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Escape From Hell


Well, unlike redmartel (see comment here), I thought the only major problem with this book was that the covers were too close together. This sequel to Inferno picks up some time after the first novel leaves off, with our protagonist Allen Carpenter slumped in despair in the Wood of the Suicides. The former SF writer still doesn't understand the reason for Hell and has lost his desire to keep trying to convince the other damned souls that there's a way out. Fortunately for him, he strikes up a conversation with poetess Sylvia Plath, who gets him to relate his tale of wandering through Hell with Benito Mussolini and Mussolini's eventual exit from Hell to Purgatory. Plath convinces him to set her free, and they proceed to make their way through Hell. Hell has changed since we last accompanied Carpenter, though, and Carpenter himself has changed, which in the end makes all the difference. We are reunited with some supporting characters from the first book (not always happily), are introduced to some modern variations on very old sins, and eventually Carpenter and Plath find themselves with another motley collection of sinners.

If you liked Inferno, with its strange mix of Catholic theology, science fiction, and redemption -but I repeat myself!- I think you'll like Escape from Hell. Perhaps the best part of the book is the possibility that we'll see another sequel. :)