“Hell Divers” is a gritty, intense, violent, action-packed, post-apocalyptic thriller. It takes place 250 years after humanity bombed themselves to the point of extinction. The survivors took refuge in the same huge airships that dropped the bombs. Now there are only two left.
“The Hive” is one of them. Over-crowded and under-maintained, it carries more than 500 people, clinging grimly to life and hoping to find somewhere to land where the surface radiation and the storms won’t kill them.
“The Hive” is kept in the sky by teams of Hell Divers who scavenge parts and power cells from the surface. Their motto is, “We dive so humanity survives”. The average Hell Diver lives for fifteen dives before their luck runs out.
“Hell Divers” is strong on duty, sacrifice and a stubborn determination not to let the human race become extinct. The price is high and the people paying it are far from perfect: addicted to the adrenalin-high of diving, haunted by their dead, seeking respite in drink and drugs. What they do is heroic but they are believably and engagingly human.
“Hell Divers” is a cinematic book, described in a way that enabled me to be RIGHT THERE when anything was happening and in this book, something was always happening. From the first page, I could see the interior of “The Hive” and immerse myself in its shabby, decaying, poorly-lit, claustrophobic atmosphere. “Hell Divers” has “Make Me Into A High Budget TV Series” written all over it. I could see how the lighting would work and the angle of the shots. It’s completely absorbing.
I won’t go into the plot other than to say that things are bad when the book starts and get progressively worse. Nicholas Sansbury Smith keeps tightening the tension with the inexorability of a sadist using a thumbscrew. He moves smoothly between the storylines of different groups of characters and rings out every ounce of emotion from the incessant need for sacrifice and struggle.
R.C: Bray was the perfect choice as the narrator. His rugged voice and intense delivery grabbed me by the arm and dragged me through the fights and the deaths, the impossible odds and absence of good choices.
If you’re in the mood for an original thriller, tinged with military ethics, offset by human frailty and fear, you’ll love this book.
“Hell Divers” is book one of a trilogy. Book two comes out in July. My copy is pre-ordered.