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In this third tumble into Moose Jaws 1920s tunnels, 15-year-old Andrea Talbot and her 10-year-old diabetic, insulin popping brother, Tony, accidentally bring along their Chinese friends, 14-year-old twins, Eddie and Kami Mark.
From the foursomes first landing everything goes crazy, and the action-oriented tension begins to build. The Marks get separated from the Talbots and from each other. As the confused twins wander the tunnels theyre individually caught by Mean Eyed Max, Stilts and Chubbs, gangsters and racists the Talbots clashed with in their two previous time trips. The caputred twins are called Coolies; while being held, they learn about Head taxes, discrimination and subsistence wages, and discover how Chinese immigrants were smuggled into western Canada as indentured slaves. Theyre forced to work as labourers-Kami in a laundry sweat shop and Eddie in a fruit-packing warehouse. Both endure conditions and cruelties identical to those suffered by 1920s Chinese in Canada.
As the Talbots unite to rescue their friends, they link up again with the younger versions of their family members-grandfather Vance, great aunt Bea and eventually their grandmother, Sarah. The Marks grandparents come into the picture as well and so do several locals, including Officer Paterson, Vances step-dad. With everybodys help, Andrea and Tony solve the mysteries of the tunnels exits, secret entrances and hideaways. They free the immigrant workers, uncover a cache of opium and round up the bad guys. Then the happy foursome head home to a family gathering with both sets of grandparents and so many wonderful memories to share.
The books a dramatic, enticing, stand-alone adventure with enough well-placed references to the earlier trips to get a reader interested in reading them too. Its also an instructional, non-preachy introduction to, and airing of, a less than noble era in the treatment of the Chinese in Canada.
M. Wayne Cunningham (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada
Mary Harelkin Bishop's "Tunnels of Moose Jaw Adventure Series", which includes Tunnels of Time (1-55050-164-X) Tunnels of Terror (1-55050-193-3) and Tunnels of Treachery (1-55050-270-0), has sold over 50,000 copies, and continues to enthrall young readers in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Titles have been finalists for the Saskatchewan Children's Literature Award, and in the young readers' choice awards in Saskatchewan and Alberta.