I found myself swept down river with Mangum’s Abigail Beatrice Edmunds, or as she prefers, Abby. A senior in High School, Abby is sixteen going on seventeen has the perfect boyfriend, Jason, the boy next door. Abby is surround by true friends that listen and hang on her every word. She isn’t overly popular, but isn’t a brooding angst filled princesses of the night. Abby is special, but that is all about to change.
Abby wants to “live without limits.” Everything up to this point in her life has been planed for her. Even Jason, her caring boyfriend picks out her dress for the Valentines’ school dance. It seems that nothing in Abby’s life is left to chance, to the mystery of the moment. Abby wants a little mystery in life, a little danger, something other than faked enthusiasm she wears to please those who love her.
Enter the mysterious Italian exchange student, Dante. Dante is everything that Jason and her parents are not. He has secrets, he seems sad and tortured, he is exotically handsome, and more importantly, his live is with out limits (or so it seems). Dante is very thing that a seventeen year old girls thinks that she wants. Dante is selfless and thinks only of Abby. Abby is the Dante’s sun and he orbits her every thought with follow up questions, the kind of active listening skills that come with age or professional training.
Abby and Dante’s relationship is a.k.a. “Twilight” without the creepy vampire need to play with its food, a tortured we must find away to be together, but it is dangerous to be together. See, Dante has some very dangerous secrets. He is a falsely accused criminal, no worse, traitor to his country. Born in 1484, Dante was apprenticed to the one and only Leonardo di Vinci, inventor, dreamer, and genius, as a scribe. He was sentenced to enter “The Hourglass Door” and travel into the future where he would be trapped to live a live of exile from the river of time, unable to influence the past and unable to completely live in the present. The time Dante spends in the ‘now’ must be tempered with time spent in the void outside of time. So even though Dante was born more than 500 years ago, he is sill in his early teens, again a nice departure from the vampire mythos of I’m-really-old-but-I-like-teenage-girls-and-have-to-attend-high-school-forever.
To complicate their tortured relationship even further, enter the rock band Zero Hour completely composed of exiled Italian criminals, real criminals who have noticed that Abby is very very special. Abby is able to slip in and out of the timeless void at will and survive with her sanity intact. While she it in the void a bridge over the river of time appears stretching back to “The Hourglass Door.” The members of Zero Hour have been searching for a way back to cross back to the door, and now they have it. The race is on to protect Abby and the other pieces of the door.
Will Dante and Abby live a live with out limits, happily ever after, or are they destined to live out their Divine Comedy namesakes’ quandary, Dante struggling through the levels of the Inferno and Predatory to only glimpse his beloved angel Beatrice? You’ll have to read the book to find out.