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  • Hell Divers

  • Hell Divers Series, Book 1
  • Written by: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (621 ratings)
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Hell Divers

Written by: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
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Publisher's Summary

2016 Editor's Pick

2016 Audible's Best in Science Fiction

The New York Times and USA Today best-selling series

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 Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to Earth long ago.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. 

©2016 Nicholas Sansbury Smith (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Hell Divers

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cool premise, great action and it's not steampunk

For some reason when I read the description (very casually) and saw that humans lived in airships my mind immediately thought steampunk and that's not a genre I'm into so I left the book on my wishlist for a while. I recently looked at it again and I realized my mistake, the story takes place in our future so I took a chance on it and loved it.

I love the idea of floating over the apocalypse, where survival depends on elite teams diving down to scavenge and keep humanity floating. The story has a nice pace to it, there's a good amount of action, interesting world building and lots of room to expand this universe.

Will definitely get the next book in the series and recommend this one.

#Audible1

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9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty solid

Doomed to forever find power cells and pressure valves. Someone please tell the author other things can also be needed sometimes.

Otherwise not a bad audiobook.

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4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Rob
  • 2019-10-20

Belief unsuspended

I didn't like this and couldn't finish it. There are too many issues with the logic.

Sci-fi and fantasy are my bread and butter, and I'll forgive a lot, but it just doesn't make sense. Simple things like growing up in a population of a large high school and not knowing absolutely everyone on board broke the suspension of disbelief. Or, a dystopian future with limited resources, yet a character has black nail polish.

It's like listening to Waterworld in the sky. Hard pass.

Great performance by RC Bray as always.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen/read

Really enjoyed this book. It is a different take on the EOW genre. I really enjoyed the idea of how they live and survive in a world completely changed by the ravages of war. The characters are well done. I just can't say enough other than if you have to have this in your collection. RC Bray does a great job of voicing the characters and Nicolas did a great job on the story. Can't wait to listen to the rest.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a tale of heroism and sacrifice

great story for reflection
tale of caution for today and enduring honour for those with vision

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Start

Very interesting start to the series. Well written and good characters, I like this twist on the post apocalyptic world, living high above the dangerous ground below

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2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hmmm

Feels a bit slow and confusing at times. Narrator is great, it’s a free listen so give it a shot to see if you want to move onto the next book. I probably pass on this series.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good agood beginning

R.C. Bray could read the phone book and I would listen to the very end. A good story a good beginning makes you want more.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than i expected!!

I put this book off for far too long.
I had an extra credit and thought I’d give it a shot. And oh boy am I happy I did!!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Poorly constructed world and characters

Not even the fantastic narrator could save this trainwreck of a world and ridiculous characters.

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1 person found this helpful

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  • Jillian Noone
  • 2019-09-04

A little cliche action hero-y but damn good story anyway

You know how it goes. The Hero who is tragic and damaged, he (insert self destructive vice) too much and can barely hold himself together. He has a chip on his shoulder and is something of a loose cannon - both characteristics that keep him from rising in the ranks while also ensuring he's called on for the most dangerous deploys.

....but it's actually still pretty good. Solid character development, an actual female captain (who's main character arc is actual leadership not a romance with aforementioned Loose Cannon), and it's got plenty of nail biting moments while not being overly predictable or relying on jump scares (can books have jump scares?)

I was mad when it was over and now I'm gonna go download the next in the series.

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250 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2017-02-02

GUINEA PIG MEAT

I DON'T KNOW WHAT I SAW, BUT I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN
Scary, Adventurous, exciting and puts you in the middle of the action. Smith has really come up with a winner here. His apocalyptic world is filled with scary eyeless mutants, that want to eat you. It is has these huge electrical storms and no sun light. A little over 500 humans are surviving barely, on an airship that was not meant to be home to anybody. My first review of a NSS book was damaging and just not good. I am glad I gave this author a second chance. This book will put him on the map. NSS has built two great worlds. One is the destroyed earth and the other is in the air. The writing is so well done, that you feel you are there.

WHAT ARE THOSE MUTANT F'S DIGGING FOR?
I really like the mutants in this book. I love the diving even more. The characters are a bit cliché, their are no light moments and this will never be considered a classic piece. None the less, this entertains 100% of the time. At the time of this writing, this is number Uno for Sci-Fi contemporary. That is because it was a daily deal. It will fall below Martian, Bob and Expedition, but it will hang around the top ten for a long time. In July, when the sequel comes out, it will probably start as number one, so you might as well get this read now.

