I went into Devil’s Lair with a lot of excitement, eager for a read on one of my favorite historical eras. That it promised to include generous helpings of Dante’s Inferno made me even more eager.
I have to say that I was not disappointed. Wisehart does a magnificent job with character development, painting a vivid portrait of deep characterization on very different people—the wounded knight, the fallen priest, Giovanni the poet, and the epileptic woman with visions.
I felt the development of the characters was exceptionally well done in the first half of the book, while action and a faster pace dominated the second half. I have read Dante’s Inferno a few times, and I enjoyed it, but I wonder if someone not familiar with Dante would find as much pleasure in Devil’s Lair.
The only complaint I have is Wisehart’s use of his obviously extensive vocabulary. I love being sent to the dictionary now and then to learn a new word, or to get clarification on what I thought was the proper definition of a word, but I found myself going a little too often in Devil’s Lair. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind so much, with electronic reading and the dictionary literally at your fingertips, but—and this might be an annoyance for some—many of the words weren’t even listed in the Kindle dictionary, so I was forced to look them up on Google. While this was enlightening in one sense, it was frustrating in another. I felt that 90% of the time the author could have made his point just as well with a simpler word.
Devil’s Lair is not a typical page-turner in the sense of action, or mystery; it is more a book that must be devoured one delicious page at a time, and I did just that. It took me longer to read than most books, but then again, this one made me stop and think—something I relish, as I don’t do enough of it. The descriptions in Wisehart’s book are detailed, the story is true to the era and the masterpiece it draws so well from, and the dialogue can be thought provoking and enlightening.
If you are a fan of Dante’s Inferno, or enjoy that era of Italian history, by all means I would recommend you pick up Devil’s Lair. You won’t be disappointed.