reader about 3/4 into the book.

I'm sure you're wondering how I managed to get through 3/4 of the book and not finish. By that point it started to feel like a chore to read. Nothing really happened. Marianne and the main character lived out their lives and she told him stories of their past. I could not bring myself to care about the characters so it was easy for me to ditch them.


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