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Deeper: A Novel Hardcover – August 21, 2007
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
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From Publishers Weekly
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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In The Descent (1999), Long introduced us to hell: not the biblical hell, but the actual place. Hell, it turns out, is an underground world where a nasty race of humanoids called hadals lived for millennia, occasionally coming to the surface and wreaking havoc. In The Descent, the hadals were wiped out, or so we thought. Now, 10 years later, humans have colonized the Subterrain, but they're about to find out that some hadals have survived and that you can't really kill Satan. At least as exciting as its predecessor, this flashy, fast-paced sequel features a motley crew of charactersincluding one of the human survivors of the last novel, Ali Von Schade, who ventures deep into hell to rescue children who were abducted from the surface. In addition to Ali, the characters include a NASA researcher who spent two years exploring hell and who now has massive physical deformities, including a pair of horns; the mother of one of the missing children, whose journey into the Subterrain takes an unexpected toll on her; a filmmaker who disappeared into hell several years ago and who seems to have survived its perils; and a Navy SEAL sniper. Long has a knack for telling stories with inherently over-the-top premises, but he tells them so well and with such passion that we are brought totally under his spell. His characters are real and complex, his dialogue sharp, and his narrative stylish and frightening. This is one case where readers should be enthusiastically encouraged to go to hell. Pitt, David
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Top Customer Reviews
What bothered me the most was the way that the book sort of plays with "the rules" set up in The Descent. If Satan has the power to send apparitions and voices to beckon and torment normal humans, why isn't he powerful enough to do anything else? Stuff like this causes conflicts in the action. The chapters about the "Angel" and his pupil are also tiresome. And what's up with all the political hatred for conservatives? Certainly they are open for parody, but it's heavy handed and annoying here.
THE DESCENT, Jeff Long's original work about an extensive underground civilization, will always remain one of my favorite reads. It combined the difficulties and adventure of exploring deep beneath the earth's crust with the discovery of a new humanoid race, fantastic animal and plant mutations adapted to living in darkness, the overwhelming claustrophobia of being miles below the earth's surface, and a smidgen of religion. After all, if there is a God in Heaven, there must be a Satan in Hell. And Jeff Long presented us with a vivid description of Hell.
DEEPER tries to pick up the pieces of THE DESCENT and once again returns us to a dark and dismal world. But the atmosphere he drags us back into isn't the same. It is no longer the utter and terrifying blackness it was before--think of being on a cave or mine tour where the tour guide turns off the lights--or think of the absolute darkness of being sealed in a casket--and you immediately realize that a big impact of the original book has disappeared. THE DESCENT was about an epic journey into undiscovered territory where something new lurked around every corner. DEEPER doesn't introduce any new wonders or surprises. And while THE DESCENT dealt with religion as a corollary subject, DEEPER takes it to a whole new level. Pun intended.
I still regard THE DESCENT as a seminal work, but DEEPER fails dismally. I decided on two stars instead of one because I actually enjoyed the first half of the book. Unfortunately the second half meandered in several different directions and lacked the cohesiveness I was expecting. What a disappointment! So devour THE DESCENT but ditch DEEPER.
The story criss crossed between the evil down below, and a hunt for some children that were abducted and taken into the earth. While the beginning of the book was interesting, towards the end it became more metaphysical, and more about the torture inflicted upon the people. The underworld, which was so believable in the first book, became more and more unbelievable to me. So I felt a little let down by this one.