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Roderick Gordon
Children's Fiction GORDON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Although it arrives from the U.K. amid plenty of fanfare-and to fandom here, too (see Galley Talk, Dec. 10)-this first in a planned series seems full of holes, as if its raison d'etre were to set up the action for future books. The plot builds on a secret subterranean culture, a cruel, hierarchical English society that is deeply hostile to "Topsoilers." As the book opens, the punningly named Will Burrows and his archeologist father are tunneling beneath a disused train station, as this is Dr. Burrows's passion. Their bond established, these two major characters soon go off in different directions; as they do later, the authors lengthily follow one protagonist and seemingly abandon the others. Dr. Burrows, having discovered underground passages in local cellars, disappears after a quarrel with his useless wife; Will and a friend go after him. Encumbered by verbose and flat descriptions ("His whole being emanated evil, and his dark eyes never left Will's, who felt a wave of dread wash over him.... {{Will] was unable to tear his gaze from the sinister man, whose thin lips twisted into a sardonic smile"), the novel is nearly one-third over before the boys enter the underground Colony-where they are promptly imprisoned and tortured. The narrative at last begins to twist and turn, but the authors still have trouble tracking their cast-and because the offstage characters seem to figure so punily in the others' thinking, readers have little incentive to stay invested in their fates. Ages 8-14. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Will Burrows
Age: 14
Loves archaeology; dysfuctional family; father disappears and tries to solve the mystery.

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