Review: The Tunnels Below

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations


Book Title: The Tunnels Below (pre-order here)

Author: Nadine Wild- Palmer

Publisher: Pushkin

Publication Date: April 2019

Most Suitable For: Year 6+

Reviewed By: Louise Buisson, Primary English Leader


The Tunnels Below recounts the exciting tale of Cecilia, whose twelfth birthday turns out to be far more adventurous than she had ever dreamt it would be.


After having received her birthday gifts, Cecilia sets off with her family for a day out in her home city of London. As they exit the underground train, she realises that she has left her sister’s present to her, an abnormally large and beautiful marble, in the train carriage. As Cecilia darts back on to the empty train to retrieve the gift, the doors close and she is swept away from her family deep into the dark tunnels of the underground. The train does not stop for a long time but when it does the terrified girl finds herself stepping out onto an unfamiliar, pitch-black platform and is swiftly abandoned by the train which had transported her there.


With curiosity over-coming her fear, Cecilia feels her way along the platform and, seeing a faint light in the distance, eventually finds another living being. Rather than the London Underground worker she expected though, she finds herself face to snout with a fox-headed human-bodied being. The kindly creature takes Cecilia in and, believing that she is a tunnel dweller who has lost her memory, introduces her to the world below-ground where animal-headed beings of all species live together in a fascinating society where music can be tasted and buttons are used as currency.


This society is not a happy one though, it is ruled over by the intimidating Corvus Community, a group of bird-headed tyrants led by the domineering Jaques D’Or, who seem determined to make the citizens as miserable as possible. Cecilia’s adventure takes a dangerous turn when her friend is taken by the Corvus Community and she must forge new alliances whilst navigating this unfamiliar world.


Will she be able to carry out the rescue? Can she do anything to help the tunnel dwellers escape the oppression of the Corvus Community? Why is everyone so interested in her marble? And, will she ever be able to return to her own family above ground?


In this captivating story there are both strong female and male characters and the themes of diversity, friendship and loyalty are explored.


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You can order Tunnels Below online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Louise for reviewing it.

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