I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for anything to do with Hell. I’m fascinated by the horror aspect of religion, it is so ingrained into our lives that it legitimizes the monsters and makes it hit closer to home. Add in an ancient Greek hero and I’m all in!
William Galaini has created a vivid picture of Hell. He has taken his time on this journey, explained the dynamics, mapped it out and created some exceptional characters. It was an incredible journey that literally took me to the depths of Hell. To my own shame, I haven’t read Dante – I probably should. I imagine that some of the base concepts that Galaini used comes from Dante’s work. Combined with the landscape are a cornucopia of steampunk inspired machines and grotesque demons. All of these elements combined to create a world that I could fall into.
A story like this is nothing without great characters. Galaini has chosen Hephaestion as his protagonist, some might say he was the closest friend that Alexander the Great ever had. Hephaestion played the perfect tortured soul; he was not doomed to Hell. As for Alexander, Hephy’s best friend, general, soul mate…well, let’s be frank, you don’t conquer half the known world, name twenty cities after yourself, marry three women and have a couple of mistresses on the side without breaking a cardinal rule or five. Alexander went straight to Hell. Hephaestion’s loss was so great that he went down to rescue Alexander.
There were also some fabulous secondary characters. Some were pulled from the pages of history, others plucked from Galaini’s imagination. My personal favorite was Emmett, he added a little something extra to the story. Then there was Yitz…the ying to Hephaestion’s yang. Yitz was the perfect glue to hold the whole story together. He allowed Hephaestion to see what is truly important.
I’m looking forward to my next voyage with The Patron Saints of Hell.