The Descent
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The Descent

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  3,801 ratings  ·  400 reviews
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 geol...more
Paperback, 572 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Jove (first published 1999)
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Melynda Yesenia
Feb 06, 2008 Melynda Yesenia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who recommends the da vinci code
This is the second book I had to put in the microwave in order to get to sleep. Because we all know that if you leave a scary book, a pants-shittingly scary book by your bedside, as you sleep the monsters inside will ooze from between the pages and come into full being beside you and eat your face while you dream. It's just a fact.

Throughout the novel there are terrible things, unthinkable torture, mass graves, thoughtless destruction and an actual descent into hell. It's huge and all over the p...more
Apr 10, 2013 Michael rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who can switch off their brains
In the preface to Long's _The Descent_, the author expresses his regret that although his friends gave him a lot of scientific advice, the science in the book would probably not please them.

I should have taken this as a sign.

I can't remember having read a book so deliberately bad. The dialogue is embarrassing, the science atrocious (none of it gathered, sadly, from actual scientists, just random articles and a whole lot of conjecture and handwaving). Long had a hundred ideas and shoved EVERY ONE...more
honestly mem
I'm not sure what the etiquette is for dropping f bombs in a review, so I'm just going to phrase it as gently as I know how: fuck this book.

1: Holy racism, Batman. Enough of the Italian stallions, the (ever unsympathetic, mind) gangster stereotypes, the brutish non-white others, and oh my God, that second chapter, what was that even. Oh, those poor, uncivilized Africans and their violent superstitions and their helpless childish minds and cultures, but at least they have given the nice, white, U...more
Last month I watched two movies with my wife. 'Sanctum' and 'The Descent' (which has no relation with this book). Sure, the casting and dialogues left a lot to be desired, but in retrospection it dawned on me that it didn’t really matter in the end as the real Hero-antagonist of these movies was The Darkness itself. The Claustrophobic Depths. The Subterranean Hell.

After watching those movies, my wife told me that she would never go on a cave "exploration" adventure even if it was in reality a to...more
Sep 13, 2007 Jake rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
I wanted to enjoy this book, and Long gave a lot of early indications that the book was going to be a fun ride the whole way through.

Unfortunately the promise the book has early on goes nowhere and the end of the book is so disappointing and anti-climactic that I had to check if my copy was missing pages.

Long does some neat things, particularly his tying the story into the the study of proto-languages and the struggles in the Balkans. However by the time the Shroud of Turin comes in he's demon...more
I was looking forward to my first Jeff Long book, but it was largely a disappointment. To be honest, I would probably have rated The Descent a five star, had i only read it when I was 14 and eager for over the top adventures with scariest monsters and extensive bloodshed. This is the kind of modern high-octane thriller that I was craving for after growing a bit too old for the classic tales of Jules Verne or Alexandre Dumas. Alas, I can no longer ignore the poorly drawn characters, the w...more
It is one of the best books I have ever read - period. I learned about this book through some recos other authors had made so I gave it a try. And I am really glad I did.

Sure the main premise of the books sounds very corny when you try to explain it to someone; some people have found tunnels under the earth and some strange creatures inside - they have found Hell. It sounds like a B-movie but Mr Long makes it a great epic story about who we are, what we maybe came from and what we may be in the...more
Renee Rearden
Holy Wow what a book!!!

Dwight Crockett, a Himalayan guide known as Ike, discovers a cave containing a mutilated body...a warning that "Satan exists" carved into its skin. A nun, searching for the first language in her quest to be closer to God, unearths evidence another human species exists. A military expedition encounters something feeding upon the dead in a mass grave.

Each of these separate events lead to the most shocking revelation: Mankind is not alone. The Underworld is real. A geological...more
Peregrine 12
Dec 10, 2010 Peregrine 12 rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Peregrine 12 by: Kristian in Canada - but only the first chapter.
Too many words, not enough story.

After one of the BEST opening chapters I've ever read, I *wanted* to suspend my disbelief for the sake of an exciting novel but I just couldn't do it. The Descent took things way past the point of suspended disbelief into plain silliness (the military guy grows horns and scales and still gets invited to lead seminars? And then he spontaneously recovers - for no apparent reason - and they put him in charge of a crack unit of soldiers to go hunt the bad guys? Huh!...more
this could have been an economical little horror / adventure story but the author couldn't seem to decide what kind of story he wanted to write. cave monsters, deep sea adventure, satan and hell, the lawless frontier, reincarnation, demon possession, political intrigue, a debate about what makes us human - it's all in there and more. Unfortunately there's not much in the way of character development or plot pacing. There was at least one character that was introduced and then disappeared for 100...more
Sir Runcible Spoon
Jul 15, 2009 Sir Runcible Spoon is currently reading it
My son, Mike, bought this book for me and highly recommended it. I've started it and have gotten, very quickly, to page 70 or so and know I'm in trouble: I've started a book whose subject matter I DON'T LIKE and yet have been hooked by an author's skillful presentation of this world I DON'T LIKE.

