By: Janet and Chris Morris, Nancy Asire, Joe Bonadonna, S.E. Lindberg, Michael E. Dellert, Michael H. Hanson, A.L. Butcher, Andrew P. Weston
Only fools fall in love, and hell is filled with fools. Our damned lovers include Christopher Marlowe and Will Shakespeare, Napoleon and Wellington, Orpheus and Eurydice, Hatshepsut and Senenmut, Abelard and Heloise, Helen and Penelope, Saint Teresa and Satan’s Reaper, Madge Kendall and the Elephant Man, and more . . . — all of whom pay a hellish price for indulging their affections.
Shakespeare said “To be wise and love exceeds man’s might,” and in Lovers in Hell, the damned in hell exceed all bounds as they search for their true loves, punish the perfidious, and avoid getting caught up in Satan’s snares. In ten stories of misery and madness, hell’s most loveless seek to slake the thirst that can never be quenched and find true love amid the lies of ages.
My story – A Hand of Four Queens follows Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, Dido and Queen Penelope as they try and destroy the Golden Apple – the item which arguably started the Trojan War – when Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses, and in her turn she gave him the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife. Unfortunately, Helen of Troy, otherwise known as Helen of Sparta was married to King Menelaus and he was rather annoyed that his wife legged it with Paris. His brother was the mighty Agamemnon (who was married to Clytemnestra) and he had a very large army and fleet…. Thus begins the Trojan War.
In this tale Helen is cursed to sleep with anyone bearing the Golden Apple – they all look like Paris or Diomedes, at least until after. Clytemnestra longs for the husband she had murdered, who unsurprisingly hates her, Penelope is doomed to be away from Odysseus until she has unwoven the shroud on the Loom of Lies – which reweaves itself every day and Dido – well she is even more of a tragic character. This being Hell nothing goes as planned, nothing works properly and no one can be trusted.
Lovers in Hell Excerpt
A Hand of Four Queens – A L Butcher
Upon the floor, a myth rolled slowly, tossed from a weaver’s slender fingers. A curse made real, and the toy of gods long since lost— or at least misplaced, this item was. The glow from it drew the eyes, soft and warm in this place of sin and suffering. It was beautiful. It was deadly.
“Helen, Helen daughter of Leda . . . touch me. I can be yours if the price be paid. Dare you risk the flames and play a hand of four queens in the ultimate game, the game for your myth and your freedom?” The mouth next to her ear was soft as sunlight and as rare. Once it had breathed into the ear of an adventurer king, and its owner had woven lies to protect a long-lost lover. Now they whispered a kind of charm, a myth unravelled like a broken loom. The whisperer knew all about looms. Then the room went silent, and empty save the writhing bodies beneath the awful blankets.
Helen’s fingers reached from beneath the itchy, scratchy thornweave blanket, trying to touch the Golden Apple in her enchanted state: Her curse. In times so far away but ever etched upon myth the Apple had been a gift to a warrior, a prince and fool and from it spewed war, murder and treachery. Had Helen been a little more awake, not so drawn to the glow, she might have seen the door closing and the shadows shift. But Helen of Sparta did not.
Once she’d been the most beautiful woman in the world. Now she was the Trojan Whore. Helen of Sparta, Helen of Troy; the woman whose seduction and abduction spawned a decade of war, the fall of a city-state and the death of thousands. It had spawned the myth of myths.
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?
The Heroes in Hell series is a wonderful collection of characters from history thrust together into a darkly humorous, deliciously twisted afterlife and avoid the gaping pitfalls of existing in Hell – where nothing works properly, everything is a parody of the world above and unlikely friendships are forged as best they can be. Lovers in Hell brings together a collection of people who vainly, naively or stubbornly want to indulge their affections.