Tunnels (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Tunnels (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.2 180
by Roderick Gordon, Brian Williams

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Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his strange, dysfunctional family. In fact, the only bond he shares with his eccentric father is a passion for archaeological excavation. So when his dad mysteriously vanishes, Will is compelled to dig up the truth behind his disappearance. He unearths the unbelievable: a subterranean society that time forgot.


Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his strange, dysfunctional family. In fact, the only bond he shares with his eccentric father is a passion for archaeological excavation. So when his dad mysteriously vanishes, Will is compelled to dig up the truth behind his disappearance. He unearths the unbelievable: a subterranean society that time forgot. "The Colony" has existed unchanged for a century, but it's no benign time capsule of a bygone era. Because the Colony is ruled by a merciless overclass, the Styx. Will must free his father—but is he also about to ignite a revolution?


"My eyes were my gray metal shovel and my dark unexpected tunnel was the book. I kept digging my way deeper into the plot to find out what was going to happen next."—Alexa, age 12

"...a unique mix of fantasy and adventure that keeps you wondering what's going to happen next....the vivid descriptions will transport you to a whole new world."—Matt, age 14

"...I was on the edge of my seat until the last page. It was intricately mystifying. Full praise to TUNNELS—I want more!"--Garrett, age 12

Editorial Reviews

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'être 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.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows has a passion for digging around his small town of Highfield, which is so old it dates back to Roman times. He and his father, curator of the town's history museum and archaeologist, spend their spare time looking for ancient artifacts, abandoned underground train tunnels, or maybe something more interesting: evidence of ancient settlements. Outside of his exciting hobby, Will's life is dreary. His family is dysfunctional. His older sister Rebecca does all the shopping, cleaning, and cooking while their mother spends her time in front of the TV. Will's appearance works against him—he is pale with white hair, and his only friend is big, bumbling Chester who is also on the outside of teen society. Suddenly, Will's humdrum life turns dark and desperate. His father disappears, their family is without any money, and Will suspects that his father may be in danger connected with some secret excavation. Can he find his father with Chester's help? Some mysterious figures begin to tail Will; the new-found father's journal also mentions being followed by the same furtive strangers. Will and Chester persevere in their search and are suddenly thrust into a dark, frightening underground world filled with people who look like Will. Some claim to be his family. Some, the Styx, are truly frightening: they use torture to get information from Will and Chester. How will Chester and Will escape? Can they find Dr. Burrows? What about the foreign yet familiar underground people that claim to be Will's grandmother and younger brother? Meanwhile, what is happening topside to Rebecca and Mum? The underground world becomes deeper and deadlier and Will wonders if he will eversee the sky or sunlight again. This is a beautifully written young adult novel, so compelling and realistically drawn that the reader will not be able to put it down. Black-and-white illustrations add wonderfully to the dark fantasy world. A sequel, Deeps, is scheduled to be out in 2009. Wow! Reviewer: Judy Crowder
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

Meet fourteen-year-old Will Burrows, who certainly lives up to his name. He loves to burrow underground, digging tunnels on archaeological expeditions beneath London with his museum curator father. When his father mysteriously disappears, Will sets out to find him, accompanied by Chester, his only friend from school. Their expedition underground leads to the discovery of a subterranean society, capture by the merciless Styx who control this underground world, painful interrogations, and the threat of banishment to the Deeps. But then, much to his surprise, Will is released to the "family" from which his real mother escaped, taking a very young Will topside with her. This father hates Will, but his younger brother worships him and wants to escape to the surface with him-one of Will's priorities. His other goals are finding his missing father, rescuing Chester, and surviving, especially after he discovers the identity of his real enemy. The nonstop action involves archaeological digs, tunnel exploration, sibling rivalry, missing parents, finding out who one really is, and so much more. Major characters are murdered, and evil appears to be in the ascendant, at least at the end of this book, which, in true cliffhanger style, is really just the beginning. This incredible debut fantasy is written by two authors who first met at college in London, have remained friends, and are now collaborating on a fantasy series that will have quest fans eagerly waiting for the next installment, Deeps, due out in 2009. Reviewer: Bonnie Kunzel
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

