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The Gryphon

by Nick Bantock

Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine series takes a new twist in The Gryphon with the introduction of two new correspondents, Matthew and Isabella. The book features letters and cards between Sabine and Matthew, Griffin and Isabella, as well as between Matthew and Isabella, a pair of young lovers trying to keep a long-distance relationship going. Griffin and Sabine’s correspondence to their younger counterparts hint at dark secrets and possible dangers, and hold out the promise of much-desired explanations. What are Matthew’s origins, for instance, how could he have been born on the Sicmon Islands (the home of the elusive Sabine), and who was his mother?

It’s all very mysterious, with enough hints and allusions to enthrall the reader. Bantock’s inventive illustrations are the true magic of this book, the framework that gives the story its substance. The cards and letters, with their lushly designed faces, stamps, and postmarks, should keep the reader coming back for more. The Gryphon is beautiful to look at, engaging to read, and leaves readers hanging at the end – hoping to steal a glance at still more examples of this “extraordinary correspondence.”