Rereading: BENEATH THE HILL by Jane Louise Curry

The Arthur and Griffith cousins are having fun together at the Arthur’s farm for summer vacation, but that fun is threatened by the coal strip-mine operation just over the hill, where the huge steam shovels are working night and day, disrupting the area with noise and destruction. Miggle, one of the children, has planned a treasure hunt for the cousins, but that soon gives way to explorations of unknown caverns inside the hills when they meet Kaolin, a boy who lives there with his ancient family, descendents of people who were pushed out of Wales centuries ago. The mining has awakened an evil power that wants to destroy everyone, and the children are caught up in its delusions and tricks, but their dog Willy is able to see through the illusions and get them out of danger, though Kit is nearly drowned. Inside the mountain, amazing things and wondrous stories are revealed, and Miggle has found a key that can help Kaolin’s family and also defeat the Bane, as they call the evil spirit in the quarry, but can they get the key to the right place beneath the hill in time?

This is the first of many fantasy novels by Curry, and the first of eight books in the Abaloc series. It’s ambitious and full of ideas, but perhaps a bit too full, with too many characters, and by the end seems rushed, though the story is creative and appealing. Recommended.

Beneath the Hill by Jane Louise Curry

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