School Library Journal

Gr 5-9- Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams' fantasy (Chicken House, 2007) is an exciting story about two 14-year-old boys, Will and Chester, who discover, while digging a tunnel, a strange and dangerous civilization underneath modern London. Will's father, Dr. Burrows, has recently disappeared, and the boy has reason to believe that his dad may have discovered the entrance to this underground city and is being held captive there. The two boys set out to find him and are soon captured by the Styx, a barbaric class of scythe toting soldiers. After undergoing interrogation by the Styx, Will is sent to live in "The Colony" where he learns that the Burrows are not his real family and that his mother escaped from this underground prison with him shortly after he was born. Chester, however, doesn't fare so well. He is doomed to be banished to the deepest, darkest part of this terrifying world. Driven by guilt over Chester's fate, Will vows to rescue him. Narrator Steven Crossley's performance is brilliant. His seamless transition between the characters' voices and his dramatic presentation bring the story to life. Perfect for classroom discussions about despotic governments or issues of trust and loyalty, listeners will eagerly await the sequel to this unresolved tale. For public and middle school libraries with fantasy audiobook collections.-Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS

Kirkus Reviews
Will finds his way into a frightening underground world in this fantasy adventure. Will's family may be dysfunctional, but he and his father are drawn together by their shared love of tunnels. Father and son dig not-quite-legal tunnels around London, unearthing Victorian jars, Codswallop bottles, 18th-century nails and other detritus of the city's history. When Will's father vanishes, Will and new friend Chester follow his trail into an underground city, the Colony. Will's fascination quickly gives way to dread, as the boys discover the Colony is peopled by xenophobic zealots and policed by the Styx, cruel magical despots. Will is determined to rescue Chester, and his quest leads him up against gruesome cruelties and startling betrayals. Dense but exciting. (Fantasy. 10-12)First printing of 75,000

Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Tunnels Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Tunnels 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 180 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing because it really allowed me to use my imagination. The storyline is so unique and thrilling. Once I started this book I could not stop. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to read a unique, exciting and unbelievable story!
WyluliWolf More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The story was unique and interesting. The characters are interesting. I highly recommend it and the sequel Deeper. Read it!
Patton-Athenae More than 1 year ago
This story really brought something new to the table. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was just too old to be reading this book. I love good fiction with a passion...and this wasn't too bad in terms of story and content. It just had a very juvenile approach that I never experienced from other books like Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia. And that's not to say that "Tunnels" is comparable to those books...because it's not. It is a very different novel and I can't place what it is that makes it different other than that it is just very conservative. The authors never push any boundaries...every instance of danger is just not dangerous enough, every instance of creepiness is just not creepy enough. It was all very "PG" and I think it would have been better off as a "PG-13" story. In terms of the book itself, I think it had a killer hook. The problem is, the hook doesn't pull you in until a few chapters in. Which is basically the major flaw the book had in my opinion: it was a great concept but it took too long to cut to the chase whenever a major event was going to take place. While reading this book, I got to a really dull section and I ended up putting the book down for a few months until I could get interested in it again. I've never actually had to do that with a book that I was reading for fun, but something brought me back to it and I'm really glad I read it through to the end. The only other problem I had with the book is that the main character never really acted his age. I always found myself wondering, "how old is this kid again?" The characters in general were well described but not well established as people. Overall I think that this is a GOOD book for someone in Junior High School. I also think that this entire book is really only HALF of a story that takes too long to play out. The ending is great and somewhat shocking but was not worthy of being the end to a story like this. It seems as if the authors specifically wrote this book so that it would have a sequel and I didn't appreciate that. Worth the read but definitely not for young adult.
Styx249 More than 1 year ago
This wonderful opening to a best selling series may just be the next Harry Potter. This action packed novel by Brian Williams and Roderick Gordon is a novel that has great characters( my favorites are Bartleby and Rebecca), an amazingly detailed plot, and is great for teens. I would probly recommend this book for ages 12-18. You wont be dissapointed with this series opener! P.S. Cant wait for Closer(Book 4)!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
An outstanding fresh novel with vivid descriptions and wonderful characters.At first, it´s a bit childish but then, as it develops, it gets darker and better. I loved it, and the ending is so good I can barely wait to read the second part. There are several novels that have achieved undeserved fame, I think, like Twilight, but this one definitely deserves it. Fabulous. One of my favorite books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever. Really long though so if just looking for a short read dont buy it. But other then that, amazing
mary5567 More than 1 year ago
Well I just finished the book last night. What a crazy story this Will ha. I think the book is fun for ages 8 and up, not hard reading, very descriptive, but kind of boring till you get to page 100 and up. Then your in for a reading ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really awesome but the rest in the series are WAY better. And yeah,the stories are a bit gory but there still great. How can some of you guys say that it sucked! It was awesome! I just finished Spiral. Oh great, now my Mum is yelling at me to get some sleep because 'its really late' or whatever. Bye fellow readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It takes a while for it to get exciting. That is the good part though. It makes you want to know what will happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read Tunnels as a project in school. At first i wasn't happy bcuz of the size. After I read Tunnels i was sooooooo glad we had to read it as an asignment. I STRONGLY recomend this book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to read Deeper.I just finished Tunnels.Wish I would have came across this series earlier
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tunnels was a great book! So was Deeper the second!,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading the hard copy and am hooked i love it soooo much thanks for such a great book roderick gordan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great mystery of finding his father, although a strange book, in a good way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though I am not in this books reading age range, I find the book a quite interesting and fun read. This book allowed me to use my imagination and the shift of scenes and pace of the book was fantastic. I like how the beginning introduces the characters first and then delves into action/adventure later on. This book had me eagerly reading, turning page by page, to know what would happen next. I would stay up at night just to read this book. Even though there are words that are unknown/not familiar, taking the time to write down the words on a sticky note pad along with pg #'s and then search it up later is really helpful and also, looking up images describing the tunnels. I was able to understand the story a lot better. It was an adventurous and thrilling read. I am looking forward to reading the whole series! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in class it's a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book doesn't exactly start with a bang but it is defenantly worth waiting. It is defenantly on my favorites list.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 11 year old daughter handed me this book the moment she finished it. Now I'm hooked as well! We are in the third of the series and are looking forward to the 4th.Well written with twists, turns and surprises with each page! I've really enjoyed reading this - and subsequent - books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This, so far has been the best book I have ever read. I still truly can't believe that it was written of bordom.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and fun! This book makes me wonder about the underground world! A lot of adventure and action that will make you read it every single day until you finish it! Exciting for all ages!
Tyler Johnson More than 1 year ago
The beggining is boring but its great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My parents got mad at me for staying up too late on school nights reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great for kids looking for something to fill the void left by the conclusion of the Harry Potter series. However, Tunnels is more Science Fiction than Fantasy- so, no magic, dragons, or castles to be found. Will Burrows is an interesting character who will appeal to kids. There were parts that were a little scary, so I would recommend this for children ages 10 and up. Overall, a great read and leaves you waiting for the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this adventerous novel written by Roderick Gordon is an upbeat read for anybody ranging from 5th grade to 9th grade. If you are someone reading this book it could change your life, just like if you read, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Throughout this book the reader will go through many interesting and weird adventures. So, the book starts out like this, Will, the main character, is with his father, Dr. Burrows, and they are having there “Father-Son” time at their new excavation site they found and there digging and setting up all the necessary things that you would need to do what they do. Later on Will finds that he has a problem with his excavation site that he needs to fix the problem he has or his site could be gone forever. Throughout the book the characters keep digging and finding new things along the way. This book, Tunnels, could have many different dystopian themes but the one that stick out the most is equality. These people in the book are forced to live underground and they can't try to go back up to the surface.  The characters in this book have some depth. Will, the main character, is interesting. He loves to dig, just like his father, but when he has his own dig site he wouldn't let anybody help him with it until he found a new friend that he trust and that's very rare. Dr. Burrows on the other hand wants people to help him all the time except for his own personal work. So, I guess you could say that are alike in some ways, but in others they're different. Will's sister is pretty interesting too. She is like the housekeeper around their house. She does all the laundry, the dishes, she makes dinner every night, and makes sure that the house is nice and tidy. Will's mom, Mrs. Burrows is kind of weird. She loves to watch movies and TV shows, especially her soap operas, she loves them and can watch them 24/7.  Like I said before the book "Tunnels" has many different dystopian themes. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it if  your looking for a fantastic and highly interesting book