Abel Tiffauges (tih-FOHZH), a garage mechanic in Paris. He is sure that he is marked by fate for a special destiny that is yet to be revealed. Physically, he is extraordinary, a giant who loves both milk and raw meat, a man attracted strongly by both children and animals, an “ogre.” The search for his real self begins in earnest when he is taken prisoner by the Nazis and sent to Germany, a land of signs and symbols. There, by keeping a “magic” journal written with his left hand, he will be able to decipher the meaning of everyday events and finally learn his destiny. From camp to camp, digging ditches, keeping animals in the game forest of Hermann Goering, and commanding the Kaltenborn Castle’s regiment of Adolf Hitler’s child army, Tiffauges seeks his fate, learning that signs and symbols are hard to read and that he is often confused by them. He does understand that, like his biblical namesake, he is meant to be a wanderer, a nomad fated to be hunted by the sedentary Cains as the Nazis hunt and kill both Jews and Gypsies.
Nestor, Tiffauges’ schoolmate at Saint Christopher and the janitor’s son. Enormous and myopic, just as Tiffauges will later become, Nestor bequeaths his own destiny to his friend before perishing in a boiler room accident. It is Nestor who first tells the young Tiffauges the story of Saint Christopher, the giant who carried the...
(The entire section is 546 words.)