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on 14 May 2005
I bought this book for my teenage son but decided to read it for myself. I am so glad I did. It is an excellent read which will appeal to adults and older children alike. It has lots of unexpected twists in the plot which add to the excitement. I found it a gripping read VERY WELL written and the excellent illustrations brought the story to life for me. I too can see this book being made into a film in the future and very much look forward to the next book in the series. A Highly Recommended absorbing read.
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on 18 March 2005
Aargh! where is the next volume? Great read and really gets you thinking about what is under your feet. I'll never again be able to walk around London to look at a boarded up entrance without wondering what mystery could be behind and below it. The book develops really well and carries you along at a cracking pace which only makes the end come upon you quickly and infuriatingly. There is plenty of room for the story to develop and I am sure the film industry will be keen to get hold of this. The illustrations really reflect the mysteries of this under-earth world and get your imagination going. I really look forward to the next 2 volumes.
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on 1 May 2005
I would say unreservedly that this book is destined to be a classic. It's one of those rare reads that you genuinely can't put down. The suspense builds and builds, the pace accelerating to the point that when you are forced to close the covers, the story stays with you, buzzing in your head and nagging at you to open them again. And the twists and turns in the plot hit you with all the force of shovel, square in the middle of your back. You won't see them coming. It's both a gripping adventure for young teenagers, and for adults who will fully appreciate the immense depth of thought and imagination that has gone into the book. It would translate with very little effort to the big screen but that's not my main concern - I just want the next book!
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on 10 September 2007
I asked one of my sons (now 21, just graduated with a double major in math/English) and a major reader of sci-fi/fantasy since childhood to read and review Tunnels.

Despite all the hype about The Highfield Mole, I thought that it was a really good, well-written book, and I was interested to see if he would share my opinion. Here is his review, should you be trying to decide if Tunnels is a `keeper' or not:


The idea of a "hidden world" lurking just beneath the surface of the ordinary isn't a new one - at a minimum, this basic premise for a juvenile novel stretches back to the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Likewise, an underground civilization isn't a particularly new idea. However (especially in a book aimed at young readers) the premise isn't nearly as important as the execution, and in Tunnels (AKA The Highfield Mole), Gordon and Williams provide a fascinating and engaging new take on the idea.

In contrast to many of the more "fanciful" fantasy books being published, Tunnels seems very down to earth. The world might be subtly different from ours, but the characters never feel divorced from reality, and the fantasy world always feels more like an alternative to London than an escape. The book really does seem scary at times because the world it describes never quite seems incompatible with our own, and the core of that feeling comes from the realism found in the characters.

Tunnels also contains a level of depth (if you'll excuse the pun) not often found in children's literature. Although the plot revolves around a fictional world, the thematic center of the book isn't the tunnels, but rather serious questions about the meaning of family. The underground setting certainly has its merits, and is interesting, but Gordon and Williams never let glowing orbs and eyeless rats steal the show from the well-developed characters and their relationships.

In conclusion, Tunnels doesn't break any new ground, but it builds very well on an established subgenre. The world is well constructed and detailed, but most importantly the characters and their problems, feelings, and connections feel real. If you're tired of children's fantasy books where the characters feel like an afterthought added on to explore a setting, Tunnels is a perfect book to read.
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on 14 April 2005
An exciting journey through the world beneath our feet. Pace steps up as the adventurers spiral deeper into the underground world. A spell-binding read for adults and children alike.
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on 1 July 2007
I have just reviewed Tunnels (formely self-published as The Highfield Mole) and this is what I think:

TUNNELS - Exhilarating, spine-tingling journey to a hidden and menacing world deep beneath the streets of London. Will Burrows and his Father share a love of digging but when his Father disappears down a tunnel and doesn't come back - Will sets out on an amazing journey. Quite simply THE BEST children's fiction I have ever read.

Adults and children of all ages will warm to the loyalty, compassion and determination shown by the central character, 14 year old Will Burrows. The story follows Will's great friendship with Chester and the adversities they face together from school bullies, Will's unconventional family and the chilling world they uncover when digging below the surface. I may be in my 30s but I read nothing but children's fiction and I get a buzz from buying my god-daughters a book, that will stir their imagination and inspire and enthuse a love of reading. Tunnels is one of those very few books that can do that.

So why does Will look different from the rest of his family? Why are there strange people following him? Why does he spend every waking moment planning to dig deeper and deeper tunnels and where does he end up? What will he find when he gets there - and WHO? Not something you can guess, so get reading TUNNELS!!

Good luck to these talented author's, I can't wait for the sequel and the one after that.
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Few books that I have read were as compelling and addictive as this one, and with 3 more published in the series and a 5th on the way, it will provide many more hours of entertainment. This book was hard to put down. I just kept saying to myself as reading, one more section, one more chapter, and yet kept reading when I should have put it down. I had to stop reading it at work because I would not want my break or lunch to end. The story is fast paced, the plot twists uncanny, the characters incredibly interesting and the concept chilling.

Will Burrows (pun intended I am sure) is obsessed with archaeological digs, a passion his father has encouraged. His father is the curator at the local museum and dreams of finding something to put his academic career back on track. But they dig in secret, hiding their tunnels and their finds. Will works on projects for his father but also has his own side digs in areas of interest for himself. And in some ways he feels more at home underground than above. But when his father goes missing, and Will discovers a mysterious tunnel and journal, he and his friend Chester go digging, looking for Dr. Burrows. What they find will surprise them and just might cost them their lives.

The greatest strength of the story is the uniqueness of the story line. The plot is so enticing. Discovering an underground world and civilization is not a new plot, but how this one came about, and its interactions with topsiders, is unique and fascinating. Overall it was an excellent read and I cannot wait to read more books in the series. (Note this book was originally published as The Highfield Mole.)
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on 6 August 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is being compared to Tunnels which was being hailed as the next Harry Potter etc. However if you are looking for a new fictional companion and also happen to like football, time travel and mysterious intrigue then you'll just love Larry Dilworth and the Legends of Football.

According to the author who was interviewed on Radio London Sunday Sports Show, there are three books planned, the first dealing with the 50's and 60's, the second with the 70's and 80's and the third with the 90's and 00's (in about 4 years time)

Jimmy Hill describes it as a 'Skilfully blended mixture of football fact and fiction' whilst Cliff Jones formerly of Spurs and Wales say's 'I thoroughly recommend this refreshingly different and informative soccer book' There are also fifty fantastic full colour illustrations of all the greats from all the top teams of the time.
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on 28 June 2007
Any book that takes nearly 200 pages before the hero breaks through to the world underneath London is paced too slowly for me. An underground world is an intriguing idea, but the characters aren't compelling enough for me to wait for the reveal and the kids get tortured as soon as they arrive there. Harry Potter still rules. Next?
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on 20 July 2008
I'm afraid this book isn't the next Harry Potter. It's unexciting, overhyped and I fell asleep trying to read the first twenty pages.
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