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The Dark Ground (The Lost Trilogy, Book 1) Paperback – March 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Dark Ground Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–After having a nightmare while asleep on an airplane, Robert escapes to the restroom to recover. He looks in the mirror, sees a vision of another boy in his own eyes, and is suddenly pulled into a swirling vortex of darkness. He wakes up scratched and naked in a gloomy forest. At first glance, this is a story of survival, as Robert learns to feed, clothe, and shelter himself, but new questions soon arise. He is not alone, and help is offered, at first surreptitiously. When a monstrous bird attacks him and takes him to its treetop lair, Robert views his surroundings and realizes that he is close to his home, but somehow the small ditch that separates his neighborhood from a park is now a bottomless ravine. Compared to normal-sized people and places, Robert and his rescuers are impossibly small and constantly in danger. These are not The Borrowers and there is nothing cute or funny about their lives. The mood is eerie and chilling, and Robert's new friends feel they must accept their present circumstances in order to survive. "Small is an alien planet, and that's where you live now." Still, Robert refuses to forget the past and is determined to find a way back. The first in a trilogy, this is a fast-moving, suspenseful science-fiction adventure. The ending is surprising and satisfying, bringing closure to the first leg of Robert's journey while leaving plenty of room for the sequels and reasons for readers to eagerly await them.–Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-8. While on a plane with his parents and sister, Robert Doherty blacks out, and when he awakes, he is cold, naked, aching, scratched, and alone in a dark, damp forest. What happens next is a combination of survival and coming-of-age as Robert tries to obtain food, clothes, shelter, and water. When someone leaves a blanket and food outside his burrow, he keeps watch and eventually connects with a small band of people--small in more ways than one. As it turns out, Robert's rescuers, and Robert himself, are shorter than a blade of grass. Although the others desperately try not to think about the past, Robert is determined to remember and to return home. Important questions are left unanswered in this first book, straining credulity, but the bizarre situation and the desperation of the Lilliputian beings will keep readers sufficiently entertained to want to find out more. Hopefully everything will be clarified in the promised sequels to this first book in the Dark Ground trilogy. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Re-issue edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192727184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192727183
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,337,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Shanshad VINE VOICE on July 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Robert Doherty has been whisked out of his comfortable modern world and thrown into a dark and vicious wilderness where he must find a way to survive. In veteran author Gillian Cross's newest book, she proves again why she is one of the most popular children's authors in Britain. With deft storytelling and an atmospheric writing style, she takes a familiar plot element and transforms it into something new again. While Ms. Cross is not yet as well known in the US, I am hoping The Dark Ground can begin to change that.

What readers will encounter here is a mix between a fantasy and a survivor story. Robert is a teen traveling with his family by plane when something happens to him that he can't comprehend or quite remember-and he finds himself cold and naked in a dark and forbidding forest. What happened and how aren't quite as important as staying alive-and it's only when he discovers other people living in this strange forest that he begins to consider how to get back home. But getting back home won't be so easy-because Robert's home is both closer than he dreamed and farther away than he could have imagined. It's going to take all his strength and bravery, along with the help of his newfound friends to undertake the expedition. The fantasy element of the book is not inherently magical. Beyond the situation Robert finds himself in, there is no magic or magical way out of his predicament. The characters are left to figure their own way out.

Ms. Cross writes a riveting book, full of action, emotion and imagery that roars into the mind and sweeps the reader up into the experiences of the characters. But Ms. Cross does not write an easy book-this is not a tale of whimsy and Harry Potter-esque characters.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I want to say that due to the way "The Dark Ground" was written, it's almost impossible to write a review of it without giving away those major mysterious plot points that are slowly revealed by the author throughout the reading of the text. Therefore, I must be a good little reviewer and warn you right here and now that my review contains many many spoilers about this book. If you want to read this wonderfully mysterious and atmospheric tale with any sense of wonder, stop reading this review once this paragraph ends. I'll sum up the important information right here for your convenience: This is a fun first book in a series. It's fast-paced, full of action, and a bit gory for younger kids. You'll enjoy finding out what happens to its hero and the ending leaves you wanting more. There! Now go away unless you want to be completely clued into some of the deeper innerworkings of this marvelous British import.

It's just your typical airplane ride. One minute Robert's in the bathroom of a plane, looking in the mirror, and seeing a tiny man in the black part of his iris. The next, he's naked and alone in a huge forest with no sense of where he is and no one he knows near him. Using his wits Robert must fend for himself, finding food, makeshift clothing, and a shelter of some sort. As he grows better acquainted with his surroundings, the boy realizes that there are other people living near him and he must do everything he can to get their attention and find out what exactly has happened to him.

In many ways this book is just a slightly more fantastical version of Gary Paulsen's, "Hatchet".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my daughter because I had read it a while back and loved it. You really get drawn into the lives of the characters. We read it together for the first few chapters because it's overly laden with description and can be a bit laborious to get through. Once she was hooked I let her at it and she too loved it. I disagree with it's AR level of 5.3 as it has a lot of elevated vocabulary and varied sentence structures. It's not an easy read for a 5th grader.
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A Kid's Review on October 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a book /thriller that always kept me on my seat the whole book. The perfect description of background and character. The description was so good I could picture it all in my mind! Read it!
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the few books I have read that really frightened me. Seriously, I was crouched in the corner of my room for a little while after I finished this book, trying to convince myself it wasn't real. Because, really, after reading it I was half-convinced it could be.
I'm not even going to follow my normal review format with this one. The Dark Ground is intense, horrifying, and sickening. It will scare you, no doubt. There's not an overly large amount of blood and gore, but the psychological damage is greater than any bodily damage. Except death, which shows up a lot.
I forced myself to finish this book, even though I almost didn't want to. It would have driven me crazy not to know what happened to the characters...but it was almost worse finding out what did happen.
All in all, excellent. It lost a star because it terrified me. But if you like a scare, enjoy...
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