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For seventeen years of his life, the exact whereabouts of the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri are unknown to modern scholars. It is known that during this time he traveled as an exile across Europe, working on his epic poem, "The Divine Comedy." In his masterpiece he describes a ...
For seventeen years of his life, the exact whereabouts of the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri are unknown to modern scholars. It is known that during this time he traveled as an exile across Europe, working on his epic poem, "The Divine Comedy." In his masterpiece he describes a journey through the three realms of the afterlife. The most famous of its three volumes, "Inferno," describes hell.
During his lost wanderings, Dante stumbled upon an infestation of the living dead. The unspeakable acts he witnessed--cannibalism, live burnings, evisceration, crucifixion, and dozens more--became the basis of all the horrors described in Inferno. Afraid to be labeled a madman, Dante made the terrors he experienced into a more "believable" account of an otherworldly adventure filled with demons and mythological monsters.
But at last, the real story can finally be told.
Posted September 27, 2010
Reviewed for MonsterLibrarian.com
A deceptively straight forward tale, in Valley of the Dead, classic literary hero Dante finds himself wandering in a strange valley, filled with strange people who, besieged by a strange plague of undead, live their lives with a fierce, often sinful, form of passion. The zombies themselves are also metaphors, filled with "rage at [the living], with seething jealousy that they were alive, and overwhelming frustration that [the zombie] could not make them dead." Oversensitive, depressed and caught up in hell on earth Dante sees the worst humanity has to offer where undeath just seems like a blessed end to a pitiful life.
Valley of the Dead is classic Paffenroth, a moody, dark, delicate blend of religion and zombies. It's easy to see why, in this "True Story" version of Dante's Inferno, Paffenroth is drawn to horror and religion simultaneously. Furthermore Paffenroth really captures the original feel of horror, beauty and devotion from Dante's Divine Comedy with sweeping strokes that simply should not be missed by true horror fans. Highly recommended, no, essential for public collections as an example of the depth and soul horror tales can possess.
Contains: Violence, language, gore
Posted June 2, 2010
Dante Alighieri spent seventeen years of his life in exile from his home in Italy. Scholars do not know where he was or what he did, other than spend that time writing his masterpiece THE DIVINE COMEDY. His most famous part of that epic poem is The Inferno in which Dante paints a truly frightening vision of Hell. VALLEY OF THE DEAD is the account of what Dante experienced that brought him to write Inferno. Travelling through an Eastern European valley with a woman, a soldier, and a monk, Dante eluded and battled the living dead. He was so horrified by what he witnessed and experienced that he turned it into a fantastic fictional account after his escape from the valley.
First off, you do not have to have read The Inferno to read VALLEY OF THE DEAD. Now, to say I liked this novel would be an understatement. I loved it! Kim Paffenroth has done an amazing job translating the events of The Inferno into a novel speculating on the whereabouts of Dante. The main characters, Dante, Bogdana, Radovan, and Adam are very real without too much time having to be spent on development. The secondary characters we meet along the way are much like people you'd find in any crisis taking place. You will either be able to relate to, or at least recognize them. There is definitely a theological question here..aren't zombies also creatures of God? At times you will feel sorry for them, wonder if they feel pain or not and almost come to understand the zombies and their actions while being repulsed at the actions of the people throughout the story. The zombies have no choice but to succumb to their appetites, but what about man? I highly recommend VALLEY OF THE DEAD and I guarantee you it will pique your interest in reading or re-reading Dante's Inferno; I myself will be re-reading it.