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The Descent Paperback – 23 Sep 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Paperback, 23 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (23 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575068620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575068629
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

This blockbuster confection of adventure, paranoia and horror is receiving bestseller promotion. Jeff Long gives a fresh spin to the underworld caverns of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth by populating these vast spaces with demonic creatures whose existence explains the myth of Hell. They're our feral relatives, Homo hadalis or "hadals", afflicted with horns and deformities by a harsh environment where necessity is the mother of cannibalism. Greedy for new frontiers, governments and corporations move to exploit the recently discovered underworld. It's deadlier than they think; much hideous bloodshed follows. Long expertly hits a range of nerve-jarring emotional buttons, playing on our fears of darkness, monsters, mutilation, torture and worse. One major plot strand follows a literally bedevilled expedition through terror-fraught tunnels under the Pacific to the remnants of a 20,000-year-old civilisation below. Another speculates about the charismatic hadal leader "Satan" and his impact on world religion (this is where the Turin Shroud comes in)--a tastily paranoid reinterpretation of history. There's a slam-bang climax down in the deeps, with enough horrific trimmings to make readers nervously shield their tender parts. Though the incidental science is poorly handled and occasionally absurd, The Descent reads well as nightmare action-adventure. Not, as they say, for the squeamish. -- David Langford
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 order 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 civilisations that fell beneath the earth before ours rose. 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

Book Description

Adventure isn¿t dead. It¿s just gone to Hell.

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 21 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Well worth reading. This book has some superb elements to it. A lot of pseudo-sience but when taken in the context in which it is presented, forms a great story-line that keeps the reader turning the page. For anyone who enjoys a well presented action thriller which provokes thought and keeps you reading past your bedtime, this is the book for you. The only criticism is the way provisions are 'dropped' to the expedition - Ludicrous, read it and weep! - but alas the only way the book can keep going.
I would have given it 4+1/2 stars if I could but it's not quite a 5!
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Format: Paperback
I recently read this book for the second time and feel duty bound to tell the world what a fantastic and well written novel it is.The storyline is convincing, the research is thorough and the imagery is absolutely stunning.
I have struggled with 'epic' type novels in the past, but this one can only be described as 'unputdownable' (if you will excuse the overused cliche).
Long manages to turn a fantastical premise into a story that is believable, even worryingly possible. He must be forgiven for the odd failure (the provision dropping method is ludicrous - thank you for the perfect example, a reader from London)because he achieves the most important aim of every author - come up with a good story and tell it well.
Read 'The Ascent' by Jeff Long. Not in the same league as this masterpiece, but a good read all the same.
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Wow, what a read. Now, I would consider myself to be a fairly seasoned reader of books. I have seen many different topics & many different styles of writing. The Descent really stuck out as original. Amazingly descriptive. Amazing character development and range. Simply amazing storytelling. The first 4-5 chapters were dedicated to introducing the characters in their various scenarios as books often do. Nothing new there, no, but then once that is out of the way there is a brilliant section which moves forward at such an exciting and fast pace, the time spanned over months and events go from marginal to monumental in a matter of pages. The global scale & vividness of such an event seems too colossal but somehow the writer pulled it off marvellously capturing the vastness, but also the personal nature & relating events. I was astounded. I don't think I can claim to be astounded by another book quite in this way. What follows on from this is a fast paced exciting storyline, delving into new territories that no reader is familiar with. To create such a descriptive environment from a blank canvas is a mean feat. I have read several other under-the-ground novels, but none that quite touch this. I loved the (although brief) progression of civilisation into a new world, how it developed. It reminded me of the Red/Green/Blue Mars series - how colonisation of a planet happened.

The first read of this book a few years ago elevated into my top 20 reads (yes I am a nerd - I have 'top' lists, albeit mental ones, I am not quite so nerdy to write them down. Yet.)
My second read of this book recently, and we have it in the top 10. what an awesome read.

I look forward to getting my hands on the sequel, Deeper, although am slightly concerned it might fall into the regular sequel trap. Wilbur Smith pulled it off with some of his series' (although also managed to spectacularly fail aswell with others!). Lets hope Mr. Long can manage another great.
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By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
If you grew up in a house with a cellar, do you remember imagining what horrors lurked in the dark among the cobwebs under the stairs until you turned the light on at the top? THE DESCENT elaborates on that fear, but on a far grander scale. The boogiemen, in this case, are of the species Homo hadalis, an ancient offshoot of Homo erectus, on a co-existing evolutionary track with man. The "hadals" live in an Earth-encompassing network of caverns and tunnels extending miles below the surface. And sometimes not so deep. (Let's just say I won't be digging myself a bomb shelter anytime soon.) The hadals aren't our jolly cousins either; the mother-in-law from hell would be better company on Thanksgiving. During an underground survey expedition, humans find:

"A giant skeleton - possibly a human freak - lay in shackles solid with rust. The forensic anthropologist thought the deeply incised geometric patterns on the giant's skull had been made at least a year before the prisoner's death. Judging by the cut marks around the entire skull, it seemed the giant had been scalped and kept alive as a showcase for (the hadals') artwork."

Author Jeff Long has crafted a riveting sci-fi epic that is not easily put down. Early on in the storyline, Mankind learns of the hadals' existence and fights the underground war by which the latter are ostensibly eradicated. Then, the Helios mega-corporation sends a survey team to cross underneath the Pacific Ocean's floor in order to lay claim to undiscovered riches outside international boundaries. In hindsight, maybe that wasn't a good idea. The two main characters in THE DESCENT are Ike Crockett and Ali von Schade. Ike, a former mountain guide, has been rescued from hadal slavery after more than a decade of torment.
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Format: Paperback
Beware reading this book - you will not be able to put it down. This is one of the most exciting books published in recent years and you will keep turning the pages until it is finished. It crosses genres being both sci-fi and a thriller and will please people who are aficianados of both. If you buy nothing else this year buy this!
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