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5 Stars Out Of 5
Great for boys...sure to be enjoyed by everyone!
June 21, 2013
When Jeremiah (Jem) Coulter learns that the Midas gold mine has been played out (aka: no more gold!), he's afraid Goldtown will become another ghost town. But the angry miners may not leave much for even the ghosts, if they continue to riot. Jem learns the hard wayâ€”with a rock zinged at his headâ€”that these miners and the mine owners are at odds. With no gold, there's no pay. Who's going to keep the peace? Why, Jem's pa, the sheriff, of course. A dangerous job, but one that's a great fit for Jem's strong, steady father.
The Sterling family, that owns the Midas mine, is scrambling to open a new mine so the town can get back to work. Young Will Sterling also happens to be Jem's nemesis. The two mix about as well as oil and water.
The Sterlings have found the perfect spot to begin blasting a new mine, but there's a hitch: all mines need an air shaft. This new mine's airway would cut right through the old Belle mine that's been shut down for years. Seems like a simple solution except a played out mine is not a collection of deserted tunnels. Chinese immigrants have moved in to scavenge what they can of any gold that is left in the Belle mine. A common practice. In fact, the mine is technically the property of the Chinese and they are not interested in giving it up. Not even for a nice price.
Things really heat up between the townsfolk, the rich folk, the Chinese folk, and the young folk. The Chinese are not well-liked on a good day. A town on the brink of collapse unless the Chinese cooperate, well . . . let's just say hostility runs rather high.
Jem finds himself getting more than a rock to his head when he steps in to protect his Chinese friend, Wu Shen, from a group of bullies. Two against three looks to become two against four when Will Sterling shows up. But . . . what's this? Jem is amazed when Will takes up his side of the fight!
The kids' problems are just a reflection of the prejudices and temperament of the town as a whole. Jem, like his father, wants to be on the side of what's right, no matter the cost. The battles that Goldtown faces will test his faith, his stamina, and his friendships. In Jem's darkest moments, he remembers scripture from the prophet whose name he bears: Jeremiah. He rallys his faith and quells his fear remembering the promises of God.
"Tunnel of Gold," by Susan K. Marlow, is part of the new "Goldtown" series aimed at 'tween' boys. Mrs. Marlow has packed in the action and suspense in her latest book and it won't disappoint. Nor should it be enjoyed by only the young men in your family. It's a great adventure for all! You may even recognize a character from the "Circle C Adventure" novels who makes an appearance in Tunnel!
Tunnel of Gold is the second installment in Susan K. Marlow's Goldtown Adventure series for tweens. Twelve-year-old Jem is caught in the thick of things when trouble erupts in Goldtown with a disagreement between the rich mine owner and the Chinese immigrants over the rights to a previously abandoned mine. Jem, his younger sister Ellie, and greenhorn cousin Nathan, are trying to do what they can to help the sheriff-- Jem's pa. Then along comes a new boy. Chad Carter is the son of an out-of-town investor who is in Goldtown on business. When Chad learns the whole story, he joins with the other kids in their efforts to save the town.
Fans of Susan's previous series will recognize Chad's name as the older brother of Andi Carter--the main character in Circle C Adventures. It was neat to think about this story taking place 16 years earlier, before Andi was born, when her father was still alive and her brother was a kid.
Susan's books are well-written and engaging, even for us "kids" who are a "little" older than her target demographic. The third book in this series, Canyon of Danger, will be out in the fall.
Jem Coulter is a real boy. He takes risks and gets banged up, moans about chores, and grumbles about his pesky sister Ellie, his persnickety Aunt Rose, and his greenhorn cousin Nathan. He idolizes his pa, the sheriff of Goldtown, but sometimes the badge can be a liability.
What Jem really likes is escaping to the claim he works with crusty old Strike-It-Rich Sam and panning for gold, but trouble's brewing in Goldtown. There's talk of the Midas mine shutting down unless an air shaft opens new avenues for mining. The best place for the shaft is through the played out and deserted Belle mine, but it's been legally taken over by Chinese immigrants who aren't afraid of the backbreaking labor needed to make the old mine pay, and they're not about to budge.
Where money's involved, there's bound to be trouble, and sure enough, Jem and his friends get into a heap of it as they come up with a scheme to solve the standoff that threatens to shut down Goldtown for good.
Fans of Susan Marlow's earlier series, Circle C Adventures (Long Ride Home #1) and Circle C Beginnings (Andi's Pony Trouble #1) , will be thrilled to see Andi's big brother Chad in his younger days. Bonus-- you get a chance to meet Andi's father. Will Sterling, the Goldtown bully and the mine owner's son, makes an appearance as well.
Tunnel of Gold is an exciting Goldtown Adventure (Badge of Honor #1) that shows actions have consequences. If you go back on your word, there will be trouble. If you ignore bullying, it won't go away. And if you play with dynamite, someone's going to get hurt. The Christian principles Jem knows and gradually applies are wonderful. Proverbs 25:11 comes to mind: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
What's a boy to do? All Jem (Jeremiah) Coulter wants to do is sell his firewood for some spending money. It's bad enough he has to split his earnings three ways to include his pesky sister, Ellie and his city slicker cousin, Nathan. To make matters worse, Jem gets caught in a miner's riot at the Midas mine.
Jem's hometown of Goldtown counts on the gold in the Midas to keep them from becoming a ghost town. Before long Jem finds there are worse things than losing his firewood customers. The vein of gold in gone, the Midas is in danger of shutting down and life looks pretty bleak. Until a ray of hope shines through the gloom. If the Midas can dig an airshaft, they might find another vein. Except . . . Chinese miners have taken over the abandoned mine that stands in the owner's way. When the Sheriff, Jem's father, is ordered to evict the Chinese or lose his job, Jem doesn't know what decision is right. All too soon, the owner's son Will has come up with a risky plan that just might cost Jem everything.
"Tunnel of Gold" was a real page turner that I finished in one sitting. Susan K. Marlow (author of the Circle C Adventures and Circle C Beginnings) has crafted an excellent new series for boys - The Goldtown Adventures. Jem is a real boy without being too goody goody, yet he gets across some important Christian principals. What do you do when you know what's right, but you'd rather make the wrong choice and just hope life turns out okay? Jem learns some valuable lesson in a tunnel he'd rather not travel through, but often God's way leads us down paths we'd never have expected?
Join Jem in his Goldtown Adventures - you're in for an old west, rip-roaring great time!