The Black Room

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Robert has come back from a horrible ordeal in a strange parallel world. Now he can’t stop thinking about the people he left behind to face a winter that most won’t survive. When Robert sees a chance to save his friend Lorn, he is desperate to succeed. But is he prepared for the realities of her world? Meanwhile, Lorn struggles to lead the little band of survivors, even as she feels herself drawn to a secret tunnel where an unknown menace lurks.

Seamlessly blending fantasy with ...

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The Black Room

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Overview

Robert has come back from a horrible ordeal in a strange parallel world. Now he can’t stop thinking about the people he left behind to face a winter that most won’t survive. When Robert sees a chance to save his friend Lorn, he is desperate to succeed. But is he prepared for the realities of her world? Meanwhile, Lorn struggles to lead the little band of survivors, even as she feels herself drawn to a secret tunnel where an unknown menace lurks.

Seamlessly blending fantasy with a hard-hitting survival tale, Gillian Cross has created a completely original psychological thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This second book in The Dark Ground Trilogy can be read as such or as a standalone. It is very fun, fast paced, and energetic, but seems short. The language seems a little bit odd, but I suppose that because the author is British, and the language definitely adds to the book being fun to read. It is heavily recommended for fans of Elizabeth Winthrop's The Castle in the Attic (Holiday House, 1985/VOYA April 1986) and The Battle for the Castle (1993/VOYA June 1993). VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Dutton, 272p., Ages 11 to 15.
—David Guion
VOYA - Kim Carter
Although still unable to explain how his experience as a miniscule being in a perilous world where ordinary animals appear to be monsters of gargantuan size was possible, Robert has not forgotten those he left behind, including Lorn, who taught him how to weave complicated twelve-plaited braids. Because his older sister, Emma, saw the miniscule Robert reunite with his larger body, she believes his incredible story and together they stealthily bring daily food and supplies to the small hole in the park hedge where the others are desperately trying to survive the winter. Robert's friend Tom, jealous of being excluded from Robert's life, follows Robert and Emma, threatening to destroy the hedge hole, disbelieving Robert's explanation. When Tom steals a twelve-plaited braid with the intent of challenging Robert's story, Robert instead becomes convinced that the real Lorn is nearby, and he can help her reunite and escape. Following the braid's clues, Robert, Emma, and Tom plot to break into a mysterious backyard conservatory, where they discover a family's horrific dark secret. Much faster-paced than the first book in The Dark Ground Trilogy, alternating between suspense and action in the more recognizable world of Robert, Emma, and Tom and the fantastical world of Lorn's cavern, this novel is packed with the unexpected plot twists at which Cross excels, while hinting at bigger surprises to come in the trilogy's conclusion. Readers who enjoy fantasy coupled with mystery will appreciate this sequel, even if they have not read the first.
VOYA - David Guion
This second book in The Dark Ground Trilogy can be read as such or as a standalone. It is very fun, fast paced, and energetic, but seems short. The language seems a little bit odd, but I suppose that because the author is British, and the language definitely adds to the book being fun to read. It is heavily recommended for fans of Elizabeth Winthrop's The Castle in the Attic (Holiday House, 1985/VOYA April 1986) and The Battle for the Castle (1993/VOYA June 1993).
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-The Black Room (Dutton, 2006) by Gillian Cross is the second book in a trilogy that began with The Dark Ground (Dutton, 2004). Tom, while walking his dog, sees his best friend Rob and his sister Emma, and decides to follow them because they have been acting strangely for some time. He follows them from a grocery store into the woods and then is discovered by them. Tom confronts Rob and he reveals an unbelievable story about his life over the last few months. As Rob was traveling by plane home from a vacation with his family, he found himself in the woods, unclothed, in a miniature body. A corps of similarly small people, who live underground and are lead by a girl named Lorn, saved him, and later helped him to find and converge with his "zombie-like" real self. After accidentally spotting unique braiding, that only Lorn can do, on the gym bag of a boy at the bus stop, Rob follows the boy and discovers a little girl who looks like Lorn who is being kept in an underground room at the boy's house. Rob convinces Tom and Emma to help him rescue the girl and reunite her with Lorn. Lorn and Tom tell the story in alternating chapters. While the story takes a long time to build momentum, once it does it becomes very compelling. Steven Pacey reads this fantasy/thriller with great exuberance and enthusiasm, giving each character a distinct voice and helping to flesh out their personalities. Purchase where the first book is popular.-Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cross steps up the pace and urgency in this gravely suspenseful second installment. When The Dark Ground (2004) ended, Robert had suddenly become normal-sized again, merging with the lethargic body that had continued his regular life while he was miniscule and surviving in the treacherous woods with other tiny people. His story here is told by his friend Tom, drawn into the cause by Robert and sister Emma. The alternating story is told by Lorn, tiny, back in the forest and struggling to survive the frigid winter in an underground cavern. When Tom stumbles upon a random classmate in possession of a 12-strand braid that only Lorn-or another version of Lorn-could know how to make, they follow a trail to a hidden abused girl who may be Lorn's normal-sized counterpart. Their mission to reunite her with microscopic Lorn is desperate and dangerous. Readers now know what is going on, but still not how or why. A gripping page-turner that begs for the next volume. (Fantasy. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525474876
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/6/2006
  • Series: Dark Ground Series , #2
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Gillian Cross has written many award-winning books for children in her native UK. The Dark Ground Trilogy: Book One is her first book for Dutton Children’s Books.

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Table of Contents

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