The Descent. This could have been a classic. Judging by the premise, that is. It seems Hell is real. And it's filled with demonic minions. All beneath your feet. For underneath the surface of the planet, far underneath the surface, lay a vast network of tunnels inhabited by a mysterious, and ancient, race. So old, in fact, that they pre-date any known human civilization. And it seems that they are the root of man's concept of an underworld repository of condemned souls. In other words, Hell. For these beings, known as Hadals, are horned and utterly sadistic. They thrive on torture. Or do they? Big Business and Government are determined to find out. What they discover is not so much a lost race of killers, but an historical and geological treasure trove. Unfortunately, this is a central weakness of the novel: for Long quickly despinses with the idea that the underground dwellers are hellish beasts. They are, merely, primitive. And so goes the fear factor. Indeed, it was thought that their leader was behind the concept of Satan. But as it turns out, the Devil is just another cult leader. Jeff Long could have really created a nightmare. But instead of Stephen King, we get Jules Verne. And not a very good one. First off, none of the characters are likable. And worse, everything they say is dull. There are several strange encounters with the Hadals thrown through out the book, but these encounters have a very jarring effective on the narrative. Long also has a rather odd literary detachment with his technological descriptions, as if he were determined not to write science fiction. Many important questions are never answered, lost in the [extremely] quick exposition of the books opening. It was clear that Jeff Long wanted to blend genres: Horror, sci-fi, thriller, but simply lacked the talent to pull it off. What he created was a tale that has interesting moments, but came across as a jumbled mess.