|Cover artist||Kathy Marschall|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback)|
|Pages||257 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||0-916595-00-5 (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3552.R84 T6 1984|
To Reign in Hell is a 1984 fantasy novel by American writer Steven Brust. It deals with the revolt of angels in Heaven from a point of view that casts Satan as a sympathetic protagonist. The novel appears to be heavily influenced by John Milton's Paradise Lost .
The novel has had three different publishers since its initial publication: SteelDragon Press (limited edition hardcover), Ace Books (mass market paperback ), and Tor Books (Orb trade paperback ). The editions by SteelDragon Press and Ace Books are out of print.
The story begins by detailing the creation story of Heaven. There is a substance of raw chaos: cacoastrum; and stuff of order: illiaster. From the illiaster came consciousness that resulted in the firstborn angels: Yaweh, Satan, Michael, Lucifer, Raphael, Leviathan and Belial. The firstborn create Heaven in order to protect themselves from the cacoastrum, which threatens to destroy them. This event is later referred to as the 'First Wave.' The walls of heaven have collapsed two times since then, resulting in the Second and Third Waves, creating, respectively, the archangels and angels.
After the third wave Heaven has been divided into four regencies named for the cardinal points of the compass. Belial, half-mad and trapped in the form of a dragon, rules the Northern Regency. Leviathan, a kindly woman in the shape of a sea serpent, oversees the Western Regency. Satan rules the South with his loyal servant Beelzebub, trapped in the body of a golden retriever. Lucifer rules the East, with his consort Lilith, who had previously been briefly involved with Satan. Yaweh oversees all of Heaven from the center, aided by his healer Raphael and warrior Michael.
Other important angels include the blind musician Harut, the poetry-quoting Ariel, the craftsman Asmodai, the smirking Mephistopheles, the dour Uriel, the sneering Abdiel, the somewhat naive Gabriel and the coolly competent Zaphkiel. A mostly independent subplot involving two angels named Kyriel and Sith gives the viewpoints of two low-level angels who get swept up in the story's events.
Trouble arises when Yaweh, worried about the imminent Fourth Wave, devises The Plan: the blueprint for a new, larger Heaven (Earth), with walls that the cacoastrum cannot destroy. Unfortunately, at least a thousand angels will die during the construction of his new Paradise. Yaweh charges Satan with securing the cooperation of every angel in Heaven, and Satan finds himself wondering if they have the ethical right to coerce anyone into participating.
Exacerbating matters is Abdiel, who craves Satan's rank. Abdiel begins playing Satan against Yaweh, telling each of them that the other will no longer discuss matters. Step by step, the factions escalate. Abdiel attempts to wound Beelzebub and accidentally kills the innocent Ariel. When Satan and Beelzebub attempt to avenge this, Raphael and Michael misinterpret this as proof their opponents have abandoned all decency.
Yaweh, attempting to rally his side, convinces his supporters that he is not only the eldest of the Firstborn, he is God. This announcement stuns not only his opponents, but even Michael, his closest supporter. Using the energy of his newfound worshippers, he creates a new angel, Yeshuah, who he proclaims his son and heir.
As the war continues, Zaphkiel intercepts Satan and brings him directly to Yaweh, where the two discover that Abdiel has played them both for fools. However, Satan will not acknowledge Yaweh's dishonest claim to Godhood, and neither will Yaweh abandon it, so the conflict continues.
Abdiel, now on the run from both sides, begins digging a hole in the wall of Heaven, but Mephistopheles finds and strangles him before he can finish the work. Satan's hosts gain the ascendancy in the battle. Seeing that defeat is inevitable, Yaweh decides to destroy Heaven by expanding the hole that Abdiel had been deepening. Yet when the wall of Heaven is breached, flooding Heaven with cacoastrum, Yaweh finds that he cannot allow himself to be destroyed by the cacoastrum; it is not in his nature.
Yeshuah, seeing an opportunity to triumph over Satan's forces, sacrifices his life by leaping into the breach and directing the rupture towards the hosts of Satan, devastating them. Meanwhile, as the rebels fight for Heaven, Satan is captured but with the help of Beelzebub and Mephistopheles leaves Heaven; his followers join him in the abyss and create a third stronghold: Hell.
A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.
Mephistopheles is a demon featured in German folklore. He originally appeared in literature as the demon in the Faust legend, and he has since appeared in other works as a stock character.
