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Whet  your appetite with this 4-minute taster of Beyond The Inferno; the audiobook. Dante has reached Hell's Core and finally comes face to face with Diablo; Emperor of the Universe of Pain.

Author Alex L Moretti untangles and demystifies Dante's original terza rima to produce an engaging, immersive and atmospheric novel, re-telling The Divine Comedy in a modern yet erudite way. Narrated by Earphones award winner Chris Ciulla.

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Illustration of Dante Alighieri Audible ACX Beyond The Inferno fiction of Dante's Divina Commedia


Virgil nudges me forward and we advance into the misty, freezing fog for we are now at Judecca, the last ring of the ninth circle; the final, the absolute. I know this to be the utter nadir of Hell’s pit but, inevitably, we cannot complete our journey without passing through it. I know not what or whom dwells here. I believe I have now witnessed the punishment of sin in all its evil and inhumane guises yet there remains one final act, one more horrific unavoidable scene and, in truth, I am not sure I will endure this apocalyptic climax, for Virgil tells me I am to meet the Black King of Hell, the worst traitor of them all; a supreme evil. The banners of Hell’s monarch draw closer. For he is Lucifer. And he is come.


Words fail me. Strength fails me. Hope fails me but I pray God is resolute for what stands before me is an abomination indeed and in this moment I cannot tell if I am of the living or the dead, for I have lost life’s breath such is my confusion at what I witness. He is Satan, Dis, Emperor of the Universe of Pain and he is the origin of all that is evil. He stands taller and wider than Nimrod and Ephialtes combined, nay than 100 the scores of giant custodians conjoined. He emerges from the icy lake, furious, ferocious, rising up entrapped in the frozen pit, sharing fetid air with his crew, his vile acolytes, the most ignoble of the Damned. Torso, arms and head appear proud of the icy surface; genitals, legs and feet immersed below. He is seething, rabid, consumed with bitterness, hatred and rage. And, in my terror, I am utterly mesmerised.


I retch, for the stench is foul. A grim, decomposing, fetid mixture of rotting flesh, burning skin, excrement, brimstone and sulphur. All that is rancid decay. All that is disease. It sticks in my craw such that this squalid air is a musty solid yet I hold my vomit for I shall do nothing to attract the attention of this nefarious being, he who is Satan. He has ice in his heart for he is devoid of love, of compassion, of feeling. And my body feels this ice as violent shivering overtakes, for my muscles contract but they do not generate the heat my body requires to survive. Is this how I am to die? Is he the last my eyes shall see before death takes me? I fall to my knees, cowering behind Virgil, weeping tears of despair. My brain cannot endure Diablo’s screaming for it pierces this putrid miasma and enters my ears as shards of glass, as frozen debris impaling my fragile eardrums. Do they bleed? I fear so. I gasp. My heart cannot embrace such ugliness for it is repulsed by this foul, repellent and vicious being, he who is defiled by violence, obscenity and wickedness. He who is defiled by sin. In this moment I know I look upon evil in its most vile, disgusting and immoral guises and I am aghast.


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