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Comments for The Cave
Homer described Hades as have entrances from the world of the living through special caves. Odysseus goes into Hades to bring back a fallen member of his crew. For young Ian in The Cave by Steve McGill, he will experience a similar journey into a cave and into the past to learn about many MIA service men from WWI.
Starting with the first chapter and then peppered throughout the rest of the book are chapters set during WWI from the point of view of a soldier at the point of his death. They stand in for the stories that Ian is hearing from Gramps (his great-grandfather) who had lost his father at the age of five in WWI.
If the novel is set in contemporary times, that would make Gramps around 97. Frankly though there's not much in the way of clues to set when present day is for Ian. I can't recall any specific technologies being mentioned that would say for sure when the book takes place.
Ian likes to ride his bike, write in his journal and listen to stories of WWI. Near his home, but still enough of a distance away to make for a good adventure is an old cave. Ian would love to explore it but is scared to do so. A ghostly visitor first to his home and then to an abandoned ranch near the cave will give him the courage to enter the cave.
I've read other reviews that describe the book as a horror because of the ghosts. It strikes me more as an adventure with elements of classic mythology. Yes, it's a ghost story, but it's not an especially frightening one.
The Cave is a short and easy read. I ended up reading it in about three hours' time. Although tweens and teens will probably enjoy the ghost story elements of it, I'd recommend backing up the story with a quick jaunt through Edith Hamilton's Mythology or the relevant chapter from The Odyssey by Homer.
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