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Beyond The Inferno Collection - trilogy book covers of Inferno Purgatory & Paradise from Dante's The Divine Comedy Moretti


The Divine Comedy has been brought back to life 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 terza rima. The new Beyond The Inferno Collection, a series of three novellas, explores Dante’s epic trilogy in a format which allows the modern reader - and students of Dante - to immerse themselves in the plucky poet’s adventures as he stumbles down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole to undertake a perilous quest through the afterlife to save mankind from spiritual destruction.
Beyond The Inferno book cover - fiction of Dante's Inferno from The Divine Comedy Alex L Moretti

It's the anniversary of the crucifixion. Thrust into the bedlam and chaos that is The Dark Wood, humble 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 fears, does not lead to salvation. He is presented with a gift from Heaven, the Roman poet Virgil, 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.

In an apocalyptic climax, a despairing and forsaken Dante arrives at Hell’s pit to endure one last act, to witness one final torturous scene. In the darkness of foreboding, the banners of Hell’s monarch draw closer. But will the plucky poet survive such a perilous encounter to march on and complete his unavoidable journey? The fires of ancient love still burn. And one last kiss with his dead lover is reward enough should he triumph.

Beyond The Inferno book cover - fiction of Dante's Purgatory Purgatorio from The Divine Comedy Alex L Moretti

Surviving his meeting with the Devil in the terrifying, apocalyptic Inferno - a dark realm of the phantasmagorical where he has witnessed the barbaric and torturous punishment of sin - a shocked and despairing Dante leaves Hell and navigates the desert plains to find the Mountain of Purgatory, a magnificent elevation whereupon redeemed spirits arriving on the Ship of Souls purge their sins through penance. He learns it is only after they have attained spiritual purification that they are primed to triumph in the perfection and bliss of Paradise. Welcoming the chance to atone, for placement upon the mount allows errant souls to repent through suffering and journey on to Heaven, Dante witnesses purgation of the cardinal sins but not before the Angel of the Gate has carved seven letters into his forehead with the Holy Sword. Encumbered by the invisible weight of vice, Dante must climb each terrace of the colossal mountain that he be cleansed of the blemish of immorality to purify his soul, for only once he is spiritually groomed to climb the Holy Steps at the mountain summit, may he ascend to the terrestrial gardens of Paradise where, finally, he seeks his reward of one last kiss from his dead lover, Beatrice. The fires of ancient love did not vanish on the wind. They still burn.

Beyond The Inferno book cover - fiction of Dante's Paradise Paradiso from The Divine Comedy Alex L Moretti

Having witnessed the vile and barbaric punishment of sin in the torturous, apocalyptic Inferno, Dante has now successfully navigated the terraces of the magnificent Mountain of Purgatory and observed the purgation of sin through penance; through suffering. He understands that atonement and repentance brings spiritual purification. This in turn enables redemption, which leads to salvation and the ascension to Paradise. But he’s not quite there yet.

Abandoned by his guide and mentor Virgil for, as a pagan, he lacks the theological virtues of faith, hope and love that will carry him upwards through the celestial spheres, our hero is reunited with his sweetheart, Beatrice, who arrives in the magnificent Pageant of the Sacrament to champion her lover to rise to Heaven. Embodying all that is purity and grace, Beatrice encourages Dante to examine God’s greatest gift to mankind, that of free will, and consider how its exertion may influence a blessed soul’s placement in Heaven. Ascension through the perfect glory of the nine stars of Paradise introduces Dante to the Apostles, the Evangelists, the Eagle of Justice, Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ. Humbled by a prayer of intercession from the Virgin Mary, Dante is spiritually prepared for his auspicious encounter with the Divine. His spiritual quest nearly over, Dante’s task now is to use poetic prose to alert mankind to his spiritual failings and lead him out of the darkness back into the light but, restricted to the lexicon of mortal man, this enormous challenge weighs heavy. Dante must communicate the triumph and might of the Divine, the celestial beauty of Heaven, the glory and magnificence of the Mountain of Purgatory and the cruelty and barbarity of the savage Inferno. More than ever, earthly man needs reminding that to renounce sin, to repent, atone and attain redemption, to return to the path of Truth is to save himself. For, in death, all seek eternal life in the perfection and bliss that is Paradise.

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