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Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows lives in the suburbs of London, or at least he did up until a few months ago. That’s when his archaeologist father suddenly disappears. When the police fail to turn up any clues, Will takes it upon himself to search for his father. With the help of his best pal, Chester, they discover a hidden tunnel behind a bookcase in the basement. Positive that this is where his father went, Will and Chester delve into the tunnel as well, unaware of the adventure --- and horrors --- they are about to experience.

Will and Chester discover an underground city called the Colony, ruled by the harsh and unrelenting Styx. They also learn another surprising fact: Will actually comes from the Colony. His mother, Sarah, took him and escaped to the surface when Will was a baby, and so the Burrows are actually his foster family. After years apart and not even knowing he existed, Will reunites with his younger brother, Cal. Another shocker is the fact that his foster sister, Rebecca, is a Styx and was spying on him all these years.

Will and Chester don’t mix well with the Colony, and after suffering imprisonment, they, along with Cal, are banished to the Deeps. The Deeps is even farther underground, a wild and desolate place where the slaves, called Coprolites, mine for supplies. Will is positive that Dr. Burrows is wandering around in the Deeps somewhere and is determined to find him. But locating his father takes a backseat when all of their attention must focus on mere survival.

The Styx, and more specifically Rebecca, want Will back. An army is staked out to hunt him down, dead or alive. However, bands of Renegades live in the Deeps, fighting against the evil of the Styx. Two of the Renegades --- war veteran Drake and his young female protégé, Elliott --- take Will, Cal and Chester under their wings, teaching them how to find food and fight the Styx. And there’s another person hunting Will. Sarah, Will’s birth mother, has been on the surface, keeping out of the hands of the Styx for years, but is finally captured. The Styx tell her that Will has killed her brother. She is determined to find Will and extract the truth. While all of this is going on, the Styx are developing a super virus and intend to release it on the surface to wipe out the Topsoilers. Will and company have quite the task ahead of them: their own survival and that of every human on the surface of the planet.

Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams have created an amazing world of adventure, danger and the fight for survival. The story jump-starts right away into action of unexpected magnitude; there’s no way to predict the astonishing twists and surprises hiding around every darkened corner. The authors cleverly present differing points of view of the mind-boggling Deeps --- from the absent-minded archaeologist, the war-toughened Renegades, the long-lost Colonist, and the open-minded and adventurous hero. They also delve into the theme of differing classes of people --- the ruling Styx, the rebel Renegades, the lowly slaves, the naïve outsiders and the banished outcasts --- and write with vividly colorful descriptions, bringing the Deeps alive and kicking.

As an added bonus, the adventure doesn’t end with DEEPER; a third book in the series is on the way, titled FREEFALL.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on March 1, 2009

by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2010
  • Genres: Adventure
  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0545096367
  • ISBN-13: 9780545096362