The Descent

Front Cover
Crown/Archetype, Nov 12, 1999 - Fiction - 464 pages
15 Reviews
Hell exists.

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 and linguist 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.

A scientific expedition is launched westward to explore beneath the Pacific Ocean floor, both to catalog the riches there and to learn how life could develop in the sunless abyss. Is there a natural explanation, as the scientists hope? Or is there a true supernatural basis? Are the "demons" part of our evolutionary family tree? Is their enigmatic leader merely a freak genius, or could he be the legendary Satan?

Fathom by fathom, Ike guides the expedition--and Ali--deeper into the deadly stone 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 archaeological digs, museums, artifacts, and rare texts for clues to Satan's existence. Is he lurking in wait for the expedition, or is he roaming the earth? Or is he dead? One thing is certain: Miles inside the earth, evil is very much alive.

In the tradition of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, The Descent is an epic adventure through fantastic landscapes, among creatures for whom man is both god and meat. It is a horrifying mystery penetrating the realms of faith and reason, a raw and original questioning of the divine and the demonic. And finally, The Descent is the story of a man and woman who enter the maze of the underworld and find at its center the human heart.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SadieSForsythe - LibraryThing

The Descent holds a special place in my literary heart. When I first read it my response was 'meh.' But by the end of the week I was practically in love with it. Scenes and snippets of dialogue kept ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LisaMaria_C - LibraryThing

I wasn't twenty pages in before I suspected I had a stinker on my hands: The dialogue, the characterizations, the plotline was of trainwreck dimensions. We open with too-stupid-to-live mountaineers in ... Read full review

Contents

1IKE
2ALI
3BRANCH
4PERINDE AC CADAVER
5BREAKING NEWS
6DIXIE CUPS
7THE MISSION
BOOK TWOINQUISITION
16BLACK SILK
17FLESH
18GOOD MORNING
19CONTACT
20DEAD SOULS
BOOK THREEGRACE
21MAROONED
22BAD WIND

8INTO THE STONE
9LA FRONTERA
10DIGITAL SATAN
LOSING THE LIGHT
12ANIMALS
13THE SHROUD
14THE HOLE
15MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
23THE SEA
24TABULA RASA
25PANDEMONIUM
26THE PIT
27SHANGRILA
28THE ASCENT
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About the author (1999)

Jeff Long is a veteran climber and traveler in the Himalayas. He has worked as a journalist, a historian, and an elections supervisor for Bosnia's first democratic election. The Descent is his fourth novel. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.


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