Underground Worlds

Cappadocia pic

By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada (Turkey-1842 Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore underground dwellings, cities, and worlds, both real and imaginary, with these books.

Youth Services

hobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Jacket Notes:

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

kikiKiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller

Jacket Notes:

Life becomes more interesting for Ananka Fishbein when, at the age of twelve, she discovers an underground room in the park across from her New York City apartment and meets a mysterious girl called Kiki Strike who claims that she, too, wants to explore the subterranean world.

tunnelsTunnels by Roderick Gordon

Jacket Notes:

When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will’s archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a labyrinthine world underneath London, full of sinister inhabitants with evil intentions toward “Topsoilers” like Will and his father.

gregorGregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Jacket Notes:

When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

Teen Fiction

downsidersDownsiders by Neal Shusterman

Jacket Notes:

When fourteen-year-old Lindsay meets Talon and discovers the Downsiders world which had evolved from the subway built in New York in 1867 by Alfred Ely Beach, she and her new friend experience the clash of their two cultures.

incarceron_book_coverIncarceron by Catherine Fisher

Jacket Notes:

To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.

lockdownLockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

Beneath the Surface manual description:

When 14-year-old Alex is framed for murder, he becomes an inmate in the Furnace Penitentiary, built a mile beneath the earth’s surface, where brutal inmates and sadistic guards reign, and boys who disappear in the middle of the night sometimes return weirdly altered, but escape might just be possible.

finnFinnikin of the Rock, Book One of the Lumatere Chronicles ( see also Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn) by Melina Marchetta

Jacket Notes:

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

dodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett

Jacket Notes:

In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd.

Main Floor Fiction

neverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

A man goes to the aid of a woman pursued by assassins and discovers an alternative City of London, a subterranean, medieval world populated by “people who fell through the cracks” from the real city above. A fantasy tale, replete with demons and wizards.

reliquaryReliquary by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Goodreads summary:

Hidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation.

Margo must once again team up with police lieutenant D’Agosta and FBI agent Pendergast, as well as the brilliant Dr. Frock, to try and solve the puzzle. The trail soon leads deep underground, where they will face the awakening of a slumbering nightmare.

journeyJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

Jules Verne’s third science fiction novel describes the discovery and exploration of a secret tunnel, which leads through a volcano to the center of the earth. The leader of the expedition, together with his ward, his nephew, and an Icelandic guide commence the journey.


mole peopleThe Mole People: Life in the Tunnels beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth (305.569 TOT)

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

Describes the so-called “mole people” living alone and in communities in the frescoed waiting rooms of long-forgotten subway tunnels below subway platforms.

cappadociaCave Monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia by Lyn Rodley

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

An illustrated account of the rock-cut monasteries, hermitages, and other complexes in Cappadocia (central Anatolia, in modern Turkey).

new yorkNew York Underground: The Anatomy of a City by Julia Solis

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

In this illustrated historical tour of New York’s vast underground systems, Julia Solis maps out the anatomical foundation of the city—from the bowels of Grand Central Terminal, to the labyrinthine ruins of the Old Croton Aqueduct, to the old gang tunnels that run below the streets of Chinatown.

londonLondon Under: The Secret History beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd

Groundbreaking Reads manual description:

A short study of everything that goes on under London—from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheaters to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts, and modern tube stations.


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