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Secret of the Mother Lode

A trail of cryptic codes sends Ben and Sam deep underground to discover a treasure more valuable than gold.


Ben Coolahan loves his life in Boston in 1873, but when his father passes suddenly, he’s sent out west to the family’s mine. Ben’s father left him only a medallion, coded messages, and a warning to keep them secret. His new guardian, Delilah, an overbearing woman, sends him to work in the mine.  Ben finds refuge with Jack, a Cornish miner who shares his superstitions and tales of the knocking.


A quick-witted girl, Sam, helps Ben unravel the codes and discover their hidden messages, which lead them into secret chambers and down underground rivers to discover a precious treasure. Faced with protecting it while thwarting Delilah’s foreman, they find refuge deep underground. The miners are blasting their way toward the wall of gold. But gold is not what Ben and Sam are protecting, and they’ll have to risk the mine's fortune in order to save lives.


K n o c k t o p i a   R e v i e w s


Teens buckle up for an adventure that sees The Goonies and Raiders of the Lost Ark meet Dickens.


Both adults and children will be immediately drawn into the well-researched history of the gold rush, never shying away from the hard truths. Malone keeps readers drawn in with much mystery and adventure, all seen through the eyes of an engaging, easy-to-cheer-for young protagonist.

Editors Pick

Knocktopia is a fun, fast-paced adventure story that mixes local history with fantasy. It is thoroughly enjoyable and a treat for school-aged readers.

Nevada County Superintendent
of Schools

The Author


Hunter Malone’s writing is a reflection of his adventurous spirit, with strong and fearless characters who face incredible challenges  on epic, dangerous journeys.

His ability to weave together historical facts with fictional imagination creates rich and immersive worlds that capture readers of all ages. 

“I'm not a big fan of smartphones and televisions-- they tend to give people an excuse to stay put and miss out on taking in the world.

I write not to quench appetites but rather to ignite them. Go. Walk. Dig. Investigate. Mine for stories... and while you're at it, you'll surely make a few of your own."


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