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The Dark Ground - 'The Lost' Book 1 [Paperback]

Gillian Cross
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 July 2007 0192727184 978-0192727183 Reissue
A flight back from holiday. An explosion on the plane. Robert wakes up, alone in the jungle, with neither food nor shelter. Unfamiliar creatures are roaming about - and he can't get rid of the feeling that someone, or something, is watching him.

This is the story of Robert's struggle for survival - from his realization of what has happened to him and where he is, to his perilous journey homeward.

An incredible adventure story full of suspense and surprise.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Dark Ground - 'The Lost' Book 1 + The Black Room - 'The Lost' Book 2 + The Nightmare Game - 'The Lost' Book 3
Price For All Three: 19.69

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reissue edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192727184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192727183
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 396,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gillian Cross has been writing children's books for over thirty years. Before that, she took English degrees at Oxford and Sussex Universities, and she has had various jobs including working in a village bakery and being an assistant to a Member of Parliament. She is married with four children and lives in Dorset. Her hobbies include orienteering and playing the piano. She won the Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the Smarties Prize and the Whitbread Children's Novel Award for The Great Elephant Chase.

Product Description


Sinister but 100% compulsive (Mizz magazine)

. . . terrific . . . (The Telegraph)

. . . a wonderfully plotted thriller . . . (The Observer)

Reeks of originality, imagination and sheer brilliance . . . a riveting masterpiece (Independent on Sunday)

hard to put down for longer than two minutes (George (12))

Book Description

Astonishing, original story --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Mr. Pullman? 23 May 2004
By A Customer
This is one of those books that you will want to read in one sitting, and leave you eager to read the second part to this trilogy straight away. Although aimed at eleven year olds, I'm sure that there will be plenty of adults who will enjoy this book too. If you have not read it yet, I am not going to spoil the story. As you would expect with the multi-award winning Ms. Cross, The Dark Ground is superbly written. In fact, I believe that she has now transcended to that higher plane of pure genius occupied by the likes of Philip Pullman. My only gripe - which is a pity - is the awful hologram on the front of the dustcover. However, I'm not going to let this triviality detract from the fact that this book is worthy of the full five stars. An award winning novel? I'll go out and buy a hat to eat if it isn't!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing 30 Sep 2012
This is a gripping tale that turns the familiar on its head. The book's cover doesn't tell the reader much about the story inside, as one of the book's strengths is the revelation of what is happening to Robert, the boy who is lost. I didn't read this book for a long time beacause I thought I knew where it was going - boy on plane, boy lost in jungle. This story is a 100 times better than that, filled with interesting and believable characters and keeps on intriguing, even after the reader works out what is happening. The story has stayed with me after finishing it - I keep imagining myself in Robert's situation. I think this is a great read for people of all ages - it's thought provoking and a fast paced adventure all rolled into one. Enjoy!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is such an unusual adventure/fantasy story, it is gripping right from the start and you will not want to put it down until you have finished. Although it gradually dawned on me what had happened to Robert, it was still so surprising and written with such imagination, that I couldnt wait to read book 2 in this trilogy 'The Black Room' to find out what happened next.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Size Does Matter! 8 July 2005
By Shanshad - Published on
Robert Doherty has been whisked out of his comfortable modern world and thrown into a dark and vicious wilderness where he must find a way to survive. In veteran author Gillian Cross's newest book, she proves again why she is one of the most popular children's authors in Britain. With deft storytelling and an atmospheric writing style, she takes a familiar plot element and transforms it into something new again. While Ms. Cross is not yet as well known in the US, I am hoping The Dark Ground can begin to change that.

What readers will encounter here is a mix between a fantasy and a survivor story. Robert is a teen traveling with his family by plane when something happens to him that he can't comprehend or quite remember-and he finds himself cold and naked in a dark and forbidding forest. What happened and how aren't quite as important as staying alive-and it's only when he discovers other people living in this strange forest that he begins to consider how to get back home. But getting back home won't be so easy-because Robert's home is both closer than he dreamed and farther away than he could have imagined. It's going to take all his strength and bravery, along with the help of his newfound friends to undertake the expedition. The fantasy element of the book is not inherently magical. Beyond the situation Robert finds himself in, there is no magic or magical way out of his predicament. The characters are left to figure their own way out.

Ms. Cross writes a riveting book, full of action, emotion and imagery that roars into the mind and sweeps the reader up into the experiences of the characters. But Ms. Cross does not write an easy book-this is not a tale of whimsy and Harry Potter-esque characters. Every individual is realistic, complex, sometimes unlikable and ultimately human. The world Robert faces is unforgiving and yet remarkable-and death comes all too easily. Ms. Cross doesn't give readers easy answers or a pat ending, nor does she tease readers by making them wait for the second volume in the trilogy to have some kind of closure to this first adventure. This book is best for children who are ready to deal with some of the tougher issues of adventure, and can handle endings that are thought provoking if not a hundred percent "happy". While still a young teen title, I do think both young adults and adults can enjoy this story as well. Ms. Cross never talks down to her audience, but offers universal perspectives and emotions that almost any individual can relate to.

