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The Descent (Descent Series)
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Jeff Long is a veteran climber and traveler in the Himalayas. He has worked as a journalist 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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The premise of this millennial thriller is as audacious as it is problematic: "if there can be a historical Christ," one character hypothesizes, "why not a historic Satan?" Demystification of the ultimate Bad Guy is no easy feat, but Long (Angels of Light) brings it off, if just barely, in a dizzying synthesis of supernatural horror, lost-race fantasy and military SF. From the experiences of a varied cast of charactersÄincluding Sister Ali, a Catholic nun serving in South Africa, and Elias Branch, a major with NATO forces in BosniaÄa 21st-century think tank calling itself the Beowulf Circle distills a startling theory: The biblical Satan and his devils in Hell are mythic renderings of Homo hadalis, grotesquely malformed offshoots of Homo sapiens who for centuries have surfaced from underground hideouts to prey on human beings. With the help of Ike Crockett, an escapee from 10 years of "hadal" captivity, Beowulf infiltrates the Helios Corporation's mission to explore caverns honeycombing Earth's interior. Once beneath the Mariana Trench, Beowulf discovers that Helios intends to forcefully annex the world inside the earth's crust to further its business ambitions. Meanwhile, topside, Beowulf's theologians and metaphysicians surmise that the elusive "Satan" has evolved a human form to pass secretly among mankind. Like the subterranean trail blazed by its adventurers, the narrative twists, turns, dead-ends and backtracks. Inventive scenes of underground wonders alternate with talky stretches of scientific discourse and mawkish moments of romance between Ike and Ali. Though its devils prove disappointingly to be made in the image of humans, Long's novel brims with energy, ideas and excitement. 150,000 first printing; major ad/promo; film rights sold to Warner Bros. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

What if hell really existed? The premise of The Descent is just that. We first meet the protagonist of the story, Ike Crockett, as he guides a group of tourists on a Tibetan walkabout. Trapped on a mountain during a blizzard, Ike leads the group into a cave that just happens to be a gateway to hell. More hellish evidence soon emerges at sites as far-flung as Bosnia and the Kalahari Desert. Long, author of The Ascent (LJ 6/1/92), set on Mt. Everest, here chooses a subject that invites comparison to DanteÄbut his style is more reminiscent of early Stephen King, when characters still mattered. While some sex appears in the story, violence is a greater concern, though it does further the plot. The story is complex, with some surprising twists near the end. All in all, this is one of those compelling books that is difficult to finish but even more difficult to put down. Recommended for larger suspense/horror collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/99.]ÄAlicia Graybill, Polley Music Lib., Lincoln City Libs., NE Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"An imaginative tour de force...equal parts Ray Bradbury and Robert Stone, Michael Crichton and T.C. Boyle. It is a rip-roaring good read. Jeff Long has written a remarkable novel...that somehow succeeds both as a sober-minded allegory and a nail-biting thriller." --Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air "Would give Stephen King and Dean Koontz the night sweats. A flat-out, gears-grinding, bumper-car ride into the pits of hell. Jeff Long has delivered what is bound to be this summer's really hot read." --Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and Apaches"The Descent is simply the best horror novel since Ghost Story, and, on pure literary merit, it could even be called a masterpiece." --Fort Worth Star-Telegram"A return to the fantastic epics readers associate with H.G. Wells or Jules Verne...[A] high-spirited tale of good versus evil, faith versus reason, and the power of the human heart to overcome even the darkest obstacles." --Chicago Tribune"As frightening and exhilarating as anything in heaven or hell...[and] impossible to set down. Part thriller, part horror story and part mystery...an all-engulfing reading experience." --Denver Rocky Mountain News"Perfect...right out of the stephen king mold, with a touch of Dante's Inferno." --Denver Post"Deeply piercing terror. A sweeping, dark epic.Entertains the senses and challenges the mind [with] new levels of visual wonder." --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"Horrific...takes the reader into a Dantesque world, a journey to the center of the earth for the new millennium...Long deftly blends science, myth, and a superb imagination to provide an entrancingly dark novel...a novel for the thinking reader--bright and scintillating, illuminating the darkness it so smartly depicts." --Baltimore Sun"A dizzying synthesis of supernatural horror, lost-race fantasy and military SF...Like the subterranean trail blazed by its adventurers, the narrative twists, turns, dead-ends and backtracks. Brims with energy, ideas and excitement." --Publishers Weekly

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