When Dante falls asleep, strange creatures burst from him, intent on murder; waking, he pursues them across the world. Dante’s Heart is a story about violence and the marks it leaves on us. The story has elements of magical realism. Here is an excerpt:
It was unlike any bone country Dante and his companions had ever seen. For one thing, the graves were not in the earth but above it, a field of metal boxes perched on their ends, like standing stones, or like silent prisons, holding captive a thousand decaying monuments to the violence that is on the earth. Some might have held actual bodies, others only a symbolic remainder: an autobiography, a famous coat, a bloodstained axe, a boot. In each metal surface had been sculpted a screaming face. Beneath each face, a single name:
Some Dante recognized, some he didn’t. He and the others—the dwarf with the eyes like hard gems, the nymph whose hair today was the deep red of algae—stopped in silence at the border of this field of the dead. Then Dante walked silently on, alone at first, his feet carrying him quietly down the long rows. He stared, aghast, at the faces, and mouthed the names he read as he passed.
(Note for the fans: The title Dante’s Heart is taken from an online literary journal that I ran, under a different name, from 2007-2009, and which issues one ebook each year. This story evolved out of the idea that was my original inspiration for Dante’s Heart.)
“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
COMING IN 2015
There will be a beautiful paperback edition of Dante’s Heart (full color, and including some additional art), which will be released in February 2015.