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I'm trying to remember the name or author of a book I read back in the 80's, but both are escaping me at the moment. Keep in mind, I was pretty young (probably early teens?) and I read a lot of books at the time (still do), so things are a bit fuzzy.

What I do remember:

  • I'm pretty sure it was some sort of science fiction
  • I think it may have had a one- or two-word title, but I'm not positive on that one
  • The protagonist was a pilot of a jet fighter (?), and people were—I think—living underground at the time of the novel. The surface of the planet was barren—possibly destroyed by war.
  • He crashes and ends up having to live on the surface (of what I'm pretty sure is Earth)
  • He meets up with a tribe of whoever lives on the surface now, and to become "one of them" (or to perhaps keep them from killing him?), he has to do some sort of ritual. I remember VERY CLEARLY that part of the ritual included a sharpened stick being shoved through one of his cheeks and out the other, and he had to bite the stick in half. I remember this because—well, it's kind of an unforgettable scene and I was a teenager—I hadn't read much stuff like that up to that point.

Anyway, that's all my brain can dredge up. Does this ring ANY bells with anybody?