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In the long-awaited sequel to 1976's Hugo and Nebula-nominated Inferno, dead science fiction writer Allen Carpenter returns to the nine circles of Dante's Hell on a quest. After witnessing infamous fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (Carpenter's Virgil-like guide in Inferno) escape from the confines of Hell, Carpenter vows to make the nightmarish journey again and liberate as many tortured souls as possible. Poet Sylvia Plath, recently freed from the Wood of Suicides, accompanies Carpenter, as do a diverse cast of notorious historic figures, including Pontius Pilate, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Anna Nicole Smith. This well-constructed tale will inspire many readers to seek out the original Divine Comedy, but fans of Inferno may find that the landscape and the plot are a little too familiar. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.