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The Descent
Jeff Long
Fict/Lit - Adventure
Crown | Hardcover | 08/99 | $24.00 US | $32.00 CAN | 0-609-60293-4


Early Raves

About the Book

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.

Early Raves

"Jeff Long has written a remarkable novel, an imaginative tour de force that somehow succeeds both as sober-minded allegory and nail-biting thriller. A page-turner for thinking people, The Descent is equal parts Ray Bradbury and Robert Stone, Michael Crichton and T. C. Boyle. It is a rip-roaring good read."
-- Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air

"Absolutely bone-chilling -- every bit as good as Stephen King at his best."
-- Charles Pellegrino, author of Dust

"This flat-out, gears-grinding, bumper-car ride into the pits of hell is one major takedown of a read. Jeff Long starts his adventure/mystery/horror story quietly in the Himalayas and then warp speeds into a world seldom seen and puts a face to the reality of evil the likes of which would give Stephen King and Dean Koontz the night sweats. Long writes with force and unearthly vision, etching vivid characters who speak in an all-too-realistic manner about the horrors they encounter. What emerges is a War of the Worlds against a world that can't lose. With The Descent, Jeff Long has delivered what is bound to be this summer's really hot read. It is one page-burner of a book."
-- Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers

"Jeff Long keeps the pages turning at a feverish pace and creates a world so vivid that we are compelled to follow him to the gates of Hell."
-- Jonathan Rabb, author of The Overseer


"Literally every page of this novel demonstrates the meticulous work of a true craftsman. The pacing and energy level maintained throughout The Descent is a wonder and an absolute joy to experience. From its opening paragraph to its kick-in-the-head ending The Descent keeps its readers going and going and going."
-- The Book Report, reviewed by Joe Hartlaub, 8/6/99

"Combining the stylistic elements of adventure and horror, Jeff Long's latest novel, The Descent is a sweeping, dark epic that so deserves the clichéd label of page turner that the reader should keep burn ointment close by to treat finger blisters."
-- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 7/23/99

"Long has put out perhaps the best beach-reading book in years... This is no reworking of Jules Verne's story and not even Stephen King and Tom Clancy could come up with what happens next...I would like to tell you more, but I have a sudden compelling urge to barricade my cellar door."
-- Denver Rocky Mtn News, 7/4/99

"Long's smart and epic tale takes the reader into a Dantesque world, a journey to the center of the earth for the new millennium. And what is found there is both horrific and entrancing..."
-- Baltimore Sun, 6/27/99

"...a dizzying synthesis of supernatural horror, lost-race fantasy and military SF...Long's novel brims with energy, ideas and excitement."
-- Publishers Weekly, 5/24/99

"...invites comparison to Dante -- but his style is more reminiscent of early Stephen King, when characters still mattered...one of those compelling books that is difficult to finish but even more difficult to put down."
-- Library Journal, 5/1/99

"It's been a long time since an adventure novel this original, this well-developed, this genuinely exciting, came along ... Recommend it wholeheartedly to adventure-novel fans as well as anyone who likes something different...this one could become a well-deserved best-seller."
-- Booklist, 3/15/99



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