Wayne Barlowe, traditionally an artist, has taken up his pen to write a debut novel. Best known for his drawings of aliens and hellish figures, Barlowe writes of what he has come to know best: Lucifer and his fallen angels.
At the end of the war in Heaven, Lucifer and his angels were cast down to Hell. Among Lucifer’s loyal followers was the archangel Sargatanas. After millennia of building the most tolerant and progressive city in Hell, Sargatanas once again dreams of living Above with God. No longer content to build grand structures with the souls of men and fight amongst demons, he looks to start a war which will please Heaven and result in his ascendance. Amassing an army of both demons and souls, Sargatanas launches an ambitious offensive against the capital of Hell and its leader, Beelzebub. Ruling in place of the missing Lucifer, Beelzebub is determined to rid Hell of the heretic Sargatanas.
God's Demon is an ambitious first book by the artist Barlowe. He succeeds for the most part, though this novel is one of few that may have benefitted from greater length. Barlowe’s Hell is a fully realized setting for his story. His artistic ability helps to bring the characters and settings to life. He is able to produce not only the personalities of Sargatanas and the other demons but also their visual features. Several pieces of artwork were produced by the author to complement the story; they can be found on his website. Although part of the joy of the written word is the opportunity for the reader to visualize the creatures that populate the pages, the demons of the book are so complex structurally that the artwork is a great benefit.
Reading the novel, one would never know this is a freshman effort. The writing is quite good, and as mentioned above, the world is fully realized. Unfortunately, because of the near-epic scale of the battles, the book seems almost rushed. The author could have easily added several pages to the text without it becoming overlong. However, this must be a minor complaint.
It will be interesting to see how Wayne Barlowe’s career as a writer progresses. Whether he chooses to continue to write about Hell or move on to other subjects, he is certainly an author to watch. God's Demon is definitely a recommended read and a refreshing new entry in the fantasy genre.