Hell exists. It is a real, geological, historical place beneath our very feet. And it is inhabited savagely.
In an intense and imaginative tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Long takes readers into the depths of the earth where a primordial intelligence waits in the darkness.
A decade has passed since doomed explorers unveiled a nightmare of tunnels and rivers honeycombing the earth's depths. After millennia of suffering terror and predation, humanity's armies descended to destroy the ancient hordes. Deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, a doomed science expedition killed the subterraneans' fabled leader, and suddenly it seemed that evil was dead and all was right with the world again.
Now Deeper arrives to explode that complacency and plunge us back into the sunless abyss. Hell boils up through America's subways and basements to take its revenge and steal our children. Against the backdrop of a looming war with China, a crusade of volunteers races to find the vestiges of a lost race. But a lone explorer, the linguist Ali von Schade, learns that a far greater menace lies in the unexplored heart of the planet. The real Satan can't be killed, and he has been waiting since the beginning of time to gain his freedom. Man and his pitiless enemies are mere pawns in the greatest escape ever devised.
Mesmerizing and concussive, this darkly brilliant work of imagination galvanizes Jeff Long's reputation as a prodigious talent. At once a love story, the ultimate thriller, and an extreme adventure, Deeper will leave you breathless.
Fans who hoped for a sequel to Long's 1999 bestseller The Descent may be sorry to have their wish granted, as this fumbling thriller fails to expand on the tantalizing concepts explored in its predecessor. Set 10 years after spelunkers stumbled into a literal Hell and later led a supposedly successful expedition to kill Satan, this story opens on Halloween, when underground creatures abduct dozens of children and slay any adults trying to stop them. Grieving mother and widow Rebecca Coltrane, the media-anointed public face of the disaster, makes clever political use of the publicity to launch a major military expedition underneath the Earth in search of her daughter and the other missing children. As war brews underground between the explorers and the quasi-human hadals, aboveground tensions increase between China and the U.S. The parallels to the current war on terror are too broadly drawn to be convincing, and whatever larger point Long seeks to make about the source of human evil is lost in numerous gory scenes of butchery.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Good follow up...
Posted March 03, 2009 by Geoff Spakes , Erie, COGood add-on to The Descent; if you enjoyed the former this book is for you. This is third Jeff Long book I've read and all of them make for good reading.
August 21, 2007
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Excerpt from Deeper by Jeff Long
THREE YEARS LATER
BENEATH THE INTERSECTION OF THE PHILIPPINE, JAVA, AND PALU SEA TRENCHES
He snapped his fingers. Let there be light. And they popped the flares.
The faces of his crew sprang from the darkness, flinching. The flare light hurt their eyes. It painted them green and hungry.
The city of stone materialized around them.
Clemens gave a nod. The clapboard snapped shut like a gunshot. In grease pencil: "HELL, scene 316, take 1. IMAX."
"Dead, all dead," he intoned as the camera panned across the city. It was a bony thing, hard and empty, ancient long before Troy was built, before Egypt was even a word. Walls stood cracked or breached by geological forces. Arches hung like ribs. Windows stared: blind sockets. The camera stopped on him.
Clemens turned his head to the lens. He gave it the tired bags under his eyes, and his shaggy salt-and-pepper beard, and the greasy hair, and the bad stitch job along one cheekbone. No makeup. No concealment. Let the audience see his weariness and the marks of five months spent worming through the bowels of the earth. I have sweated and bled for you, he thought. I have killed for you. And for my cut of the box office. He put fire in his blue eyes.
"Day one hundred and forty-seven, deep beneath the deepest trenches," he said. "We have reached their city. Their Athens. Their Alexandria. Their Manhattan. Here lies the center."
He coughed quietly. The whole film crew had it, some low-grade cave virus. Just one more of their shared afflictions: a rash from poison lichens, fouled stomachs from the river water, lingering fevers after an attack by crystal-clear ants, rot in their wounds, and headaches from the pressure. To say nothing of the herpes and gonorrhea raging among his randy bunch of men and women.
Clemens approached a tall, translucent flange of flowstone. It had seeped from the walls like a slow, plastic, honey brown avalanche. A carefully placed flare lit the stone from behind. The dark silhouette of a man hung inside, like a huge insect caught in amber.
Clemens glanced at the camera -- at his future audience -- as if to ponder with them. What new wonders lie here? He pressed his flashlight against the stone, and peered in. Through my eyes, behold.
He moved his light. Inch by inch, the shape revealed its awful clues. This was no man, but some primal throwback. A freak of time. The camera closed in.
Clemens illuminated the pale, hairless legs covered with prehistoric tattoos. His light paused at the groin. The genitals were wrapped in a ball with rawhide strips, a sort of fig leaf for this dreadful Adam. That was the creature's sole clothing, a sack tied with leather cord from front to back across the rump. Leather, in a place devoid of large animals...except for man. These hadals had wasted nothing, not even human skin.
"We were their dream," Clemens solemnly intoned to the camera, "they were our nightmare."
He scooted the light beam higher. The beast was by turns delicate, then savage. Winged like a cupid, this one could not have flown. They were more buds than wings really, vestigial, almost comical. But this was no laughing matter. Like a junkyard mutt, the creature bore the gash marks and scars of a hunter-warrior.
Moving higher, his headlamp beam lit the awful face. Milky pink eyes -- dead eyes -- stared back at him. Even though he'd seen the thing while they were setting up the shot, it made Clemens uneasy. Like the crickets, mice, and other creepy crawlers inhabiting these depths, it was an albino. What little facial hair it had was white. The eyelashes and wisps of a mustache looked almost dainty.
The brow beetled out, heavy and apelike. Classic Homo erectus. This one had filed teeth and earlobes fringed with knife cuts. Its crowning glory, the reason Clemens had picked this over all the other bodies, was its rack of misshapen horns. Horns upon other horns, a satanic freight.
The horns were calcium growths, described to him as a subterranean cancer. These happened to have sprouted from its forehead, which fit his film's title to a T. Every hell needed a devil.
Never mind that this wasn't the devil Clemens had come looking for. This was not the body of Satan, said to be lying somewhere in the city. Never mind that through the millennia man's demons had been ancestors of a sort, or at least distant blood cousins. Clemens would deal with the family tree later, in the editing room.
"Now they're gone," he spoke to the microphone clipped to his tattered T-shirt. "Gone forever, destroyed by a man-made plague. Some call it genocide, others an act of God. This much is certain. We have been delivered from their reign of terror. Freed from an ancient tyranny. Now the night belongs to us -- to humanity -- once and for all."
Clemens stood back and gazed upon the horror, like Frankenstein contemplating his monster. He held his pose to the count of five. "And cut," he said.
The cameraman gave a thumbs-up from behind his tripod. The soundman took off his earphones and signaled okay. A clean take.
"Get a few close-ups of our friend here," Clemens said. "Then break down the gear and pack up. We're moving on. Up. There's still hours in the day." A running joke. In a place without sun, what day? "We're heading home."