What's not to like? Well, we're dealing with a presentation of evil manifested as gruesome and unreasoning cruelty. Right off, I'm on guard. What makes this book simultaneously off-putting and intriguin...more
Sep 12, 2008 Tressa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs, geologists, mountaineers, horror fans
Shelves: horror
I had higher hopes for this book that was recommended by a co-worker. He set the premise up so promising, with the scene of Ike and the climbers taking shelter in the cave, and being led by candy wrappers that gave way to coins from thousands of years ago.

But the book went in such unsuspecting directions that kept my interest but I couldn't help but think that the story wasn't as good as it could have been.

A PP mentioned the confusing science in the book. I agree; there were times I had to read...more
Karl Drinkwater
I gave this 5 stars not because it was perfect, but because it did what any good book should do - it made me want to keep reading. One night I read it until 3.30am, I just couldn't stop. Other times I would find time to read a chapter rather than do something else. Only a minority of books have this effect on me, so it deserves the highest praise.

The opening chapter is the best one in the book. Mystery, twists, economical writing, and a descent into tension and then really convincing horror. Thi...more
Misty Battle
One great read from start to finish. This book plunges you into the what if's and challenges your mind to really think if such a thing is possible. I couldn't put this book down I was so deep into the realm of below. One great story and book!
BUENÍSIMA!en todos los aspectos ♥ (no apta para personas sensibles y religiosas).
This is a great read. It is easy to get in to and you'll find it hard to put down. The claustrophobic feeling you get while reading (especially in the dark on a cold night with the blankets pulled up around your neck with only a single small globed reading light) will have you fully immersed in the novel.

Plot ***Spoilers***
A group of new-age trekkers in Nepal are trapped in a cave by a snowstorm and stumble across a mutilated, mummified corpse, covered with cryptic tattoos in both English and un...more
Described by Jon Krakauer as "a page-turner for thinking people", this book takes you for quite a ride - right into the underbelly of the earth. Through various incidents, a series of tunnels are discovered in the earth, complete with utterly savage inhabitants, called hadals. The discovery of the tunnels makes humans question everything they were ever taught in church about hell and Satan: is hell a literal place in the earth? Is Satan a mortal being who is in charge of masses of hadal armies?...more
ah... what a curious book. It did take me some time to determine if this book was in any way related to the movie of the same name. There are a number of similarities but I do not believe they are related.

What I appreciated most about this book was the number of themes, the main theme was the obvious theme of the sub-world below earth and its inhabitants. Similar to the inhabitants of Lovecraft's "Into the Mountains of Madness," the creatures we are encountering are merely the dying descendants...more
Brian Steele
I finally got around to rereading and finally finishing "The Descent" by Jeff Long. You may have seen the horror film of the same name. It was a spectacular film, but please understand this; the movie was based on perhaps ONE chapter from the entire book. Playing out more like a deranged Michael Crichton novel, it's filled with scientific data and theories that revolve around vicious underground humanoids, a complete sub-planetary exploration, and the possible discovery of a creature that may li...more
A great book that had a few frustrating choices. Characters were developed well, but with so many characters and plot points (all handled extremely well) you don't get the focus of the book until the second half.

The ending is a little to convenient with one or two unresolved questions, but the lead up is perfect. The society and culture of the underground race (the hadals) was explored and laid out in great detail, but with more and more variations revealed at the end, I wanted to know even more...more
Humankind discovers that the planet's crust is populated by another race of beings ... who have preyed on man for centuries with a select few surviving to tell the story. The military is rallied to fight the foe, and an entrepreneur attempts to take advantage of the new frontier.

I'm not quite sure how to classify it: part horror and part thriller comes closest, I guess. There's several elements that I wish Long had followed up on, but leaving them a mystery adds to the atmosphere of the story,...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 26, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
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 Tibet, led by Ike Crockett, following a gold coin trail to hell--literally. Next we turn to the Kalahari and from central casting, a "beautiful" nun working among lepers, leaving no B movie cliche unused. The book is reminiscent of Journey Into the Center of the Earth as it posits there's an underw...more
This book freaked me the hell out. There's no other way to describe my feelings about it. I've never been so pants-wettingly terrified and fascinated at the same time.

