Tag Archive | monsters

Hell Divers V: Captives by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Kindle
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I’ll be honest: I was nervous to pick up this book. Given how HD4 ended, followed up by the title and cover of this book, I was hesitant to learn what happens next. This made it difficult to get into the book to start off with. Don’t get me wrong. My issues had nothing to do with either the quality of the writing or… or perhaps they had everything to do with it. In the Hell Divers series, Nick has created a cast of characters who have become dear friends. I feel I’ve been with them through their ups and downs, thick and thin, disappointments, losses, wins. And because of this and the direction of the story – for me, at least – it became increasingly difficult to contemplate more bad stuff happening to any of them. About the only thing that gave me the courage to plough on was reports I was hearing from others who had read it.

And was that faith well rewarded! I should perhaps have trusted Smith more… Don’t be silly. I do trust him. I’m just not so sure I trust some of those monsters he invents quite as much, though! And as is to be expected, this book is packed full of all types of monsters. But it’s also chock full of good people.

Given the self-induced rocky start, once I really got into the story, it settled right down into being a classic addition to the Hell Divers’ story – aforementioned monsters and all. I’m not sure if this is one of the shorter stories in the series, but it certainly went down a treat in the end. I’m glad to have read it, and I look forward to reading more about the further adventures of the Hell Divers.

PS: The dog’s fine!

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Hell Divers III: Deliverance by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

What an absolute treat to be able to reenter the post-apocalyptic world of the Hell Divers. The first book blew me away, the second book was duly devoured, and this third book was no less of a hell-ride.

Approximately 250 years after the world went to hell in a nuclear war that destroyed the surface of the planet, airships ply the skies over what used to be the USA, unable to land on the blasted – and dangerous – earth. Now aged and falling apart, the airships are maintained by supplies collected from locations across the country by the intrepid Hell Divers, men and women who risk their lives with each jump they take to retrieve the supplies, battling raging thunderstorms, high radiation and mostly humanoid monsters called Sirens.

Hive, the last of the airships, recently lost its last two teams of Hell Divers. Unknown to them, some of those Hell Divers survived to find a new airship they name Deliverance. And they are hunting down the legendary Hell Diver, X, lost ten years ago on a mission in Hades.

Meanwhile, on the Hive, a new team of Hell Divers must be trained to continue the supply runs. But when Captain Leon Jordan learns of Deliverance, he has a new goal: acquire the sleek new airship at all costs.

Nick’s prose, particularly in this series, is some of the most beautiful I’ve come across, making this series a qualified (due to the nature of the storyline) pleasure to read. It’s rare that I find books I can inhale as rapidly as these. The settings and characters are so realistic, and the delivery so smooth, that I just wrap myself up in the world for a few hours – sans hot chocolate!

For all this is a post-apoc book with monsters – humanoid, animal and plant – Nick always manages to show that the true depths of depravity are found in the human heart; there’s truly no monster worse than one that wears a human face. I’m by nature not a vindictive person, but I really really hate the villain in this story.

Oh, and that epilogue? It had me in tears. SO beautiful.

Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Hell DiversSource: ARC from the author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search for a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. Enter the Hell Divers—men and women who risk their lives by diving to the surface to scavenge for parts that keep their homes in the air. When one of the two surviving airships is damaged in an electrical storm, a Hell Diver team is deployed to a hostile zone called Hades. But there’s something down there that’s far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past—something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.

Aaaah, what it is to pick up a book by Nicholas. Even knowing you’re going to go on a hell-ride (no pun intended…) with him, you pick it up and read it, because it’s going to be that good. And Hell Divers is no less. Oh no. Within a sentence or two Smith had sucked me right in to X’s world and life on board the Hive – one of the last two airships floating above a devastated Earth.

And what a fascinating scenario. Humanity survives solely in huge airships that fly around above a totally devastated, radioactive Earth. These airships are far from airworthy, and are pretty much staying up there by their bootstraps. To keep these massive colonies in the skies, Hell Divers must parachute to the surface of the devastated Earth for supplies, then ride back up to their airships on helium balloons. As the book opens, we meet X, by far the most experienced Hell Diver on his ship with a total of 95 jumps to his name. It’s clearly pointed out that the average most divers make is 15 jumps. This man surely knows his stuff. And the motto of the Hell Divers is one of the coolest I’ve come across: “We dive so humanity survives.” That’s their whole existence right there, in a nutshell.

It’s really difficult to make any sort of comment on this book without heading into the realm of spoilers, so I’m going to keep to the bare minimum. One of the things I really liked about this novel was how Smith introduced various threads, and how those threads developed as the story progressed. Another thing I really liked was this, and I quote:


That was the thing about extinction: every move became a life-or-death decision, with the fate of entire species on the line.


That particularly caught my eye, having recently seen a documentary on the extinction of the northern white rhinoceros, and how that was precisely the issue – every move made becomes a critical decision.

This book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a good long while. Very relevant to the story, and puts one quite in the scene for what happens in the book. Great fusion there.

Without a doubt, Smith is becoming a master storyteller. I guess that begins to happen when one has more than ten novels under one’s belt. Each successive book of his that I read is a step up from the previous one, and his ideas are no less inventive. I look forward to picking up the next Hell Divers novel. Please get writing!