by Fr. J. Augustina Wetta, OSB
Condemned to burn in the eighth circle of Dante's Hell, Odysseus, legendary thief and liar of Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, decides he is going to break out. His adventure begins with a prayer to Athena Parthenos, who appears to him bearing gifts: his armor, his famous bow, a mysterious leather pouch, and seven unusual arrows. She then sends him on a quest through the Underworld along with Diomedes, his friend from the Trojan War who had been sharing in his eternal punishment. To complete their escape, the goddess warns them, they must recover their squandered honor and learn to use "the eighth arrow".
At turns exciting, humorous, and edifying, this action-packed epic follows Odysseus and Diomedes as they journey through all the circles of Dante's Hell, where they encounter various characters from Greek mythology, ancient history, and Renaissance literature, including Helen of Troy, Cerberus, Penelope, Homer, Harpies, Centaurs, and eventually Satan himself. With witty banter and wily stratagems, the two Greek warriors fight their way through the obstacles that stand between them and redemption.
The Eighth Arrow is a thoroughly entertaining jailbreak story. Full of allusions to great works of old, it is also gently educational, and as such it can be read as a guide or a companion to Dante's Inferno and the works of Homer.
"It takes a very gifted writer to do what Father Wetta has done. He takes two of civilization's greatest storytellers and melds and molds their works into something new and astonishingly fresh. At home with Homer and undaunted by Dante, he leads us through Dante's Hell in the company of Homer's heroes. He does so with an enchanting interweaving of gravitas and levitas, plumbing intellectual depths with a lighthearted and humorous touch. Never has a journey through Hell been this much fun!"
— Joseph Pearce, Editor, The Ignatius Critical Editions series