Nathan Cross is a thousand year old gargoyle who shapeshifts into a griffin, a beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Gargoyles are immortals who reincarnate over numerous lifetimes. They have two primary missions 1) to protect humans from harm and 2) to procreate. Nathan is an art history professor living his 14th life and is very tortured by events in his past lives.
Rachel Vandemere is an agent for Interpol (an international police organization) who witnessed her parents' murder by monsters when just a small girl. She is obsessed with cases that involve what appear to be eyewitness accounts of monsters and has compiled files of these crimes in hopes of discovering who murdered her parents.
Nathan and Rachel first meet in an art exhibition and eventually learn that they have a psychic connection that I found to be highly erotic and filled with sexual tension. Their first encounter during a dream sequence when they weren't even in the same building was sizzling! Nathan fights his attraction and his driving need to procreate for much of the book. So when they finally get together it was very satisfying.
The story of how the society of gargoyles began a thousand years ago was fascinating. The mystery and suspense was well done. There were even a couple surprises that I didn't see coming in the final few pages. I like when that happens.
I had a little trouble following the 'rules' of their society and couldn't quite understand some of the details pertaining to reincarnation. But these were very minor quibbles. A very good read.
My Grade: B+
The sequel to CIS (Flesh and Stone) is coming in
P.S. Found a picture of the cover. Very nice :)