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Hell Divers (Hell Divers Series, Book 1) Paperback – January 25, 2022
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The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series
They dive so humanity survives ...
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 of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers--men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.
When one of the remaining 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 far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past--something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.
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"Hell Divers is an adrenaline rush with plenty of bullets, life-threatening situations, and exceptional world building to make a story that is easily immersive. Plus, the Sirens are seriously creepy."--Silk & Serif
"Hell Divers is an engaging story that holds one's attention from start to finish and will certainly satisfy the readers' need for adventure in a postapocalyptic scenario. The kind of book that can keep you awake till the small hours."--Space and Sorcery
"Hell Divers is action-packed, gritty, and wholly original. A rare combination of a high premise, solid storytelling, and heart."--Daniel Arenson, USA Today bestselling author
About the Author
- ASIN : B09LZDYZS8
- Publisher : Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (January 25, 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 350 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8200924103
- Item Weight : 1.29 pounds
- Best Sellers Rank: #91,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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This book rocked!! What a start to the series!! The idea that the last remnants of humanity are in air ships circling the globe was unique (for me anyway). Usually in Post Apoc books, it's about the preppers and how they survive, here it's people from all walks of life, living in a ship because the earth is poisonous. The only way the ships stay afloat is the fact that men and women dive down to retrieve the necessary resources. It was a fresh and unique look to the PA genre.
I've read quite a few of this authors books and am always amazed with his descriptive writing and how he can pull you in right from the start. The action starts pretty much straight away and never lets up. This author can sure right some intense and exciting action scenes!!! I had no problem, whatsoever, in picturing the harrowing scenes of the wastelands, nor picturing the Hell Divers themselves and what it would feel like to dive towards death! Because that's what it is... very few Hell Divers make it past their 15th (or 19th, can't remember the exact number!) jump and the author is able to portray the way the divers feel perfectly. My heart was in my mouth the whole time!!
Another thing this author has a knack for is writing amazing characters. Xavier Rodriguez is damaged. He lost the love of his life and is just basically going through the motions. He is the head Hell Diver and is very very good at his job. The last dive he was on, he lost someone close to him and became responsible for Tin (Michael). He tries with Tin but X doesn't know how to look after someone else. He is a drunk and only lives so he can dive. I loved X right away. He may be gruff but he is loyal to his fellow divers and does what he can so the ship stays a float. He doesn't hesitate to dive, even when he finds out it Hades!! He is a worthy hero!
Then we have Tin. He loses his father and moves in with X. Tin was awesome!! Such a smart little cookie and not afraid to do whats needed. He wants to be an engineer when he gets older and is interested in fixing everything and anything. He was inquisitive and I loved his character. I really hope we see more of him in the next book. Smith also writes strong females. Captain Ash's cancer is back but she knows she has to stay strong so the ship can stay in the air. She isn't afraid to take chances and make difficult choices, but she is also compassionate. The author knows how to write characters that you will immediately connect to.
In all, this was a book that left me breathless many times! It is non stop and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!!! I don't know how many times I gasped out loud, but can only imagine it was a lot because so much happens, both on and off the ship! I listened to this in a day because I couldn't stop!! Bring on book 2!!!!
Nicholas Sansbury Smith knows how to weave a frightening tale. He’s done it several times now and I keep coming back.
“Hell Divers” is a very unique take on apocalyptic survival especially since the entire human population left are living in the very vehicles that destroyed the earth to begin with. The current inhabitants of these air ships are generations removed from that event and are currently too busy trying to stay in the air and survive than study history. I would too, as they all live day to day trying to keep their zeppelin-like ships in the air.
The airships are way past their “to use by” date which makes it even tougher on the engineers, but on the general populous also. They must grow their food, collect their water, purify it, etc. all the while staying high enough above the irradiated surface of a their once long ago home. Clouds so thick, they can’t see the sun. It’s perpetual shades of grey/gray.
It’s actually a good thing that so few remember what it used to be like, what an American or Russian constitution was and why they needed to be different. They don’t care about the things like that. They care about what their next meal is or actually if. They care about cancer from being crammed in too close to the nuclear engines that help keep them aloft, which is ironic since atomic energy is the reason they are there in the first place. And those engines are worn out, thus the need for Hell Divers.
