The old ones were right. Hell is a real place, underground, right where they said it would be. Time to fix that hole in the basement.
Long, who flirted with the supernatural in The Reckoning (2004) and scared the bejeebers out of armchair mountain climbers with The Wall (2006), sends armies of characters climbing miles underground into the tunnels, caverns, trenches, streams and rivers comprising Hades, for millennia the home of Hadads, Homo sapiens’ older, smarter cousins. Hadads, who didn’t hesitate to chow down on their surface-dwelling kinfolk when attacked by the munchies, were civilized ages before anything like writing or arithmetic spread through Europe or China. As a matter of fact, it was Hadads who tipped us off to most of our useful “discoveries.” None of that ancient savvy was, however, enough to protect them against greedy humans armed with 21st-century weaponry or good old fatal viruses, which wiped out the Hadads shortly after the family reunion. Or, rather, almost wiped them out. In the near future—as World Powers are busy carving out underground spheres of influence in order to tap the tremendous wealth beneath their feet, engendering competition as fierce and formidable as any in the cold war era—Hadads reappear. They stage a stunning raid on Halloween night, snatching nubile and nearly nubile girls and dragging them below to become mothers to a new generation of Hadads. But Americans don’t surrender their daughters.
Many sly references to present-day politics and postures keep what is essentially a very gloomy trip from total darkness.