Praise for the Eighth Arrow

"If Homer and Dante were alive today and collaborated on a buddy cop movie, the screenplay might read something like The Eighth Arrow. It is thoroughly enjoyable both as an adventure story and as a literary exploration of Dante’s setting and Homer’s characters. But the book’s greatest strength—the message I suspect I’ll recall years from now—is its theme: the redemptive power of choosing mercy over justice." –Mike Mullin, author of SURFACE TENSION and the ASHFALL trilogy

“Imagine, if you will, a great myth of the classical age, but one written by a Christian. In this unique work of literature—by turns dazzling, witty, profoundly insightful—the author ponders the fate of ancient heroes in the Underworld. Though the name of Christ is not mentioned, the horrors of Hell are real enough, and Odysseus’ quest for escape from eternal death is revealed as a purgatorial spiritual odyssey, which in the end shows him that he cannot save himself.” — MICHAEL D. O’BRIEN, Author, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse

"Wetta's extension of Odysseus's story should rank up there with Tennyson's poem and well above Kazantzakis's Nietzschean rubbish."--THOMAS MANN, Reference Librarian at the Library of Congress and Author, The Oxford Guide to Library Research

"Wetta's breezy, wildly-creative tale is an adventure story that moves at a cracking pace and that is filled with battles, monsters, and a plethora of unexpected twists and turns. While remaining true to Dante's geography of hell, Wetta nevertheless allows us to experi­ence it in a fresh, inventive way, through the eyes of a larger-than­ life confidence trickster who gains self-knowledge, even as he receives, many times over, his long-awaited, much-deserved come­uppance. — LOUIS MARCOS, The Saint Austin Review

“Rife with hybrid monsters, this vigorous, eventful, and often comic story is itself a new, hybrid creation springing up from a forceful collision between pagan Greek and Christian cultures. Dreaming in the tradition of MacDonald’s Phantastes, Lewis’ Narnia books, and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Father Wetta propels a surprising hero into a fantastical landscape that declares to us that things and people are not as they seem but are subject to powers of transformation. That faint noise? The faraway applause of the Inklings.” — MARLY YOUMANS, Author, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage

 

“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

“Classicists will cheer and new readers will be tantalized by the glories of antiquity as the epic heroes of Greece, condemned to Dante’s Inferno, stage the greatest jailbreak in several centuries. And every reader will delight as the wiliest of all Greeks pushes his ingenuity to its limits in Father Augustine’s clever, erudite, and engaging intersection of classical epic and fantasy.” — ELEANOR NICHOLSON, Author, A Bloody Habit: A Novel

 

"Though Dante (who ran himself through hell for the sake of purging our pity for God's rightfully damned) may well be turning over in his now blessed grave at the compelling narrative ingenuity and theological cunning with which the no-longer irrevocably damned narrator Odysseus weaves the Eighth-Arrow tale of his infernal escape and reformation, the rest of us can only thrill and smile at the recounting of his extraordinary passage through the circles of a newly negotiable Christian Dis.   There’s just so much to enjoy: a vivid animation of the infernal landscape along with an expanded cast of ever more interesting denizens; affecting character relationships fraught with shifting cross purposes and dearly won reconciliations; suspenseful decision-making and precarious physical action culminating a grand finale of a battle scene that liberates every soul in limbo (along with a few ranks of rectified infernal sentries, to boot!). And laced through it all are absorbing allegorical mysteries and lessons that amend as well as amplify Dante’s own religious principles.  So what if Odysseus claims in his prologue to have invented it all and never to have even stepped foot in the infernal regions?  What else can we expect from such an inveterate fabulist? And what else is The Eighth Arrow but, above all, a great story—just as J. Augustine Wetta, O. S. B., its real and living human author, finally reminds us to remember and to relish.  I can’t imagine any reader who won’t prove more than happy to oblige."

     -ROBERT CIRASA, Professor of English and Author, Willoughby and the Professor

© 2018 SAINT LOUIS ABBEY