Gnomon – Luchia Dertien
Emile Delaurier is a beautiful militant revolutionary, a living beacon of righteous justice for the world. For Renaire, an artist in a constant battle against the demons in the bottle, it was obsession at first sight. His devotion led to two years of homicidal partnership as Renaire followed Delaurier in his ruthless quest for equality through the death of the corrupt, like a murderous Robin Hood.
Then Delaurier breaks his pattern, leading Renaire into Russia to kill a reporter with no immoral background, and gives no explanation for his actions.
When Interpol contacts Renaire, he already has enough problems—keeping Delaurier alive, dealing with the shift in their relationship, and surviving the broken past that still haunts him. But when he learns what Interpol wants from him, Renaire must face the truth about Delaurier: that a noble man isn’t always a good one. He’s left with a choice no man should ever have to make—to follow his heart or his morals.
My first impression was that Gnomon sounded like an 18th century novel set in the modern age. Then I learned the novel started life as a Les Miz fanfic and things started to click
Some niggles though: How are Delaurier and Renaire traipsing all over Europe with a suitcase full of weapons with nary a disguise without getting caught? With the kind of iconic face Delaurier has, somebody should have recognize them already. Plus the pair, and STB members as a whole, are really not the most circumspect of criminals. Most of all, Renaire has explicitly mentioned to an Interpol agent no less that he and Delaurier have killed people. Shouldn’t they be handcuffed and read their rights already?
And so while my analytical side keeps pointing out anomalies here and there, the more excitable part of my brain shushed it with gentle reminders to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. I did and I was swept along Renaire’s all consuming obsession that turned into love that, happily, Delaurier reciprocated just as passionately. Also, Will M. Watt charmed me with his narration, so, really, resistance is futile.
How obsessed is Renaire? Every time he gets knock down and open his eyes, he marvels at how beautiful Delaurier is. He also paints him all the time and follows him EVERYWHERE. Because Delaurier leads and Renaire follows. That is the way of their world. I normally find this kind of obsession suffocating (which is why Call Me By Your Name didn’t work for me) but Luchia Dertain did a great job portraying Renaire’s overwhelming feelings without making me gag. I also love the prose, which is written in Renaire’s point of view, and how it sounds so very Renaire.
Gnomon is a story of two beautiful, madly in love, crazy, stupid revolutionaries out to change the world. Actually, Renaire, who has PTSD and is a chain smoking alcoholic, doesn’t really believe in the CAUSE, he is in it for Delaurier. Delaurier is the leader. He is “the fire that burns so bright” that Renaire could “feel it from five stories up” because Renaire needs to feel something. This is a not a sweet, fluffy love affair. This is two unhinge people making things difficult for themselves because they’re
shitwired that way. Somehow they made it work. And yes, I will follow these stupid terrorist boys.
My unpopular opinion on Call Me By Your Name here
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits