Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tunnel of Gold . . . I Dig it!

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 way—with a rock zinged at his head—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! 

You can read my review of Book One, Badge of Honor, by clicking here. And I have several reviews of the Circle C books that you will find if you search "Marlow"on my blog.

No comments:

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.