These are men and women, not so much brave, but know there’s no other choice. Dive or die. Sometimes dive and the diver dies anyway, but it’s what they send back from the surface that counts.
Everything going down is a fast free fall with a chute opening, hopefully because everything is so damned old, but everything going back up goes with an ever finite supply of their precious helium in balloons. It’s a constant battle and there are but a few airships left. Between them all, and that includes the ill and hopelessly sick cancer patients, the humans are down to a barely triple digit population.
But that’s not the case on the surface, no, there’s new kids in town and their name are sirens! It comes from the sound they make. They sound just like an air raid siren. Why? Who knows, but they have no eyes, nose, ears or anything that resembles a normal human, just a face of skin. They do have a mouth, a mouth that would look right at home in a Bull Shark’s 🦈 mouth and they’re fast once down on all fours, like wolves 🐺.
Humans have zero chance against them without firearms and even then their sheer number will overwhelm or maybe the lightening out of the hurricane strength storms will fry our divers or debris will impale them before they ever get to see a siren. Some say that’s a good thing, the people who’ve given up, oh and some of the sirens can fly. I would be remiss if I forget that.
Yes, Mr. Smith tells an unbelievable story. It seems hopeless, but just when things get their worst, the very best comes through. Humanity may be down and it may very well be past the point of no return, but there will always be that determination, that will to go on, that fight to win in the worst of odds. Human spirit.
I personally wouldn’t want it any other way. Get a gun or get out of the way because “Divers dive so humanity lives”!
Thank you Nicholas for an awesome story and yet another reason I have nightmares 😄
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I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi; books of the genre are practically the only ones filling up my bookshelf. That being said, I can honestly say that the Hell Diver series is my favorite. From the diversity of characters to the thrilling situations that the divers find themselves in, each book in the series leaves me wanting more. I've ended up having to order the next book in the series with 2-day delivery before starting the one that just arrived, as I find it really difficult to stop reading once started.
The first book in the series throws you right into the action, with X preparing for another dive; he's way past the average number of dives a diver makes before dying, and its very apparent in his character. What I really like about the series is that while X is definitely the protagonist, the story is told through many other key characters as well, each of which you get to see develop throughout the series. From the ass-kicking heroine Magnolia, to the narcissistic XO turned captain, to the genius yet filterless head-engineer, Nicholas Sansbury Smith brings a multitude of interesting characters together in weaving this amazing tale of human survival.
In each book of the series I've read (only 1 left to go), there is a great amount of action, inter-character development, post-apocalyptic thrill, and even philosophical undertones. The Hive, upon which the last of humanity is living, is struggling to stay afloat, and resources are so thin that a clear class system is in place, with the lower-deckers having a high incidence of cancer due to being close to the nuclear cells. Humanity's only hope of surviving is for a handful of individuals to risk their lives diving to the surface of Earth to scavenge for materials. Most of the areas in which the materials are located are highly radioactive and filled with things that want nothing more than to kill you. In a world like this, would you put your life on the line to save what's left of the human race? This is the Hell Diver's calling - they dive so that humanity survives.
All in all, I highly recommend this book; it will satisfy even the most avid Sci-Fi fan, and keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
The bombs that killed the world were dropped by massive airships that - in a cruel twist of irony - subsequently went on to provide refuge for the last dregs of humanity to survive the apocalypse that followed. Now however, hundreds of years after the bombs fell, only two of these airships remain - 'Ares' and 'The Hive' - each providing a home to a little over five hundred men women and children, who as far as anyone is aware are the last of humanity.
Life on the airships is hard and short, and split into two distinct social classes - 'upper deckers' (crew, and those with specialist skills), and 'lower deckers' (those with no specialist skills). Food is scarce and limited to what little can be grown in the onboard nursery. Medicine is almost non-existant. The average lifespan is just 37 years of age, with cancer being commonplace thanks to the airships radioactive power souce.
