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The Descent (1999)

by Jeff Long

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hadals (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2183116,041 (3.7)51
In Tibet, while guiding trekkers to a holy mountain, Ike Crockett discovers a bottomless cave. When his lover disappears, Ike pursues her into the depths of the earth.... In a leper colony bordering the Kalahari Desert, a nun named Ali von Schade unearths evidence of a proto-human species and a deity called Older-than-Old.... In Bosnia, Major Elias Branch crash-lands his gunship near a mass grave and is swarmed by pale cannibals terrified of light.... So begins mankind's realization that the underworld is a vast geological labyrinth riddling the continents and seabeds, one inhabited by brutish creatures who resemble the devils and gargoyles of legend. With all of Hell's precious resources and territories to be won, a global race ensues. Nations, armies, religions, and industries rush to colonize and exploit the subterranean frontier. Fathom by fathom, Ike guides an expedition -- and Ali -- deeper into the deadly wilderness. In the dark underground, as humanity falls away from them, the scientists and mercenaries find themselves prey not only to the savage creatures, but to their own treachery mutiny, and greed. Meanwhile, on the surface, a band of aged scholars scours for clues to Satan's existence. Is he lurking in wait for the expedition, or is he roaming the earth? One thing is certain: Miles inside the earth, evil is very much alive.… (more)
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» See also 51 mentions

English (28)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Well, this was disappointing. It's saving grace was the writing, which was very good. But the story was a weirdly religious perversion of fantasy and horror with a veneer of science fiction. A thin veneer. That got thinner the further you read. What looked like an interesting premise degenerated into pseudo-scientific idiocy by the end. Allegedly this is a series - I'll end my reading here. ( )
  dhaxton | Nov 8, 2023 |
Creepy and deeply unsettling book. Love it! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
Grim. Casual descriptions of rape and torture. ( )
  aeceyton | Jul 16, 2022 |
"Here it was at last– all their childhood legends of desperate fights waged against biblical mutants–before their eyes, unintended, where fate had given it. This was not a TV report that could be turned off. This was not a poet's inferno in a book that could be put back on the shelf. Here was the world they lived in now."

While we discuss and furiously debate over the possible existence of life on other worlds, an entire civilization has thrived under our feet, far below in the dark hollows of the Earth. There's legends and tales of the people and the one called Older-than-Old but after centuries - no, thousands of years - of living in the dark, they are reaching for the surface. And with them, so is hell.

Just... wow. It's been some time since I finished this book but I'm still very much blown away. As an archaeology student, one of the subfields I'm most interested in is specifically religion and mythology; as well as the similarities and links between different cultures and their myths. So, I'm probably a bit biased because this book more or less gave me exactly what I've been looking for. That said, it also did it so damn fucking well.

Long paints a rich and colourful world - the characters are not just complex but distinct and he uses his knowledge of history and military experience in a way that makes The Da Vinci Code pale in comparison (its real saving grace is Ian McKellen). It isn't your typical scifi horror as its quite slow at times, but that's also part of what truly engaged me; it is rich and truly takes the time to flesh out its characters and the world they inhabit. Long even manages to make the heavy military themes engaging and complex; something that science fiction books with military themes often struggle to do. If anything, it made me even more sure what aspects of archaeology and history I want to focus on. ( )
  autisticluke | Nov 14, 2019 |
I am reading this for the second time, because I recently purchased the sequel, [b:Deeper: A Thriller|239075|Deeper A Thriller|Jeff Long|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266503409s/239075.jpg|231588]. I wanted to reread it to pick up on anything I may have forgotten. I loved this book and can't stop thinking about it. Every time I see it sitting on my shelf, I want to pick it up and read it all over again.

During my second read through, I felt like I got so much more out of the story. I was able to keep track of all the political intrigue, and follow each character's point of view. The first time I read this, I was so enthralled with the setting that I missed some of the other stuff. I still think this is an exceptional book and a great read.

First review: The opening chapters read like inter-related short stories. Then we get down to the main action. Sending an expedition down into the earth, to see what the race of humans is like down there. I loved the descriptions, it made the place come alive for me. I thought the story was interesting, and presented a unique point of view. This is one of my all time favorite books. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff Longprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berry, RickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Long, SteveMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogers, JulieDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Hadals (1)
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For my Helenas
A chain unbroken
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In the beginning was the word. Or words. Whatever these were.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

In Tibet, while guiding trekkers to a holy mountain, Ike Crockett discovers a bottomless cave. When his lover disappears, Ike pursues her into the depths of the earth.... In a leper colony bordering the Kalahari Desert, a nun named Ali von Schade unearths evidence of a proto-human species and a deity called Older-than-Old.... In Bosnia, Major Elias Branch crash-lands his gunship near a mass grave and is swarmed by pale cannibals terrified of light.... So begins mankind's realization that the underworld is a vast geological labyrinth riddling the continents and seabeds, one inhabited by brutish creatures who resemble the devils and gargoyles of legend. With all of Hell's precious resources and territories to be won, a global race ensues. Nations, armies, religions, and industries rush to colonize and exploit the subterranean frontier. Fathom by fathom, Ike guides an expedition -- and Ali -- deeper into the deadly wilderness. In the dark underground, as humanity falls away from them, the scientists and mercenaries find themselves prey not only to the savage creatures, but to their own treachery mutiny, and greed. Meanwhile, on the surface, a band of aged scholars scours for clues to Satan's existence. Is he lurking in wait for the expedition, or is he roaming the earth? One thing is certain: Miles inside the earth, evil is very much alive.

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