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The Descent [Mass Market Paperback]

Jeff Long
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 9.99
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Book Description

Jan. 17 2002
We are not alone…In a cave in the Himalayas, a guide discovers a self-mutilated body with the warning--Satan exists. In the Kalahari Desert, a nun unearths evidence of a proto-human species and a deity called Older-than-Old. In Bosnia, something has been feeding upon the dead in a mass grave. So begins mankind’s most shocking realization: that the underworld is a vast geological labyrinth populated by another race of beings. Some call them devils or demons. But they are real. They are down there. And they are waiting for us to find them…

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From Amazon

In a high Himalayan cave, among the death pits of Bosnia, in a newly excavated Java temple, Long's characters find out to their terror that humanity is not alone--that, as we have always really known, horned and vicious humanoids lurk in vast caverns beneath our feet. This audacious remaking of the old hollow-earth plot takes us, in no short order, to the new world regime that follows the genocidal harrowing of Hell by heavily armed, high-tech American forces. An ambitious tycoon sends an expedition of scientists, including a beautiful nun linguist and a hideously tattooed commando former prisoner of Hell, ever deeper into the unknown, among surviving, savage, horned tribes and the vast citadels of the civilizations that fell beneath the earth before ours arose. A conspiracy of scholars pursues the identity of the being known as Satan, coming up with unpalatable truths about the origins of human culture and the identity of the Turin Shroud, and are picked off one by bloody one. Long rehabilitates, madly, the novel of adventures among lost peoples--occasional clumsiness and promises of paranoid revelations on which he cannot entirely deliver fail to diminish the real achievement here; this feels like a story we have always known and dreaded. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The premise of this millennial thriller is as audacious as it is problematic: "if there can be a historical Christ," one character hypothesizes, "why not a historic Satan?" Demystification of the ultimate Bad Guy is no easy feat, but Long (Angels of Light) brings it off, if just barely, in a dizzying synthesis of supernatural horror, lost-race fantasy and military SF. From the experiences of a varied cast of charactersAincluding Sister Ali, a Catholic nun serving in South Africa, and Elias Branch, a major with NATO forces in BosniaAa 21st-century think tank calling itself the Beowulf Circle distills a startling theory: The biblical Satan and his devils in Hell are mythic renderings of Homo hadalis, grotesquely malformed offshoots of Homo sapiens who for centuries have surfaced from underground hideouts to prey on human beings. With the help of Ike Crockett, an escapee from 10 years of "hadal" captivity, Beowulf infiltrates the Helios Corporation's mission to explore caverns honeycombing Earth's interior. Once beneath the Mariana Trench, Beowulf discovers that Helios intends to forcefully annex the world inside the earth's crust to further its business ambitions. Meanwhile, topside, Beowulf's theologians and metaphysicians surmise that the elusive "Satan" has evolved a human form to pass secretly among mankind. Like the subterranean trail blazed by its adventurers, the narrative twists, turns, dead-ends and backtracks. Inventive scenes of underground wonders alternate with talky stretches of scientific discourse and mawkish moments of romance between Ike and Ali. Though its devils prove disappointingly to be made in the image of humans, Long's novel brims with energy, ideas and excitement. 150,000 first printing; major ad/promo; film rights sold to Warner Bros. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Descent April 14 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Descent

Just as I anticipated. A real page turner.
Great story, Exciting to read.
I can only hope, there is a sequel to his last novel, DEEPER.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK HAS NO EQUAL !!! June 1 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a amazing and indepth look at what is so crucial in all the religions and cultures around the world. The Hell depicted in The Descent, is as real as in the Bible or any other sacred book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel Nov. 20 2010
By Chenz
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A well written and intriguing novel, I would be glad to recommend this story to anyone with a thirst for the unexpected. The level of creativity and imagination that went into creating this book is extraordinary. From the mystery surrounding the creatures that lurk below to the hesitancy of mankind to acknowledge them, to their blatant fear and overreaction to them - it is all wonderfully surmised into a book that will remain a favourite on my bookshelf for years to come. There are also many political and sociological undertones in the book which help express both it's intelligent plot and characters, as well as the underlying problems with our current society from which the reader can draw parallels. All in all, a great book that leaves the reader satisfied and hoping for that next chapter that will never come in writing, only in your imagination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The most scary intro I ever read June 30 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The most scary intro I ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book June 26 2004
By Beamer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, though I admit I may have been seduced by the concept.
One of the opening chapters, the one in Bosnia, struck me as one of the creepiest I've ever read. From there is mention of a surprise attack taking out significant world forces as their guard was low. Again, an interesting idea that is well presented and really brought me into the book.
The characters, though, are definitely not entirely likable. Nor are they really there too like. They're heavily flawed people, outcasts mostly, and behave as such. I believe this to be intentional on the writer's part, and will not penalize him for it.
The adventure is mostly well done. The science may be wonky, but the writing is solid and intelligent. The latter point might truly be why I enjoyed this book, intelligence. All too often these wonky-science-adventure books completely lack any form of intelligence. Here you can see thought being put behind everything, which the author deserves great credit for.
The only flaw I found was that science was being used to explain everything, satisfyingly, then mysticism crept in from nowhere. Satan became a supernatural being, not a scientific one. A massive flaw, in my mind. Why go in that direction after spending so much time keeping it in the other? The mind-transfer effect was just pointless.
I read this book a long time ago, during a lonely week halfway across the world. It entranced me at the time, and I found it to be a very worthy read. Looking back I'm no longer as impressed, but still consider it worth the four stars. Similar books by similar authors have resulted in twists you knew would come and plot holes larger than the story itself.
This book is different. Absolutely worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book June 26 2004
By Beamer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, though I admit I may have been seduced by the concept.
One of the opening chapters, the one in Bosnia, struck me as one of the creepiest I've ever read. From there is mention of a surprise attack taking out significant world forces as their guard was low. Again, an interesting idea that is well presented and really brought me into the book.
The characters, though, are definitely not entirely likable. Nor are they really there too like. They're heavily flawed people, outcasts mostly, and behave as such. I believe this to be intentional on the writer's part, and will not penalize him for it.
The adventure is mostly well done. The science may be wonky, but the writing is solid and intelligent. The latter point might truly be why I enjoyed this book, intelligence. All too often these wonky-science-adventure books completely lack any form of intelligence. Here you can see thought being put behind everything, which the author deserves great credit for.
I read this book a long time ago, during a lonely week halfway across the world. It entranced me at the time, and I found it to be a very worthy read. Looking back I'm no longer as impressed, but still consider it worth the four stars. Similar books by similar authors have resulted in twists you knew would come and plot holes larger than the story itself.
This book is different. Absolutely worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome June 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is by far the best book I have ever read. I could not stop turning the pages....only hope that his next book is half as good !!!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars To Hell and back June 15 2004
By Noctem
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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