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Cover of 'The Mohole Mystery' Cover of 'The Mohole Menace'
Cover of 'Pionniers des ténèbres' Cover of 'A ameaça de Mohole'
Gateway cover

The Mohole Mystery

(US - The Mohole Menace)
(FR - Pionniers des ténèbres, lit "Pioneers of Darkness")
(PT - A ameaça de Mohole)

Publishing details:

UK: Faber h/b, 1968, in print until c.1973.
US: Criterion Books h/b, 1968.
FR: Éditions de l'Amitié, 1973. ISBN 2-7002-0015-2.
PT: Edições Dêagã.
eBook: Gateway SF, 2020.


A drilling project in Dudley, West Midlands, has found a huge underground cavern 20 miles beneath the surface of the Earth. Microbes have been found and it UNEXA have decided to send a man down in a capsule to search for other forms of life. Serge, as the smallest of the team, is sent down the borehole in a tiny rocket-propelled capsule, but it is damaged when it lands on the pile of debris left on the cavern floor by the drilling and he is stranded. What is worse, strange egg-like creatures that can roll uphill are attacking him!


A big change from the usual space based adventures here, but none of the excitement is lost as all the usual technical hardware - rockets, spacesuits and so on - are adapted for the journey into the cavern. This, incidentally, is the last Walters novel in which the alien life is malevolent.




Once again Hugh Walters has produced a well-written exciting account
of the activities of Chris Godfrey and his friends Morrey, Serge and Tony.
In this instance exploration does not take place on Mars, Mercury or other
planets, but into the interior of the earth in the tradition of Verne.
The setting for the descent into the Mohole is Dudley in Staffordshire
toward the close of the present century. Readers who know Dudley will
experience Trease's "shock of recognition".There is a thrilling build-
up of tension from the opening stroll in Hyde Park on a hot summer's day
to the terrifying encounter of Serge with the egg-shaprd creatures and
the lethal bacteria in the much hotter underground cavern. As usual the
author is technical but not unbearably so, and more than half of the book
is devoted to preparations for the adventure. It is satisfying that,
when the attention of so many young people is directed to man's conquest
of space, Hugh Walters should point out that we know so little of our
earth. Boys of ten and over will demand more when they have devoured this.
Our four heroes of so many space adven-
tures turn their attentions to their own
planet in The Mohole Mystery. They take
on the job of exploring a cavern some 20
miles beneath the earth's surface. Condi-
tions there are as inhospitable as ever and
it requires all the selfless bravery to which
we are accustomed to bring the incident
to a satisfactory conclusion.
Source unknown

Diagram of Earth's crust