Trampling in the Land of Woe – William Galaini

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)


“Perhaps Hell is a place where you’re surrounded with thousands of others that feel as lost as you die, but nobody speaks of it”, he muttered to the dead Yitz on his back, then grunted at the irony.”


Hephaestion, lauded general and soul mate of Alexander the Great – and now a citizen of Purgatory – embarks on the biggest mission of his life: descending into the Pit of Hell and rescue his love, his King. Aided by unexpected allies, Hephaestion is tested with boundaries of love, loyalty and realises that even after death, his greatest demon is he himself.

The cover of the image and the title itself is dark enough to attract your attention, but true power of the book resides in its succinct description. Introducing Hephaestion as the lead character who is also known as Alexander the Great’s historic best friend, second-in-command and lover, the book evolves into this journey of hell and purgatory and human moralities that are often a factor. I must credit the author for the brilliant job he has done in creating a world that is so out of context and yet often mentioned in our moral dilemmas and numerous fictions.

The strength of the book resides completely in the plot, the backdrop that has been crafted to enable it, and the strength of its lead character. Each complexity of the book has been carefully factored in, and with equal dedication, it has been dealt with as well. The dramatization of the elements helped in capturing the attention of the readers and keeping them involved. Despite the mention of romantic relationship between Hephaestion and Alexander, it was a relief to not read upon sexual details about their relationship. The subtle respect that has been shown to the romantic element helps in establishing the plot and also helps in the evolution of the storyline to the conclusion.

The narrative style is smooth, personal and dramatic enough to ensure that the readers are involved till the very end.

If you are a Greek History fan or have read Dante Alighieri’s Inferno or just want to read something dark and different, then you will definitely like this book.

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