Bray
What can I say about this guy that I have not already said? I feel sorry for Science Fiction, Horror, or adventure writers that can't get Bray to do their narrating. His name alone, sells audio books.

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227 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Larry
  • 2017-06-30

A fast, intense engaging, story. <br />

But over the top for me
I'm 70 now, 20, or even 10 years ago I would have feasted on this story and fished for a sequel, at least more from that author.
I had to slow the speech speed down to 80% for my focus to keep up, even then I had to laugh at how short each listening session was.
With aging my mind is slowing. I've been, & done; lived so much. Experience with, doesn't keep you up with action.
Yes I will follow up with other stories by this author, but I'll space them out giving my elders ears some rest & recovery.

I have a "PS." for this review :
I am a Nam vet and a combat grunt.
I was impressed with the author's grasp of what goes on in the mind, fear.
Fear is addictive, that pounding heart adrenaline and something unanticipated awakens when one accepts I'm going die, this is the my end, I can't survive this!
This, can't end with me alive.
With acceptance comes a kind of peace. With that peace a kind of unanticipated courage.
It can't matter what I try; I'm done anyhow. Then a kind of gratitude that, at last, an end. The exhaustion I'm so weary.
That alas is then, it's later, having survived, comes the withdrawal, the hunger to be fully alive in the moment. It leaves one unfit for a normal life. But 'oh the cost in nightmares, the runaway hyper-vigilance. One learns how to use rage for an energy boost. You don't unlearn such things.
Oh-yes, many find booze a useful tool for the rest of oblivion; - any, not all.
Some recover; kind of.
-End -

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185 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Schmoopyslove
  • 2016-08-05

Give the Hero a Break, please?!

I love R. C. Bray! I listen to anything he narrates. I'm a huge fan of his. Once again he did not disappoint.
OK. That's out of the way.
I argued with myself about my rating here. I devour fast paced, non-stop action books. My library is full of them. But... I don't want to give away any spoilers. Hmmm...
Everything is perfect here, except. I kept hoping for redemption for these last souls. I clung on for the whole book! I wanted to internally clap and fist bump in the air. I wanted to feel that relief you feel when the hero triumphs. Instead, I waited, I waited and I actually cried at one point.

So you see, I had a very hard time rating this. I loved it and at the same time I felt like I was dangling onto the action, one foot on the cross , the other off kind of feeling. WHEN am I going to be able to root as they meet their goals!! Oh god!! Another person dies! Please stop, stop !! Another sad scene! For the love of God.....isn't there ANYTHING to brighten this great book?!

I'm not used to crying while listening to a pseudo military action packed book!

Sigh, near the end I cried B_llsh_t! I was so pissed, I actually said," Oh come on for god's sake DONT DO THIS TO ME"!!!

Great action, sad book. Would say more but I really don't want to spoil this.

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132 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michalena
  • 2017-10-06

I usually don't read my SciFi however....!!

So, I'm kind of strange...I love SciFI TV, all the way back to Star Trek: Next Gen when I was a kid. But...reading it in book form I usually find tedious and a struggle to get through, with a few exceptions (thank you Douglas Adams!!). But this book was on sale, the premise sounded really interesting and my boyfriend had recently made me listen to the Gears of War books on Audible which greatly enjoyed, so I took a chance. So glad I did!!

This book is an adrenaline ride from beginning to end. It doesn't flinch from the realities of nuclear fallout and using nuclear power to run a ship. It's not just the Hell Divers that are in danger when jumping to a destroyed earth. Cancer, deformities, radiation sickness and other diseases rampant on the ship, especially in the lower decks near the reactors.

You're taken along for the same ride the Hell Divers go on as well as getting insight to life on the ship, the social state of affairs, humanity's fight to survive and heroism and compassion that exists even in this hard future.

I will definitely be buying the second book in the series and I hope Audible comes out with the 3rd real soon.

"We dive so that humanity survives"

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127 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dreamer
  • 2017-10-21

read the book so of course I had to listen to it

I am not a big science fiction fan at all. I usually avoid reading them. As a fan of Mr. Sansbury Smith's other books I knew I just had to give Hell Divers a try. As I said, I already read the book and thought why not listen to Hell Divers. Wow, the book is fantastic but audible brings the entire book to life in vivid colors. R. C. Bray took no time to get used to, as some narrators do for me . Some narrators distract me from the book but not R. C. Bray, he made Hell Divers play in my mind like a movie from the very start. Whether you read, listen or both ( my suggestion ), this is one hell of a book and series.

