Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Descent” as Want to Read:
The Descent
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Descent

(The Descent #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,638 ratings  ·  586 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 g ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 572 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Jove (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,638 ratings  ·  586 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Melynda Yesenia
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am just going to come out and say it; I loved this book. And yet, I fully understand why others didn’t. Let me explain.

For the entirety of their existence, humans have not been alone. Unbeknownst to the surface world, an unfathomable subterranean domain lies beneath their feet; and it is not uninhabited. ‘The Descent’ is exactly what it says on the tin; a story in which humanity descends to the bowels of the earth and battles for its very survival with the horrifying creatures which reside the
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Karl Drinkwater
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Creepy and deeply unsettling book. Love it!
Jacob Jones-Goldstein
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Renee Rearden
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
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
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Peregrine 12
Dec 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
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!
Cathy (cathepsut)
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2008
Very, very creepy. I will never, ever go on a cave exploration.
Taran Matharu
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of all time. Not for everyone...but right up my street.
This was in a random pile of books that a friend gave me to borrow of her husband’s. I read the synopsis/ back matter and thought, well, well, well. Pretty soon I was immersed in this book with chills on my arms sometimes. It was very interesting. Then years later after I returned the book(of course it was still in my mind) I saw it on sale in e-book form and snatched it up! It’s creepy in a psychological kind of way and also in that way that inches up your spine— slowly. I’m definitely going to ...more
Eden Celeste
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved the whole world that Long invented here. The original idea is great and he flushes it out pretty well into a fully formed world that doesn’t seem caricatured, even though it probably should. And that’s pretty awesome. I also liked the first part of the book, where his world is hinted at and then slowly reveled. It teases and then delivers well.

What fell flat for me was the rest of the book. The whole expedition into uncharted terri
Susan (the other Susan)
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
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2009, e-books
Spelunking, exploring, researching, running, destroying, annihilating, and loving are just a few of the things that you will get to do when Jeff Long transports you to “Hell” deep inside our planet. The Descent is a story about the expansion of our world, the discovery of new life, and the search for “Historic Satan” himself. Most of the story takes place miles underground and Jeff Long, a real life cave diver, brings those environments to us through detailed prose. Great characterizations, pace ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
This book is super-duper not fucking around appalling.

The first chapter: interesting caving horror with likeable POC narrator.

The second chapter: our white savior Sue provides aid to lepers in unspecified Africa, who naturally kill and eat others and give them to their pagan cannibal god. As you do, I guess. She emerges a better person, etcetera.

The third chapter: Bosnia. Savages primative blah blah can't hear you, book.

The fourth chapter: ha ha nope you can't get me to read any more of this.
Sir Runcible Spoon
Jul 15, 2009 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
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This book was SO much fun to read. It scared me silly then kept me dangling up until the very end. One of the major criticisms of this book was its ending, but I disagree. I liked the ending & it was appropriate. Other than that, there really wasn't much I didn't like about this book. The characterizations were good, the plot was outstanding & the creep quotient was right up there. For a fun, scary, adventure type novel, it definitely merits a good rating.

brief plot summary
Ike Crockett a
Becca Charlier-Matthews
Jul 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
From Jan 2011: I read this book a while ago, and I had wanted to read it again for some time. For me, this book built a whole world that I could see and live in while I was reading it. Very creative. It isn't a perfect read, of course, but I did love it.

A bit of warning, this book is pretty violent and graphic. If that bothers you, stay away.

** Re-read again in May 2013 and Jan 2016. Still a 5 star review from me.
Misty Battle
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-beings, horror
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!
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scary
I'm not wholehearted about that 5 star rating, because there are some things I didn't love about this book.
However, for sheer CREEPINESS I have to give it 5 stars. This book scared the beejesus outta me, which is no easy task these days.
Marvin Gray
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Descent" is one of those rare finds that is changes the way you think about novels. A book that sticks with you. That you hold up as a model, and compare other books to.
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
I really enjoyed this is was a face paced twisty thriller that borrowed heavily from classics such as HG Wells The Time Machine and the rules of the Hollywood summer blockbuster genre. The rules of Hollywood being, make it gory, keep it fast paced and keep them guessing; oh and the boy always gets the girl no matter how mismatched they are.

It was, however, some of the "Holywood style action thriller elements that I didn't enjoy. Making sexual violence to women a sensationalised element of the s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Jeff Long 1 6 Apr 10, 2015 02:20AM  
The Hadal Zone, The Descent fan site 1 18 Apr 06, 2015 05:06PM  
One of the best reads ever.. 15 98 Apr 06, 2015 05:01PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sins of the Fathers (Gabriel Knight, #1)
  • Ghoul  (Special X, #2)
  • Fragment
  • Johnny Gruesome
  • A Gathering of Crows
  • Infernal Angel (City Infernal, #2)
  • Burden Kansas
  • White and Other Tales of Ruin
  • Northwoods
  • Jinn
  • The Missing (Keeper, #2)
  • Snowblind
  • Kronos (Origins, #5)
  • Reprisal (Adversary Cycle, #5)
  • The Ferryman
  • Like Death
  • Sparrow Rock
  • Best New Horror 14 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #14)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

The Descent (2 books)
  • Deeper (The Descent, #2)
“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.”
“ONE DISCOVERY It is easy to go down into Hell …; but to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air—there’s the rub.… —VIRGIL, Aeneid” 0 likes
More quotes…