Michael Martin – Burn in Hades

Michael J. Martin takes his reader into an epic journey with Cross through Hades, hell, underworld or similar concepts come into mind: Burn in Hades. Michael L. Martin Jr. is an author of fantasy who believes magic should always be magical because it’s, well, magic. It’s Martin Jr. first book in The Life After Death Trilogy. Martin combines names and ideas about devils, demons, torture, first and second death, Charon, punishment to create his version of hell. Cross never forgives because he never forgets. He is the only one that remembers. Glimpses of his earthly – sinful – life as Charles Hill are interwoven in his journey to reach the last Toran and climb up to paradise. Cross didn’t drink from the river Lethe which causes complete forgetfulness. Not that he’s not haunted by evil spirits trying to hinder him from reaching his goal and steal memories. Paradise is guarded by a great wall that annihilates any soul that gets too close. No member of the damned has ever broken in. Creatures like gimlets, squals, Nothings cannot be trusted. The storyline is full of skulls, death, evil and unworthy friends. From the Egyptian Duat to an updated version of the Greek Charon to the magical calabash tree of the Mayan Xibalba. It’s the right place to throw “what the hell’s” and “who the hell” into conversations. Cross (Charles Hill), as well as other souls named Ms Blankface, The Raven, Clem Balfour (Tivoli) all are described in detail.  Avoiding explicit Christian, Muslim, Jewish or pagan beliefs, it’s the last Toran (Torah meets Qur’an) they’re looking for. Objects are weapons and kind of money. Of course there are weapons, but mostly without any damage at all. Second death has to be a special occassion. Praying is done to The Great Goddess. Only once in the book God is mentioned, maybe an editorial mistake. The regions in the underworld are worked out on a great map. It’s the fantasy aspect that keeps the reader entertained and engaged. Will Cross be the one to open up the way to paradise?