“It was a thing not designed by God or by the hot processes of evolution, but by only the madness in the heart of a man, where violence and the instruments of violence are seen as beautiful.”
When Dante falls asleep, strange creatures burst from him, intent on murder; waking, he pursues them across the world, from a graveyard in which killers from all of history, past and future, are entombed…to the pools where the tadpoles of dragons are born … to a forest made of glass. With Dante travels a dwarf in search of a lost cave and a naiad seeking for the woman who poisoned her spring; together, they face a world torn asunder by the violence of humanity’s dreams and nightmares. What will they discover amid the arid ruins of humanity’s empire, beneath the bright and burning stars?
Dante’s Heart is a story of violence and its scars, a tale of far-future humanity both broken and beautiful. This edition is lavishly illustrated by artist Roberto Calas.
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“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
The rain should have cheered Dante. He had grown up in a country of rain. He used to run out of his father’s wooden house and stand beneath the cedars and listen to the rain on the branches. Or he would run out to the old dirt road, to where earthworms struggled, drowning, in the sudden pools. Rain always brought up things he couldn’t see at any other time.
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.
Cover art by Roberto Calas.