Escape from Hell-Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

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Escape from Hell
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Tor, Feb 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 0765316323

Science fiction writer Allan Carpenter knows he was fortunate to escape from the nine circles of Hell thanks to his guide, Mussolini (see INFERNO). However, returning from the dead does not mean he is mentally freed from what he witnessed as he toured the Inferno. In fact, he suffers survivor’s guilt and struggles to return to his previous lifestyle as he saw innocent souls confined unjustly to hell’s torture. He vows to find a way to return to liberate those who deserve a better eternal fate.

Poetess Sylvia Plath escapes from the Wood of Suicides. She and Carpenter meet and realize they share something extraordinary. She agrees to accompany him on his quest into hell on what he believes is a heavenly cause. On their trek into the Inferno, they meet J. Robert Oppenheimer amongst others as the Devil tries to prevent them from freeing souls especially those frozen in the inner rings home of mass killers.

Although very similar in tone and theme to INFERNO, the sequel is an exciting damnation thriller, as Carpenter learns how hard it is to turn the other cheek with some of the damned he and Sylvia meet. The story line is fast-paced and of course pays homage to Dante while insuring the historical personnel met in hell seem real. However, the tale belongs to Allan and his sidekick as they learn the hard way the infinite meaning of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
 
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