In 1865 Boston, a small group of literary geniuses put the finishing touches on America's first translation of The Divine Comedy, and prepare to unveil the remarkable visions of Dante to the New World. The powerful old guard of Harvard College wants to keep Dante out, believing that the infiltration of such foreign superstitions would prove as corrupting as the foreign immigrants invading Boston harbor. The members of the Dante club--poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell and publisher J.T. Fields--endure the intimidation of their fellow Boston Brahmins for a sacred literary cause.
But the plans of the Dante Club come to a screeching halt when a series of murders erupt throughout Boston. Only the scholars realize that the style and form of the killings are stolen directly from Inferno and its singular account of Hell's punishments. With the police baffled, lives endangered and Dante's literary future at stake, the Dante Club must shed its sheltered literary existence and find the killer.
A magnificent blend of fact and fiction, a brilliantly realized paean to Dante, his mythic genius, and his enduring grip on the artistic imagination, THE DANTE CLUB represents the debut of a fine young novelist.