I’m always thrilled to have author Zoe Archer visit and guest post on my blog. It doesn’t matter what series of hers that I’m reading, I know I’m always guaranteed a few things: sexy times, a smart, kick ass heroine that can hold her own and a hero that loves her for it.
Zoe’s here to discuss Sinner’s Heart, the third book in her fabulous Hellraisers trilogy. The devil causes quite a bit of trouble for the group of men called the Hellraisers and Zoe has written a great post about the Gods of the Underworld throughout history.
(You can read my reviews for Devil’s Kiss #1, and Demon’s Bride #2)
Osiris. Hades. Mictlantecuhtli. Yama. Different names, different cultures. But they have something in common: they all rule over the underworld.
It’s been said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. While few cultures have gods and goddesses who preside over taxes (that’s a god I don’t want to meet), almost every culture has a deity who presides over death and the afterlife. Sometimes the god or goddess is benign, or morally neutral. Sometimes the deity is actively evil, trying to lure mortals into wrongdoing. There are many faces and attitudes toward the most mysterious, but inevitable, part of life.
Most of us are familiar with the Greek god Hades (or Pluto, as he was called by the Romans). He ruled over the kingdom that bore his name, a place that was divided up between realms of punishment for wrongdoers, lands of reward, and another realm for those who weren’t particularly evil or good. Hades is also known for his abduction of Persephone, daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter, which ultimately led to our cycle of seasons. (Though apparently, Hades didn’t get the memo this year to let Persephone come back for Spring.) Hades, shown as a distinguished bearded man, wasn’t himself feared or hated, but he definitely was respected.
Maori culture has a female reigning over the afterlife. Hine-nui-te-pō (which means “Great woman of night”) is the Maori goddess of night and death. She ran away to the underworld when she discovered that her husband, the forest god Tāne, was also her father. Tāne went after her, but she called out that she cut the cord of the world. From then on, she’d remain in the underworld, pulling mortals down to her realm. The trickster hero figure Maui tried ensure immortality for humans by crawling through Hine’s body as she slept. One of her companion songbirds laughed, waking her, and Hine crushed Maui to death with, yes, her vagina. Humans remained mortal. Frankly, I find this story awesome, and sculptures of Hine show her as a woman with long breasts, crushing Maui with her vagina. Also pretty awesome, and a reminder to do your Kegel exercises.
Judeo-Christian belief has the figure of Satan, who had been an angel in Heaven, before leading a revolt of other angels. Satan was defeated, and he and the other rebel angels were expelled forcibly to the underworld. Thereafter, Satan has worked to lead humanity into temptation and sin. He also presides over the punishment of wrongdoers in the afterlife. I’m simplifying a very complex and often-discussed aspect of Judeo-Christian faith, but the idea that there is an immortal being trying to lead women and men into evildoing is strongly present in Western culture. Satan is sometimes shown as a horned figure, sometimes with bat-like wings, cloven hoofs, and a long, pointed tail. Unlike some other cultures’ representations of underworld gods, Satan is evil, and actively tries to hurt humanity. Not a good guy at all.
Throughout my paranormal historical series, THE HELLRAISERS, the Devil—or Mr. Holiday, as he decides to call himself—makes regular appearances. It’s Mr. Holiday who gives the five wealthy rakes their supernatural powers, and while he has special agents keeping an eye on the Hellraisers, the Devil does show up when the situation warrants it.
Fortunately, some very tough, smart women arrive on the scene, and, one by one, help the Hellraisers to learn the price of their powers. SINNER’S HEART is Bram’s story, and he may be the most difficult Hellraiser to bring around to the side of goodness. Fortunately, he’s got a very strong ally/adversary in the form of Valeria Livia Corva, an ancient Roman priestess who’s determined to send the Dark One back to hell.
So, my question to you is, what’s your favorite book or movie depiction of the Big Baddie? One commenter will win a copy of SINNER’S HEART (US and Canada only).
The Hellraisers, Book 3 Demons Of The Past
Abraham Stirling, Lord Rothwell, was a fighter once, a soldier in the Colonies. But Bram returned to London with more nightmares than tales of glory. Now he drowns his senses in the arms of countless women, while his friends, the Hellraisers, ensure he needn't sin alone.
Until, that is, the Devil himself grants them each a wish, undoing their camaraderie as they explore their wicked powers. Bram finds himself magically bound to Valeria Livia Corva, the sensuous priestess who raised the Devil the first time--and died to send the demon back.
She may be a ghost, but Livia is no angel. The raw passion she witnesses in Bram's memories isn't much different from her behavior when she had a body to enjoy. But it doesn't make it any easier to convince Bram to become a warrior again, lest all London burn. And the fierce desires reawakening within her might just start the blaze. . . ~ Goodreads
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.
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