”Their appearance was as grotesque as their croaking chorus; they were as varied and individual as the capricious laws of the demons could create. Somewhere in Hell, a veritable army of lesser demons had their way with the endless flood of souls as they entered the realm. Legless, headless, corkscrewed, folded, torn, and pierced, each soul wore but the thinnest mask of mankind.”Painting by artist and author Wayne Barlowe
Lucifer has disappeared from Hell passing his administrative duties to Beelzebub. Cities have been built conjuring souls into blocks. Pain, anguish, torture, despair are the natural order of the day to say nothing of the heat, the incessant wind, and the bloody ash that covers everything. The fallen angels, now demons, are corrupted, twisted, and bear little resemblance to their former beautiful embodiments. Politics made up of shifting alliances born more out of mutual interest and fear than out of loyalty dominate the ongoing struggle for power in the realm. Beelzebub is cruel, even for a demon, and when a rival, Sargantanas begins to dream of redemption and a return to heaven. A war over that belief splits Hell into two mighty armies made up of creatures that only the most vivid imagination can conceive.
Lilith is here. She belongs to Beelzebub, tossed to him by Lucifer along with the staff of the kingdom. Every demon desires her, dreams of her, and wants to possess her. ”He wanted her just as did nearly all the demons of the court. As a sexual plaything, as a possession. She was, he thought, at turns beautiful and terrifying, sensuous and cold, fragile and strong, and, perhaps, because of these intimidating, unfathomable contradictions, almost irresistible. But, like all the demons, Adramalik knew what the penalty would be if Beelzebub even thought there was any competition. His paranoia was matched only by his wrath.”
Unlike the hues, the colors of hell, that the demons assumed Lilith is bone white, a bit of snow in a world of violent colors. ”Lilith was close; he could see the red sclera of her eyes, the tiny nostrils, the thick, tight curls of her snowy mane. And, brought on perhaps by the stagnant, hot air, the thin sheen of perspiration that glazed her perfectly sculpted body.”Lilith painted by the author Wayne Barlowe
She begins carving bone white images of herself and has them delivered to souls and embodied in those carvings are the beginnings of a religious affirmation. When she escapes Beelzebub and the city of Dis for Saragantanas and the city of Adamantinarx-Upon-The-Acheron she becomes an added spark for conflict, the Helen of Troy of HELL
Hannibal Barca receives one of the Lilith carvings and even though he doesn’t know exactly why it holds such power over him he feels the first glimmer of hope since he found himself in HELL
. Out of a sea of souls he comes to the attention of Saragantanas and as the army emerges and alliances are formed Saragantanas realizes he needs the souls to help win this war and that Hannibal Barca, one of the greatest generals in the history of the world, would be the perfect one to lead them. Unprecedented changes are happening in HELL
and the hope of redemption, though not fully believed by all of his followers, offers the first glimmer of hope of achieving what they have all lost. Hannibal and his army of souls by the author Wayne Barlowe
Eligor is the chronicler of our story, a loyalist to Saragantanas, a demon of culture much happier when he is flipping through books made of souls than when he is preparing for war. His room is his sanctuary. ”The sealed chamber-doors, built tall and wide to accommodate his wings, were just as he had left them, his red seal affixed to the center, his handprint intact. As he swung the doors aside he smelled the familiar and comforting odor of his pace and his possession within. Sometimes, when he was abroad, he would call up that smell from his memory, to distract himself from some of the other smells prevalent in Hell, and sometimes simply to comfort himself. Orange light, shimmering in through the leaded-obsidian windows, bled through the darkness, playing upon his many things, and he smiled.
Eligor painting by the author Wayne Barlowe
Valefar had given him one of Astaroth’s generals’ axes, hand still attached, and this Eligor hung from a pair of outstretched fingers on his wall. As he lit his many small braziers he saw that all his clutter was as he left it. Strange bits and pieces of his travels, his wars, his past, adorned nearly every flat surface visible....And there, just as he had left it, was his ongoing project, his diary, open to the last entry, the precious feather quill--his sole intact quill plucked from his own wing just after the Fall--lying upon it. A beam of firelight from outside touched the inscribed vellum as if its import was greater than he felt.”
This is an audacious book. Wayne Barlowe is an artist and writer and his vision of HELL
in torment, a world breaking apart as one demon begins to question the necessity of all the pain without hope of redemption, is simply awe inspiring. The scenes are vivid and graphic beyond even what Bosch could conjure up in his horrifying paintings of HELL
. The world that Barlowe builds is fully realized, as I lost myself in the details, the brush strokes, I was there feet burning, hair sizzling, gazing with wonder and fear at an artist’s ability to convey what he visualizes through the scratching of a quill on paper. Strangely enough instead of fearing HELL
, and believe me there are plenty of scenes that might have you scrambling for the next available spot for a priesthood or joining a nunnery, I came away with the hope that if there truly is a HELL
that punishment may not be forever, but that there is always a chance at redemption even for a fallen angel.
For more images and more information about this book please visit http://www.godsdemon.com