There have been various attempts throughout history by theologian scholars in the classification of Christian demons for the purpose of understanding the biblical and mythological context of adversarial spirits. Theologians have written dissertations in Christian demonology, classical occultism, classical mythology and Renaissance magic to clarify the connections between these spirits and their influence in various demons. The study of demonology was historically used to understand morality, behavioral tendencies, and has even been used as symbolism to relay anecdotal tales in with which they lure people into temptation and may also include the angels or saints that were believed to have been their adversaries; an idea which derived from the Biblical battle between the Archangel Michael and the Antichrist in The Book of Revelation (12:7-9) describing a war in heaven which resulted in Satan and his angels being expelled from Heaven. The classifications of these fallen angels are based on many other characteristics as well, such as behaviors that caused their fall from heaven, physical appearances or the methods that were used to torment people, cause maladies, or elicit dreams, emotions, etc. Most authors who wrote theological dissertations on the subject either truly believed in the existence of infernal spirits, or wrote as a philosophical guide to understanding an ancient perspective of behavior and morality in folklore and religious themes.
Abdiel is a biblical name which has been used as the name for a number of fictional characters and as a given name for several notable people. The name is cognate to and has the same meaning as the Arabic name Abdullah. Abdiel is mentioned a single time in the Bible, in 1 Chronicles 5:15:
Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
In some occult and similar writings, an archdemon is a spiritual entity, prominent in the infernal hierarchy as a leader of demons. Essentially, the archdemons are the evil counterparts of the archangels.
Phanuel is the name given to the fourth angel who stands before God in the Book of Enoch, after the angels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. Other spellings of Phanuel include Paniel, Peniel, Penuel, Fanuel, Orfiel, and Orphiel. His name means "the face of God".
The Devil, appears frequently as a character in literature and various other media. In Abrahamic religions, the figure of the Devil, Satan personifies evil.
In mainstream Christianity, the Devil is a fallen angel who rebelled against God. Satan was expelled from Heaven and sent to Earth. The Devil is often identified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, whose persuasions led to the situation that Christian doctrine calls original sin and for which it sees Redemption by Jesus Christ as the cure. He is also identified as the accuser of Job, the tempter of the Gospels, Leviathan and the dragon in the Book of Revelation.
Fallen is a 2006 ABC Family miniseries based on The Fallen series of novels by Thomas Sniegoski, and broken into three parts. The first part was originally advertised as an "ABC Family Original Movie", but nearly a year later, it was followed up with two other parts of equal length over the course of a weekend. Fallen stars Paul Wesley as Aaron Corbett, a good-natured high school student who discovers he is a Nephilim, human-angel hybrid. An alternate reality game advertising the series won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Program.
Paradise Lost has had a profound impact on writers, artists and illustrators, and, in the twentieth century, filmmakers.
The Book of Revelation describes a war in heaven between angels led by the Archangel Michael against those led by "the dragon", identified as the devil or Satan, who will be defeated and thrown down to the earth. Revelation's war in heaven is related to the idea of fallen angels, and possible parallels have been proposed in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Hell is a common setting found in art, literature, and popular culture.
Beelzebub or Beelzebul is a name derived from a Philistine god, formerly worshipped in Ekron, and later adopted by some Abrahamic religions as a major demon. The name Beelzebub is associated with the Canaanite god Baal.
The demon Belial, or characters named for him, have appeared in many examples of modern culture. This is distinct from medieval culture and Milton where Belial was related to the character in Jewish sources.
Hell is a fictional location, an infernal Underworld utilized in various American comic book stories published by DC Comics. It is the locational antithesis of the Silver City in Heaven. The DC Comics location known as Hell is based heavily on its depiction in Abrahamic mythology. Although several versions of Hell had briefly appeared before in various other DC Comics publications in the past, the official DC Comics concept of Hell was first properly established when it was mentioned in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #25-27 and was first seen in Swamp Thing Annual #2 (1985), all of which were written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben.
The Prophecy is an American fantasy horror-thriller film franchise, which focuses on Angels fighting each other to protect the survival of the human race on Earth. Produced by Dimension Film, the series was established in 1995 with the eponymous first installment, The Prophecy, which has since been followed by four direct-to-video sequels. In 2005, its latest sequel The Prophecy: Forsaken was released on DVD instead of VHS.
The Hebrew term mammon, personifying money in the New Testament, has led to many adaptations in literature, film, and popular culture.
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