A man drives off a cliff and gets trapped in his car, burning in the fire until his car falls into a river extinguishing the flames. He has third degree burns over most of his body and is taken to the hospital where he becomes very depressed. The book's unnamed narrator was used to getting by on his good looks and now that he has nothing but burns over his body he has to learn to live differently.
He is visited by Marianne Engle who was treated in the psychiatric ward of the hospital and she believes that he was her lover in the 1300s. She was a scribe at a monastery and he was a mercenary that was burned and brought to the monastery to try to save him. The two fall in love and try to make a life as a stone worker and scribe.
Marianne tells him their story while he recovers, along with some other stories of lovers in other times. Every so often she would disappear to work on carving out gargoyles from stone, which should could work on up to 70 hours straight. The two continue their relationship as he narrator is discharged from the hospital and the narrator finds that there may be some truth in Marianne's stories.
This is one of the very few books I've read where you are never told the main character's name. Every so often I would flip back pages to see if he had been named, thinking he had and I just hadn't remembered, but it wasn't there. This was a unique book though at first I wasn't understanding the different stories that Marianne told about lovers in other times but eventually it all wrapped up together. A bit odd at times, it was still worth it in the end and was an interesting book.
First Line: "Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love."