The Descent has far more in common with Jaws than epic medieval poetry. The Descent indeed, is a marriage of Jaws and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Heaven, in effect, stands up Hell at the altar in this wickedly divine Descent not to the center of the earth, but to the very core of humankinds most archetypal, universal fear: the dark, and the demons who swim in it.
There's no great white sharks striking terror from the murky depths in The Descent; no, there's worse, much worse: there's great albino "hadals" disembowelling you alive from the cavernous depths. Once they've disembowelled you alive, they just might make a rope out of your intestines, using your innards to tie you to a stake, so that you, a) won't escape; and, b) can sample your flesh while it's still fresh, like you were human-sushi!
"Hadal" comes from the Latin, "homo hadalis," a team of scientists postulate, an evolutionary offshoot or hybrid of homo erectus and homo sapien. But all you need to know is that hadals come from Hell, the Hell waiting for you inside that cave, that mineshaft, or that archaeological dig. So obey those signs please ... and KEEP OUT!
That Legion of demons that tormented Regan and those two Jesuit priests in The Exorcist, would get their collective, possessive asses kicked by a single hadal.
Just ask the 150 members of the Helios scientific expedition sent to explore the theorized passage underneath the Pacific Ocean's floor that's hoped will connect the Galapagos Islands with New Guinea. Think of the logistic and power-opportunities available for the first-taking should such a passage be found. But what if the tyrannical head of Helios has ulterior motives for the expedition? Well, then maybe the mercenaries and the military and the scientists and the nun (yes! a nun) hired on board, and kept in line by a tyrant's son, Shoat, have a secret, underestimated defense weapon hidden up their sleeves themselves: A half-human/half-hadal evolutionary cross breed as their guide? Could it be? And what about Satan? What role does the Devil play in all of this? Don't tell me Satan is a sshhhh you be quiet, 'Frique! Don't spoil the surprise! But do insert the mad laughter here.
Will all, uh, Hell inevitably break loose in The Descent? Maybe not all of Hell, but maybe all of Hell-in-the-flesh: Homo hadalis!
Bats belong in caves, Intrepid Reader, not you. So stay out of them! You've been warned. And remember what Dante Alighieri said about Jeff Long's novel (and tremble): "Abandon all hope, ye who read The Descent."