The fact that the airships are able to stay afloat at all is all thanks to the efforts of the 'Helldivers' - highly trained personnel who parachute down to the treacherous surface of the planet below, braving radioactive air, storms that can strip the flesh of a man from his bones, and the vicious mutant lifeforms that now live in that environment, in order to retrieve the essential equipment and componants that has barely kept their ramshackle homes in the air.
Xavier Rodriquez is one such Helldiver - in fact the most capable and famous of them all, having survived ninty five missions in an occupation where the average number of missions before meeting a grisly end is just fifteen - but when his home, 'The Hive', is crippled by a fierce storm, he finds himself and his fellow Helldivers required to conduct their most dangerous mission of all to a place with the most severe conditions anywhere on the planet, and so inhospitable that no Helldiver has ever returned from it - the city now only known as 'Hades', with the future of the entire human race relying on them....
As a regular consumer of books in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre, I found this to be an exciting, gripping, and - the main characters typical macho BS name aside (Preferring to be referred to as 'Commander X' or just 'X'!) - considered it to be quite a fresh new angle for a genre that can quite often end up formulaic and written by the numbers.
'Helldivers' was a real page turner that I found difficult to put down, and I'll definately be getting in line for the next two volumes!
The characters were generic military badasses and there wasn't really a plot to speak of beyond the repeated need to hell-dive to pick up spare parts. An attempt to introduce conflict on the ship itself didn't work and had no bearing on anything else that was going on.
The Sirens were superb and creepy on their first appearance but repeated fights and flights against an endless horde of mindless monsters got old really fast. They were supposedly some sorts of mutants living on a post-apocalyptic and ruined Earth, though they could have been aliens living on another planet and it wouldn't have made any difference to the narrative.
The airship setting was good on the surface but so much of it didn't make sense. Hell-diving down to Earth for spare reactor parts is one thing, but how do they replace all the other thousands of components the ship must need in order to keep running, which they presumably can't manufacture on board as no manufacturing facilities are ever mentioned? Hammers, screwdrivers, electrical wiring, computers, etc - if the ship has been in the air for 200+ years (I forget the exact time) where do these come from? How do they replace the cargo crates and their contents apparently left behind after each jump?
Apparently there are 3 other books in the series at the time I write this, but I won't be continuing with the series.
The concept was one that hooked me straight away. I love the whole idea of having to dive through the clouds back down to a radioactive surface in search of ship parts to keep humanity afloat. The novel pretty much delivered a darn awesome experience from start to finish. I am not the world's fastest reader (mainly due to work and other commitments) but I managed to rip through this one in about four days (I only grab an hour or so a night, a little more if I'm lucky. Oh, if only I was a speed reader).
The action scenes were particularly good. The pacing of the battles were great and I could really feel my adrenaline pulsing when the Hell Divers got themselves in trouble. The author did a great job of building that anxious feeling of knowing something was just about to happen.
If I had to pick a couple of downsides to Hell Divers, I would say that, at times, certain character's motivations/choices felt a bit strange given what they had going on in their lives. Some of the choices felt a tad forced. I also hated the fact that the main character was called Xavier. I really like that name, but I hate with an absolute passion the abbreviation 'X'. I thought I was going to struggle reading it due to every other line having 'X' written on it but, to my surprise, it grew on me (or I at least was able to ignore it)
The ending was also the sort of ending that was both good and not what I wanted. It left me with a few different emotions ranging from happiness to feeling as though life was just incredibly unfair. I'm not saying it was a bad ending (it wasn't) I just totally wasn't expecting it. This goes back to the author's skill of making you think something was going to happen only to just full deliver you a last minute gut-punch of a surprise.
I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the next in the series.
I'm not into "spoilers" so all I'll tell you is that the story is compelling; a darkened post-apocalyptic, ravaged Earth covered by electrical storms, humans surviving on a failing old airship and sending the "Hell Divers" of the title free-falling back to the surface to scavenge... so much superb research and so much pace; it's not often that you get both as well as great storytelling and involving characters!
And of course there are "monsters", but not the ones you might expect...
Enough said, if you want something a little different from the usual "post-ap" then buy this book... trust me, you'll soon be buying the entire series just like me :)