Juno Magazine, Autumn 2012, Issue 29
'It’s a really clever idea combining elements of World War 1 and Dante’s Inferno.... I see it as a movie!’
Caroline Lawrence, author of The Roman Mysteries and The Western Mysteries series.
'Griselda Heppel is a born storyteller. Your children will love her books and, to be honest, so will you.' The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Big Book, Little Book
by Daisy, age 11
Aquila Magazine, March 2013
THE OXFORD TIMES 4:47pm Thursday 24th January 2013
By Philippa Logan
Dante’s Inferno is not the first idea that springs to mind when thinking of classical stories that could be adapted to children’s literature. However, Griselda Heppel has done just that with her variation on Dante’s 14th-century epic poem in her children’s novel Ante’s Inferno (Matador, £6.99).
Many of the parallels with the original are there. Twelve-year-old Ante (Antonia) is lost in the dark staircase to the old organ loft, pursued by her enemy Florence, her lifelong persecutor. She is rescued not by the poet Virgil, but by the ghost of a long-dead boy, Gil, who had fallen to his death from the rickety staircase a century earlier. The three of them have a horrendous journey through the circles of hell, with beasts, lost souls and bad advice at every turn.
Myths and reality merge at the outset. The idea for the story was sparked by a true tragedy in 1910 at the Dragon School, when two 13-year-old boys climbed on to a balcony overlooking the school hall, and one fell to his death. Like the Gil of the novel.
This set the author contrasting the fate of that boy with the fate of his contemporaries, many of whom would have gone on to fight in the First World War. These wonderings feed a modern thread into the circular tapestry of the novel.
Younger readers will take the story at face value, and it is a dark, gripping tale. Older readers may appreciate the classical references, and perhaps be inspired to read a little further into the allegorical poem from which this novel derives its name.
Holly (12) from Childtastic Books says:
'I finished this book at night when I wasn’t supposed to be reading but I couldn’t stand the suspense – I had to read it! So read this book, explore the words I explored, finger and touch the pages that I did and enroll yourself into this living story of a book. Wait for all the unexpected things to happen and, most of all, enjoy it!'
See rest of review on http://childtasticbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/review-antes-inferno-by-griselda-heppel/