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*Starred Review* Positing not just one secret civilization beneath London’s streets but many, this compelling doorstopper debut in a new series (apparently to be called Tunnels) pits two teens digging into the disappearance of one’s father against a subterranean colony kept in Victorian squalor by the advanced science and ominous preaching of a mysterious semireligious body called The Styx. Though a tad slow off the mark, the plot quickly picks up speed as Will and Chester discover chains of inhabited or once-inhabited caverns down below, while enduring both physical and psychological torture in the course of multiple chases, captures, separations, and escapes. After learning the shocking truth about Will’s supposed sister, Rebecca (who may play a larger role in future episodes), the pair, plus a local ally, are last seen hiding aboard a train chugging its way into even deeper unknown realms. The authors add distinctive, vivid touches to the somewhat trendy “towns down below” premise (frequent references to digging, disturbing odors, and dirty clothing), and the murderous, refreshingly competent Styx makes an uncommonly challenging adversary. The illustrations were seen only in placeholder samples, but by all other accounts, this appears to be a very promising series kickoff. Grades 6-9. --John Peters
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ISBN-10:  0439871778
ISBN-13:  978-0439871778
Author:  Roderick Gordon
Publisher:  The Chicken House
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review by . April 22, 2008
Will Burrows loves a good adventure. His father was trained as an archaeologist but works in a second rate local museum. In their off hours, Will and his Dad do amateur digs in hopes of finding something really exciting, something really noteworthy. They've had a few interesting discoveries but nothing seems to pan out.     Bend on trying to find something really interesting, Will enlists the help of his buddy Chester. Every day after school the two work on an area that seems …
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