Those who have read and enjoyed this book and want more survivor style fiction should check out Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell and Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Likewise, those who are fans of Science Fiction may want to look for titles such as The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau or Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. The Dark Ground is only the first in this trilogy, I can only hope the other two books can live up to the promise of this first one.

Happy Reading! Shanshad ^_^
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the past 31 Oct 2005
A Kid's Review - Published on
This is a book /thriller that always kept me on my seat the whole book. The perfect description of background and character. The description was so good I could picture it all in my mind! Read it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spoilers aplenty! Spoilers galore! So many spoilers you're bound to be sore! 18 July 2005
By E. R. Bird - Published on
First of all, I want to say that due to the way "The Dark Ground" was written, it's almost impossible to write a review of it without giving away those major mysterious plot points that are slowly revealed by the author throughout the reading of the text. Therefore, I must be a good little reviewer and warn you right here and now that my review contains many many spoilers about this book. If you want to read this wonderfully mysterious and atmospheric tale with any sense of wonder, stop reading this review once this paragraph ends. I'll sum up the important information right here for your convenience: This is a fun first book in a series. It's fast-paced, full of action, and a bit gory for younger kids. You'll enjoy finding out what happens to its hero and the ending leaves you wanting more. There! Now go away unless you want to be completely clued into some of the deeper innerworkings of this marvelous British import.

It's just your typical airplane ride. One minute Robert's in the bathroom of a plane, looking in the mirror, and seeing a tiny man in the black part of his iris. The next, he's naked and alone in a huge forest with no sense of where he is and no one he knows near him. Using his wits Robert must fend for himself, finding food, makeshift clothing, and a shelter of some sort. As he grows better acquainted with his surroundings, the boy realizes that there are other people living near him and he must do everything he can to get their attention and find out what exactly has happened to him.

In many ways this book is just a slightly more fantastical version of Gary Paulsen's, "Hatchet". The sense of survival against a cruel world (not to mention the gigantic hungry creatures within it) and sense of one man against the universe is prevalent throughout the text. What really pulls the story together though is Cross's ability to convey the horrific and the impossible in a believable way. Robert realizes what's happened to him only after confronting the facts and realizing that, however impossible they may seem, they must be true. You see, Robert has been shrunken. He's tiny. So are the other people he meets. So when he sets off for his old home to recover his old life, the trek is long and arduous. The book's like "The Borrowers" but much darker. What's really amazing about Cross's writing is that she manages to make an essentially silly idea (boy-gets-shrunk) into something frightening and disturbing.

Of course there are some problems. For one thing, Cross is a great writer but she is simply awful at humor. There's really not a single funny line or lighthearted jab anywhere to be found in this tome. Robert's in a serious situation and it remains serious continually. This can be a bit wearying after 200 pages or so. There's also a lot of howling, pain, and people confronting big ideas and not being able to reconcile themselves to them. These characters are constantly shying away from painful thoughts. It gets more than a little repetitive over time. Also, though the other people don't save Robert right off the bat because they want him to prove himself, he never blames them for it. Never even mentions it to them (though he's almost killed several times as a result). Seems odd. Finally, none of the characters ever wear shoes... or seem to want to. Huh?

In any case, this is still a wonderful story that's written well but could have stood a little comic relief and less howls of agony. Definitely a title for older readers who aren't afraid of a little vomit, bloodshed, death, and despair. The feel good book of the year it's not. But it's a well told story and an entrancing one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the characters 20 Jun 2013
By D. Coonfare - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my daughter because I had read it a while back and loved it. You really get drawn into the lives of the characters. We read it together for the first few chapters because it's overly laden with description and can be a bit laborious to get through. Once she was hooked I let her at it and she too loved it. I disagree with it's AR level of 5.3 as it has a lot of elevated vocabulary and varied sentence structures. It's not an easy read for a 5th grader.
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrified 8 Jun 2012
By SoccerKnight - Published on
This is one of the few books I have read that really frightened me. Seriously, I was crouched in the corner of my room for a little while after I finished this book, trying to convince myself it wasn't real. Because, really, after reading it I was half-convinced it could be.
I'm not even going to follow my normal review format with this one. The Dark Ground is intense, horrifying, and sickening. It will scare you, no doubt. There's not an overly large amount of blood and gore, but the psychological damage is greater than any bodily damage. Except death, which shows up a lot.
I forced myself to finish this book, even though I almost didn't want to. It would have driven me crazy not to know what happened to the characters...but it was almost worse finding out what did happen.
All in all, excellent. It lost a star because it terrified me. But if you like a scare, enjoy...
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