By John Gabourel
Amazon Digital Services, 2012
John R. Gabourel deliberately embellishes much in his book The Knight and the Serpent: A Legend of Medieval Normandy, but he reiterates that it is as true of a legend as classics like Camelot, Tristan and Isolde and Robin Hood. Based on the factual legend of La Hougue Bie de Hambie, Gabourel seamlessly integrates the real times and lives of the players with the fictional and fantastical accounts of their doings.
Gabourel, who has wanted to write this story for 20 years, says that he had the desire to share a person’s struggles between right and wrong and good and evil, something all humans go through. He demonstrates these choices through his antihero Gaspard Malfort who gains status, wealth and women by breaking essentially all of God’s commandments. Gabourel focuses on Gaspard’s life from birth to death and from damnation to salvation to illustrate that a person’s life isn’t ruled by fate but rather, daily decisions of right and wrong.
“Every day we make simple choices, often reflexively, that are good or bad,” Gabourel says. “If we make enough wrong choices, we ultimately end up in a place that is very difficult to escape.”
The dramatic tragedy takes place in the Duchy of Normandy between the years of 1017 and 1035 during the reigns of Duke Richard II, Duke Richard III and Duke Robert, the father of William the Conqueror. Many of the characters are real people of the story’s era and many of the events are historical, but Gabourel enhances parts of the story and adds in fictional characters and a hint of fantasy to strengthen his book’s overriding theme of redemption and forgiveness.
The Knight and the Serpent: A Legend of Medieval Normandy is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels. See also the novel’s website