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114 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Camellia
  • 2019-08-26

Like listening to an apocalyptic action movie

I tried this book on a whim — I love apocalyptic stories but there are a lot of mediocre books out there. This is not one them! The Hell Divers series is original, exciting, and addictive. I’ve literally had to buy more credits as I’ve plowed through listening to the whole series to date in the last month. Be warned: this story will grab you and you won’t want to let go!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracy P.
  • 2019-01-11

HELL DIVERS: A HEAVENLY THRILLER!

"Hell Divers #1" was even better (based on all the great reviews I read prior) than expected. An absolutely amazing thrill ride, start to finish, with well developed, multidimensional, realistic characters.

I was familiar with Sansbury Smith's work from his "Extinction Horizon" (Zombie) series, and went through them, one after the other, till I had to wait for his newest release, and preordered that one.

This book had it all. . . mystery, suspense, nonstop thrills, and horror all perfectly mixed in. I did not read the synopsis for book #2 for until I finished this one, so was surprised by the ending, and thought it was perfect!

Looking forward to moving onto book #2 in this series soon, and cannot recommend Mr. Sansbury Smith's work highly enough. He is definitely not a one hit wonder, and is (quite honestly) just terrifically talented, and gets what readers/listeners seek in thriller/horror books.

It goes without saying that narrator R.C. Bray is phenomenal. Whenever I see his name listed as the person narrating I know the listening experience will be well beyond expectations! :)

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87 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 2018-09-11

Came for the dystopia, left with derivation

RC Bray does a wonderful job with introspective strong male protagonists. His narration was spot-on as always.

The plot to hell divers is exactly what you'd expect from the synopsis and cover art. It immerses you in a world not too unlike our own, with little glimpses of how the players of this world view our privileged existence. Beyond the basic premise, I found the writing derivative and expository at times. Lots of plot points are nothing more than they appear on the surface. I couldn't get into any intrigue beyond the fate of the protagonists. The world building ends at the surface level.

That said, the world building is still masterful. Without getting into too much detail, it differs so much from our own that it's shallow skin might make it more believable, avoiding unneeded complication in a very cut-and-dry existence. I look forward to picking up future books to find out if there is more than meets the eye hidden in the next installment.

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  • Midwestbonsai
  • 2016-12-14

Smith did not fail to deliver

The earth as we know and loved it has been nearly destroyed by humans.  Floating above the clouds and well above the radiation levels, two airships – Ares and The Hive contain the only living humans.  All others are gone, fallen to the earth in crashes leaving no survivors.  All too often, the airships need supplies that only the war-ravaged and nearly destroyed earth can provide – parts to maintain the ships.

The ships are self-sufficient, crowded and depending on who you are – life can be pleasant or hellish.  Not only does The Hive have to attempt a rescue mission over Hades (a particularly deadly area of the world) but their ship is falling into ruin.  Hell divers are the men and women who dive from the airships and fall to the earth to scavenge what the ship needs to stay afloat.  X is one of the best but he carries so much baggage that one wonders if he still has it in him.

Action packed, X and his crew must find the necessary parts to keep their ship afloat while the captain faces her own difficulties.  Residents are recruited younger and younger to be engineers, hell divers and more – there is no childhood anymore!  Diving to the  planet from the airship, is dangerous given the electrical storms and other conditions that mother nature throws their way.  While on the planet, X not only loses his best friend and becomes a surrogate father but he comes face to face with deadly vicious monsters that have mutated into unspeakable horrors that enjoy human flesh.  The Hive must fly, X must return with the needed supplies and the human race must survive – but is it too late?

Nicholas Sansbury Smith brings the injustices of society, mistakes, and fallacies of humans to the forefront and mixes in unimaginable monsters with razor-sharp nails and teeth.

I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s Extinction series so I was looking forward to this series with anticipation and excitement.  Smith did not fail to deliver – Hell Divers is an exciting action packed book that is well written and developed fully.  Rich in detail, the characters are fully developed along with the plot.  Everything moves together – in a fluid-like manner leaving no questions or holes.

Smith is a rare and unique story-teller; one that can grow a story into a very skillful piece of writing capturing the audience’s attention and interest.

R.C. Bray, narrator performs this oral narration perfectly.  He captures the roughness and personality of each person; he plays his voice as if it were a musical instrument – concise and with the correct tone inflections and emotion.  He embraces the book and allows the book and its characters to shine.

If you enjoy action and well-written stories of the apocalypse, then don’t miss out on this one.  It is riveting!

There were no issues with the audio production or quality.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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