Tunnels of Treachery

23 February 2023

A book cover depicting a swirling vortex with a number of figures: a girl in overalls and a flatcap in the foreground, a boy in suspenders and a flatcap in the middle, and two children in Chinese clothing in the background in front of brick building with a sign that reads" Wing's Grocery".

Tunnels of Treachery
by Mary Harelkin Bishop
Published by DriverWorks Ink
Review by Michelle Shaw
$19.95 ISBN 9781927570692

Time travelling tunnels, thrilling, heart-stopping adventures. It must be a Mary Harelkin Bishop book!

Tunnels of Treachery is the third book in Mary Harelkin Bishop’s well known Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure series. This is the 20th anniversary edition of the series, and the book has been updated with shorter chapters, illustrations, historical notes and new resources, as well as a gorgeous new cover by illustrator Wendi Nordell.

I think it’s much less well known than the first two books so I’m delighted that more readers will get a chance to enjoy it.

In Tunnels of Treachery, Andrea’s friends Kami and Eddie Mark accidentally fall into the time travelling tunnels below Moose Jaw. They discover that Chinese immigrants are being forced to work in terrible conditions in the tunnels until they can pay the government-imposed Head Tax. Kami and Eddie are of Asian descent and don’t have documentation to show that they can legally be in Canada. They are forced to work as indentured labourers in the tunnels. Will Andrea and her brother Tony manage to help them escape and find their way back to the present or will all four children have to remain in 1920s Moose Jaw?

Bishop does such a good job immersing you in the story. Each descriptive detail envelops you in the scene. You can feel the tunnels shrinking down on you as you creep along in the darkness with Tony or hide under the stairs with Andrea and hear footsteps clunking above your head. The propulsive action of the story carries you along and I found myself compulsively turning the pages waiting to find out what happens next. We are also introduced to some new characters, such as Mean-Eyed Max and the mysterious Mr. Wong.

While it’s best to start reading the series from the first book, Tunnels of Time, for those who are new to the series, Bishop does a great job filling in enough details to catch you up with the story.

I knew some of the history of how Chinese immigrants came to Canada, but I had no idea that by the early 1900s, Moose Jaw had the largest “Chinatown” in Western Canada.

When it was first released in 2003, Tunnels of Treachery was shortlisted for the Sask Book Awards, 2004 and the Diamond Willow Award, 2004.


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