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Tunnels is a young adult series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. There are four books in the series out so far. Rights for a movie have been sold, and a manga based on the series has been released in Japan.
Will Burrows is a fourteen-year-old boy whose major passion is digging. He often helps his archaeologist father perform excavations in the rural British town of Highfield. However, he gets more than he bargained for when his father's latest investigation leads to the discovery of an underground civilization called the Colony. The Colony has long existed hidden from the "Topsoilers" on the surface. However, the tyrannical Styx ruling class of the Colony has come up with a plan to commit genocide on the Topsoilers and reclaim the surface for themselves. Because Adults Are Useless, it is up to Will and various friends of his to stop the Styx, a quest that takes them ever deeper into bowels of the Earth.
- Tunnels (2007). Originally published as The Highfield Mole in 2005. But the earlier edition was self-published and few copies were actually sold.
- Deeper (2008).
- Freefall (2009).
- Closer (2010).
- Spiral (2012?).
- Untitled Final Book
This series includes examples of:
- Action Girl: Elliott
- Adults Are Useless: Slightly averted when Drake, Celia Burrows and Jeff Rawls join the crew. Aside from that, it is safe to say that Drake is not useless.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Dr. Burrows thinks of himself this way
- Anyone Can Die: No one is safe.
- Badass Normal: Well over half the human cast
- Beneath the Earth: The setting
- Big Bad Friend: The Rebeccas
- Carrying the Antidote: And the Idiot Ball, it seems...
- Cave Mouth: The entrance to the Colony rests below an enormous stone skull.
- Changeling Fantasy: Will, though his biological parents actually don't end up being much better at all
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dr. Burrows is a bit... eccentric, to put it kindly
- Crazy Cat Lady: Mrs. Tantrumi
- Creepy Child: The Rebeccas
- Creepy Twins: The Rebeccas
- Defector From Decadence: Eddie
- Delinquents: Speed and his gang
- Disney Death: In Deeper, Cal is thought dead after his encounter with the Sweet Trap, but gets better... only to be Killed Off for Real at the end.
- Drill Tank: Used by the Coprolites for mining
- Egopolis: Dr. Burrows has a somewhat alarming tendency to name things after himself
Dr. Burrows: "The Garden of the Second Sun... I shall call it Roger Burrows Land!"
- Enfante Terrible: The Rebeccas
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Will and crew encounter some "living fossils", including pterosaurs
- Eyepatch of Power: Drake's orange lens that allows him to see in the dark. While he doesn't always wear it, he has it on most of the time when he has the boys under his wing, and it is seen to be one of the things that makes him so impressive.
- Face Heel Turn: Eddie. Just when you think that he and Drake are going to overthrow the Styx, he goes and activates the Darklight programming he's put on Drake, leaves him to die in the explosion, and clears out his flat.
- Fair Weather Mentor: When Drake and Elliott find themselves thrown in with Will, Chester and Cal, do they stop to let the boys catch up? Of course not.
- That is, until Drake teaches them how to shoot and fend for themselves. But Elliott is pretty cold to them to begin with, and then after Drake's "death".
- Foil: Chester and Cal, Will and Elliott, Chester and Elliott, Eddie and Drake, in some perspectives, and even Will and Chester, in a fair few situations. Heck, at some points, it can even seem like everyone to anyone.
- The Fool: Dr. Burrows. While everyone else is fighting for their lives, he wanders in and out of lethal danger without even noticing, being far more interested in trying to decipher the odd hieroglyphic than, say, the numerous predators stalking him or his shortage of food and water.
- Foreign Queasine: The food in the Colony. Eyeless rat is consider a delicacy, and there are far more insect-based dishes than Will is comfortable with.
- Fungus Humongous: The fungus growing in the Pore
- Hands-Off Parenting: Will's mother is glued to the television 24-7, while his father cares more about archaeology than his family.
- Healing Factor: Styx heal twice as fast as ordinary humans
- Hell Hound: The Stalkers
- Heroic Albino: Will and Cal. Albinism is highly valued in the Colony, as it indicates direct descent from the albino Founders.
- Hollow World
- I'm a Humanitarian: Martha
- Ideal Hero: Stealing the limelight from Will, Drake could be viewed as this, although he is slightly hot-headed.
- The Immune: Elliott, after drinking the Dominion vaccine
- Ironic Echo Cut: Done several times in Freefall
Elliott: "We never leave our own behind. [..] He'd do the same for us."
Chester: "Yes, he would. Good old Will."
Will: "Get a move on, or I'll leave you behind!"
- Les Collaborateurs: The Styx have agents everywhere. There are even Topsoilers who collaborate with the Colony.
- Man-Eating Plant: The Sweet Traps
- The Masquerade: The Colony will go to any lengths to keep its existence secret. They have collaborators on the surface, and anyone who stumbles on something they shouldn't or starts asking inconvenient questions gets disappeared.
- Mind Probe: The Dark Light
- No Name Given: Drake, and arguably Eddie as well.
- The latter does have an excuse, though, given that he is a Styx and therefore no Topsoiler would be able to pronounce his name.
- Speculations that Drake's alias "Mr Smith" holds some credence to his real name, but as Parry deliberately points our attention to the fact that Drake is not his real name, he is obviously not Drake Smith.
- This troper, for one, is desperately hoping that if Drake's real name is ever revealed, it won't be something hopelessly boring like John Smith (assuming Smith is his real name).
- The Obi-Wan: Uncle Tam
- The Plague: Dominion, a strain of influenza engineered by the Styx to eradicate life on the surface
- Plant Person: The natives of the Garden of the Second Sun
- Psychic Static: "I pray that I might not let those about me spoil my peace of mind."
- Religion of Evil: The Book Of Catastrophes
- The Reveal: Eddie being the next Big Bad
- Single-Minded Twins: The Rebeccas
- Sinister Scythe: The weapon of choice for the Styx
- Straight Man: Eddie, somewhat.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Drake and Elliott both carry a lot of explosives
- Stupid Neutral: The Coprolites appear to possess no survival instinct, and will passively let the Styx line them up and execute them without resistance.
- The Unmasqued World: The Book of Catastrophes fortells this, calling it the Discovery and warning that the Topsoilers will destroy the Colony unless the Colonists destroy them first
- Trigger Phrase: Used by the Styx. Sensibly, the phrases are in the Styx language, so they can't be triggered accidentally.
- Twin Switch: Done regularly by the Rebeccas
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Standard Styx procedure towards anyone who helps them
- You Shall Not Pass: Uncle Tam's death