The Descent by Jeff Long

Not quite sure how I feel about this one exactly. Let me put the initial reactions to it at the beginning so all y’all lazy bas-tudges who skip over the “meat and potatoes” of the entry can go away happy.

The story started out somewhat “supernatural” and ended up with the results of human error and emotion. I suppose that’s what makes a good story readable, is the human emotion. It’s worth a read, and is pretty intense in a few spots. Several spots seemed a bit too much though, not that they weren’t enjoyable but they just kind of seemed a bit extreme next to the rest of the story. Sort of unrestrained in a pretty restrained story-telling.

Anyway, the story is about our “subplanet”, the earth below us. We start out the tale with Ike, a veteran mountain climber, who has gotten lost with some tourists (they paid him to get lost for a few days) and turns out that bad weather is on its way. The bad weather forces the party to take shelter in a cave. While in the cave, they stumble upon the corpse of what appears to be an RAF pilot. When the math doesn’t add up and they realize that the corpse is a lot fresher than it appears to be, they unlock a Pandora’s Box of unspeakable horrors.

It turns out that the subplanet (the cave they’re in is pretty close to it) is inhabited by an entire race of creatures. They look like us, they have certain traditions like us, they even walk like us. But they’re NOT us. They are, as scientists in the book refer to them, a new species known as “hadal sapiens”. That’s the “official” name for them, however us laymen (in the book) call them haddie. They are comfortable in the dark and have an entire civilization below the Earth’s surface.

The concept was interesting and the writing was very eloquent in certain places but, like I said earlier, there were a few plot twists that seemed to go off on their own little tangents.

Worth a read but I think I’ll give Jeff Long a break for awhile. I previously read his book Year Zero and that one elicited about the same response from me.

Ambivalence does not make for good review fodder.

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