Work Title: Into the World of the Dead: Astonishing Adventures in the Underworld
Work Author(s): Michael Boughn
Color photographs and illustrations, 56 pages, Hardcover $24.95, Softcover $12.95, 1-55037-958-5
Reviewer: Cymbre Foster
There are a variety of ways into the underworld---through a door, across a river, via a hole in the earth---and in nearly every culture brave souls and reluctant victims have paid a visit to this unearthly and ghastly realm. Often depicted as a world of the dead lying beneath one's feet, the ugly underbelly of the underworld is deftly revealed in these stories, which will both frighten and fascinate.
The author, who has a doctorate in English literature and has written several books, including a sports biography series, begins by portraying the underworld "deeply connected with sin and punishment") with various cultural versions such as Naraka, the Hindu place of punishment, and Mesopotamia's underworld, Ganzir.
The rest of the chapters, which include titles such as "The Way In," "Getting Back," and "Guardians and Monsters," are lush with beguiling legends and gloriously gory descriptions. "The monsters of the lower realm were terrible in an astonishing variety of ways ... decked out in earth's finery---tatters of rotten flesh, skulls, eyeballs, maggots and worms."
The book is also rich with color...