The Gate is a love story and a tragedy centred on the search by Stephen Rochefort, a Canadian, for information about his past. Rochefort receives shattering information about his origins at his grandmother's deathbed-origins which lie in the dying days of World War Two Europe. These revelations set him off on a search for his past, against his better judgment and, initially, his own interest. The story begins in the Pemberton Valley, north of Vancouver, and while most of the characters in it are fictitious, most of the events are not. The plot plays off actual events-including secret service activities only recently de-classified-and in some cases, actual people. It recounts an epic tale of Rochefort's parents, their love and their efforts as part of the French resisitance fighting against the occupying Germans. It is a tale of happiness, and such sorrow as can only be partially remedied by the efforts of an outstanding and compassionate humanitarian, the Catholic Abbé Musty of Bastogne in Belgium. The unexpected events of war force the Abbé and his young students to escape across the hard-frozen, war-torn landscape. Inevitably, the story involves advancing German forces and the sinister depredations of the Gestapo and Heinrich Himmler's Sicherheitsdienst.
Michael Elcock was born in Forres, Scotland and grew up in Edinburgh and West Africa. He emigrated to Canada when he was twenty-one and worked in pulp mills, in the woods, on west coast fishing boats and as a ski instructor, earning along the way a B.A. and M.Ed at the University of Victoria. He was Athletic Director at UVic for ten years, and then CEO of Tourism Victoria for five. In 1990 he moved to Andalusia to work on developing Spain's Expo 92. He has published articles in periodicals, newspapers and magazines in Canada and overseas. Elcock has published two works of non-fiction, A Perfectly Beautiful Place (Oolichan, 2004) and Writing On Stone (Oolichan, 2006). He lives just outside of Victoria, BC.