All around the world, different people exploring caves discover . . . Hell. They discover that Hell, with its demons and its cruel leader is actually a reality: a subterranean world peopled by misshapen creatures that may have started as human but were warped by the extreme conditions and by a sort of under worldly radiation. How t...more
Simeon Kohlman Rabbani
I could have gone either way with this one... the plot was interesting but there were definitely problems with pacing and with trying to throw too many ideas into one story that didn't always fit in (like a random time-traveling radio signal - WTH?), not to mention the wonky "science." I'd probably have given it 3 stars, but what really saved this book for me was the way in which the author captured the mood of dread, horror, and claustrophobia (and passed it on to the reader). Very few books in...more
Horror isn't usually my thing, but I just finished The Descent by Jeff Long & really enjoyed it. I didn't find it particularly frightening, but it really kept me engaged, wondering what was going to happen next. It has a pretty intricate plot that elevates it (IMO) above standard horror, and the book explores the characters' interior conflicts in ways that make them seem very realistic and human. Although technically set as an alternate history to our own (the events span from 1988 to presen...more
Eden Celeste
I don't think the author knew exactly what he wanted to write with this book. The first part was mostly a horror novel, and then it spent the second half bogged down in a philosophical search of the Christian mythos mixed with an adventure story. I liked the first half - the part with scary humanoid things under the earth that would steal and/or kill people. The bit with the helicopter was especially well done. The second half of the book was very slow, disjointed and it really lost my interest...more
Spectacular. I don't do sci-fi/fantasy as a general rule, but having read Jeff Long's name in association with Outside Magazine, which produced Jon Krakaeur and "Into Thin Air," I picked this up and couldn't put it down. An epic tale of exploration and adventure, dark as caverns, blurring the line between the real and the supernatural. This begs to be a big-budget film brought to life with effects that would not have been possible when the book was published. Sadly, the rights were purportedly p...more
I really wanted to love this book. I thought it started off strong, but as is too often the case, it seemed to fall flat towards the end. I can forgive the scientific failings and gross inaccuracies. I can forgive the forced dialogue. The religious aspect and the idea of a historical Satan were great. But something didn't quite click. It didn't make me care enough. I didn't have a particular character I cared about enough to root for, at least not anyone central enough to the story to keep me in...more
This review is a mess. This is because there was much about this book that made me scowl at it, much that made me clench it in fear, much that made me cuss at Long, much that made me salivate at the ideas, much that made me want so much more of certain character interactions, much that...

Aw, basically, I read the hell out of it and collapsed, sated. And then my brain went to making a list of all the negatives.

Okay, I admit it; this would be a three-star book were it not for my shameless infatua...more
Leslie North-patterson
Couldnt sleep for fear while reading this!
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One of the best reads ever.. 13 83 Mar 02, 2013 06:34PM  
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“Every time he moved, with every breath he took, it seemed the man was carried along by iridescent orange and black wings.

She tried to convey how it was like travelling through the inside of a living body at times, the joints and folds of the earth, the liver-smooth flowstone, the helictites threading upward like synapses in search of a connection. She found it beautiful. Surely God would not have invented such a place as His spiritual gulag.

It took Ali’s breath away. Sometimes, once men found out she was a nun, they would dare her in some way. What made Ike different was his abandon. He had a carelessness in his manner that was not reckless, but was full of risk. Winged. He was pursuing her, but not faster than she was pursuing him, and it made them like two ghosts circling.

She ran her fingers along his back, and the bone and the muscle and hadal ink and scar tissue and the callouses from his pack straps astonished her. This was the body of a slave.

Down from the Egypt, eye of the sun, in front of the Sinai, away from their skies like a sea inside out, their stars and planets spearing your soul, their cities like insects, all shell and mechanism, their blindness with eyes, their vertiginous plains and mind-crushing mountains. Down from the billions who had made the world in their own image. Their signature could be a thing of beauty. But it was a thing of death.

Ali got one good look, then closed her eyes to the heat. In her mind, she imagined Ike sitting in the raft across from her wearing a vast grin while the pyre reflected off the lenses of his glacier glasses. That put a smile on her face. In death, he had become the light.

There comes a time on every big mountain when you descend the snows and cross a border back to life. It is a first patch of green grass by the trail, or a waft of the forests far below, or the trickle of snowmelt braiding into a stream. Always before, whether he had been gone an hour or a week or much longer – and no matter how many mountains he had left behind – it was, for Ike, an instant that registered in his whole being. Ike was swept with a sense not of departure, but of advent. Not of survival. But of grace.”
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