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Valley of the Dead (the Truth Behind Dante's Inferno) Paperback – April 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Permuted Press; 1St Edition edition (April 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934861316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934861318
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a graduate of St John's College, Annapolis (1988), Harvard Divinity School (1990), and the University of Notre Dame (1995). I work at Iona College. I am married with two wonderful children. I am blessed to be able to write about the things that interest me and share my ideas with others.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
My first zombie book.
fearz
The secondary characters we meet along the way are much like people you'd find in any crisis taking place.
Colleen Wanglund
The author did a terrific job with the characters and story.
Elizabeth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Nick Cato on April 9, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Despite talks (within the genre) of zombies being just about "as played out" as vampires, there seems to be a fresh take on them nearly every month . . . but few have been as interesting (or intelligent) as Kim Paffenroth's VALLEY OF THE DEAD, which takes its cue from visions seen in Dante's INFERNO and imagines what he went through during his 17-year exile from Italy (a timeline of his life is provided for us mere mortals!).

The author's prologue itself is worth the cover price and dared me (and will dare any zombie fanatic) to keep reading long into the night.

Besides the uber-cool setup, Paffenroth's writing style here differs from his "Dying to Live" series, and the whole tone of the story seems (at times) like you're reading a lost account of a historical reality. The various characters he encounters (and befriends) along his journey seem quite real, and in their conversations (especially in Chapter 20) we learn nifty bits and pieces about Dante's past (hmmm---seems Dr. Kim set out not only to give his readers the willies, but 'learn 'em a bit, too).

While I truly enjoyed this, I'm not sure how many fans of the standard "shoot-'em-up/gut-munch" zombie tale will; but if you allow yourself to enter Paffenroth's speculative vision with no pre-conceptions, you might find it a hard place to want to leave.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Funky Werepig on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
REVIEWED BY THE FUNKY WEREPIG

There are two main things you need to know about Kim Paffenroth's VALLEY OF THE DEAD. It's about zombies. And the book is based on Dante's `Inferno' from his classic poem The Divine Comedy. That's a serious mix of horror gore and incredible intelligence. I doubt very few writers could pull this combo off. But having met and chatted in depth with Mr. Paffenroth, I can also say that I'm not surprised that he nailed it.

With this novel, Paffenroth writes as if it's actual history. He follows Dante during one of the most depressing times of his life, his exile from his native city of Florence, Italy. Not much is known of Dante's life during this period but Paffenroth is more than happy to fill in those blank spots- with a zombie plague that has overrun the lands. And in doing so, his fictional story explains in a very matter-of-fact manner how Dante came upon his inspiration for his greatest and best known piece of work.

Told through Dante's eyes and words, he travels in search of some land that hasn't been overrun by the zombie plague. Along the way he joins a few companions- a soldier, a monk, and a pregnant peasant girl- who he forms unique bonds with as they journey literally through different levels of hell to a `safe' destination they're not sure even exists.

Where Paffenroth makes a brilliant choice is in having the living humans be the real horror. Oh yes, there are zombies all over the countryside, in the woods, the mountains and villages. You never know when they will attack and Paffenroth keeps the tension built throughout like a constant heartbeat. But it's in meeting the people who have survived the plague that offer the greatest threats.

Each chapter almost comes off as its own parable or tale.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Moon on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Divine Comedy by Italian poet Dante Alighieri is, arguably, one of the most studied and celebrated poems of all time. Religious scholars have spent centuries analyzing it for its theological content. Students of literature have sung praises for its prose for just long. On a personal level, Inferno (the volume of The Divine Comedy that deals with Hell) is one of the main things that sparked my dark interest in all things horror. The rhythm of the lines and the utterly macabre subject matter teamed with the violent yet beautiful imagery and I was hooked instantly. Now years later I've just finished Kim Paffenroth's Valley of the Dead, which is his fictional account of the years Dante spent in exile from his native city of Florence, and old horror is fresh again. He explains his influence, ideas, and drive for Valley of the Dead in his prologue. I read the entire book and thoroughly enjoyed it but I have to admit it only really took me the three page prologue to know I was gonna dig this ride.
In this account Dante enters a foreboding valley and is instantly drawn into an unholy adventure as both the dead and an army sent to destroy them ravages the first village Dante comes across. Dante, a man steeped in tradition and customs from his native land, saves the life of a pregnant peasant girl and together they flee the doomed town as the dead feast on its citizens and the army burns its buildings to the ground. The odd duo ride to the next town to warn of the dead and the approaching army but arrive to find the town swept up in frenzy against a supposed witch. One lone soldier, a deserter from the calloused and cruel army, stands against the crazed town folk. Again the walking dead appear and fire burns and Dante has another companion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Knutson on March 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked it, but it was a bit like Inferno by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Some variations, but I don't want to be a spoiler. Helps to be a bit familiar with Dante's original work, to see where the author is going, but overall a good read.
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