“Sometimes, he would run out even beyond the acre of wood to where the land dipped and there were deep ponds. When his mother yet lived, she used to enjoy going down there to watch the marsh birds, but she never went in the rain. That was Dante’s time. He would find a decaying log and lie down on it and watch that dark water in which swam the tadpoles of dragons, sleek and black and large enough to fill his cupped hands if he wanted to lift one wriggling from the water. In the summer when their legs began to grow, his father had to come down to the ponds to kill them or there would be dragons everywhere. But one or two always made it. These would live shy and massive in the wood, and the next spring the ponds would be full of their tadpoles again, beautiful and round with long tails. When it rained, they would rise to the surface like dark koi mistaking the splash of raindrops for the arrival of insects and thinking of food. Dante remembered their round faces and glassy eyes just below the surface, things from another time, imbued with the grace of silent dancers.”
from Dante’s Heart by Stant Litore.
Illustration by Roberto Calas.
“Dante’s Heart is like Clive Barker, Octavio Paz, and Dante Alighieri are playing D&D together. Lush stuff and more imaginative than most fantasy fare.” – Marc McDermott
“Dante’s Heart isn’t as much a story as it is an epic poem. Visually and emotionally evocative, it seems to be this gifted author’s heartfelt rumination on pain, loss and the human propensity toward violence. To read it is to step through an oil painting into another world. But beware: Once there, you may have trouble finding your way back out. Not that you’ll necessarily want to, because Dante’s Heart is both terrifyingly and achingly beautiful.” – Michael Whiteman Jones