Tor, 2007 (2007)
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Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai
ayne Barlowe is known already for his graphic and terrifying paintings of demons and extraterrestrial beings, and this novel manages to portray in print what his paintings do visually. There is a sense of repulsion at every turn of the page; hellish demon-beings encased in robes of skin, Prince Beelzebub formed almost entirely of flies and the principle servant to Lucifer himself, tormented
being compressed into building blocks for the grand cities of Hell.
he repugnance is insidious throughout the book, save for one Demon Major, Sargatanas. Like all the Demon Majors, he amassed a group of equal and lesser demons when they were banished from Heaven and together they set about building his city, a city that proved to be very different from those of his neighbours; here Hell took on a quieter, more serene feel as Sargatanas tried to make a
community more reminiscent of Heaven than the tortured place he now inhabited. He among his peers felt regret for the behaviour that resulted in their banishment, and he would dearly like to rectify the situation and return to God's fold.
his fantasy is not for the faint of heart; the journey is nightmarish and very detailed in its descriptions – the artist in Barlowe
a picture in words, leaving little to the imagination. There are political intrigues, desires, hopes, villainy and guilt depicted in the dark pages of this novel, which looks like it could be the first in a series.
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