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Booksellers are expecting big things. Both Barnes & Nobles and Amazon’s book section led with the work, already already listed as Amazon’s #1 bestseller. A buyer for Waterstones, a major European outlet, told the Guardian that they expect “Inferno” to “be the fastest and biggest selling novel of the year.” Has hell ever been this hot?
Blending religious history with layers of mystery has become a winning fiction publishing strategy for Brown. His previous works include “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” both books turned blockbusting movies. The Post’s Ron Charles reported in March that “The Da Vinci Code” was the fastest-selling adult hardcover of all time. (At least part of Brown’s “success” is fueled by by the outrage many Christians feel over his fictional license with their sacred teachings–and the inevitable media coverage that follows.)
Brown’s new book, said to blend hellish visions of the future with Dante’s depiction of eternal suffering, also has the to potential to boost sales of the original “Inferno,” written by 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri. The Inferno is one of the three parts (including Purgatorio and Paradiso) that make up the “The Divine Comedy,” Alighieri’s epic poem about man’s spiritual journey. The Dante Project at Princeton is online and features lectures and historical background as well as full access to the work.
Hell has also been a hot topic as of late in the Christian publishing world –Christian pastor Rob Bell’s 2011 book, “Love Wins,” touched off months of debate after Bell wrote that he couldn’t reconcile a loving God with eternal damnation. Bell’s book made the New York Times’ bestseller list in 2011.