Beyond The Inferno is an immersive, engaging and atmospheric novelisation of Dante’s timeless classic The Divine Comedy, a seminal piece of literature ripe for rediscovery. Using elegant and eloquent language to appeal to a contemporary audience thirsty for the story but uncomfortable with the archaic style and cadence of classical prose, Beyond The Inferno is an adult adventure down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole; a vivid representation of brutality, torture, misery, love, beauty and perfection, stirring all five senses.
This high-end literary fiction aims to resonate with a new, global readership at a time of moral and political decay, revealing fascinating similarities between the corruption and depravity, brutality and beauty of ancient civilisations and the modern world.
Thrust into the bedlam and chaos that is The Dark Wood, lowly hero Dante is distraught for he suspects this bleak, black forest is a portal to the Underworld; a terrifying, apocalyptic realm wherein echo the chilling screams of eternal suffering, where all are dead when he is alive, a place which, he suspects, does not lead to salvation. Dante is presented with a gift from Heaven, the Roman poet Virgil, he who is wisdom and reason personified, sent to guide him through the three realms of the afterlife where no living soul has ever journeyed for, unbeknown to him, he is on a quest to save mankind from spiritual destruction. The promise of a reunion with his dead lover, Beatrice, motivates him to triumph yet, as a seed of Adam, Dante is open to temptation and failure.
First, he must descend through the terrifying Inferno, an apocalyptic, inhumane prison of misery and woe to witness the punishment of sin in its most brutal and nefarious forms. This dark realm of the phantasmagorical hosts demons and dragons, behemoths and giants, serpents and she-wolves. Residing for eternity in the infernal city of despair are sinners; corrupt, deviant malefactors all guarded and tormented by sadistic ferrymen, soul snatchers, goddesses of vengeance and the cursed crew of the Damned. He observes barbaric and violent torture including flagellation by fire where the dead burn alive, scalding in rivers of boiling blood, roasting and melting in blazing tombs, drowning in bubbling pits of tar. The welcome chill of an icy tundra as he ventures into the core of the nine circles belies a grotesque. For Dante is set for a propitious encounter with the origin of all that is evil; Hell’s Monarch, once Lucifer now Satan; Emperor of the Universe of Pain.
The Divine Comedy's underlying theme - that corruption of the Church and religious apathy threatens the spiritual stability of mankind - serves as a pertinent metaphor for the modern reader and is a timely reminder of the fragility of humanity; its ruination driven by personal indifference, political and corporate degeneracy and the Establishment’s surrendering of its moral compass.
Alex L Moretti’s debut novel Beyond The Inferno was inspired by some of the greatest and most recognisable works of art from masters including Boticelli, Rodin and Doré. It was Dante’s graphic poem, Inferno, which influenced Renaissance artists and transformed their creative depictions of Hell from barren landscapes to shocking, horrific, explicit and occasionally tender pieces, dramatically portraying the punishment of sin and torturous suffering of humankind.
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