I read this book in the mid-1980s as a child myself from a Texas elementary school library. I seem to recall the protagonist beginning a long journey possibly with food provisions (cheese?) that begins in a maze. The maze seems endless but at some stage, they decide to climb a wall and can see the full maze from above in order to get to the exit.

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    Hi, welcome to the site. Do you recall the approximate age and sex of the protagonist? Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 10:08
  • A male teenager, maybe 16? Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


This could be The Maze in the Heart of the Castle by Dorothy Gilman. First published in 1983, it would be consistent with you reading it in the mid 80s. It deals with a 16 year old boy named Colin, traversing a magical maze. From the cover blurb:

His name was Colin, and although he still couldn't believe it, his parents were gone, both dead from the plague. Scared, confused, and angry, he sought out a monk who told him about a haunted castle on Rheembeck Mountain -- and the old, strange wizard who lived there. Perhaps there Colin would find a way to stop his pain....

But instead of answers, the wizard showed him a locked oak door. Beyond it lay an ancient stone maze that led to a mystical land, a place where bandits roamed freely, where people lived within dark caves, afraid of the light, where cruelty was the way of the world, and where beautiful girls were not always what they seemed.

The wizard opened the oak door and invited Colin to enter. If Colin came through this strange place alive, he might indeed be able to ease the pain in his heart. But once inside, there could be no going back....

When he reaches the centre, he has to find the way out again, and he has the idea of climbing the walls:

Colin said instead, thoughtfully, "Has anyone ever tried climbing to the top of that wall to look for a way out of the maze?"...

From this height the walls of the maze stretched out like a giant honeycomb a mile or more on all sides of him.

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    Wow, thanks so much! I just found it on OpenLibrary too so I'll have a read, but that certainly sounds like it! Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 10:27
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    Interestingly, this book was first described as having been written by a character in Gilman's mystery novel, The Tightrope Walker (1979) where a plot summery and a number of quotes from it are given. Four years later the book The Maze in the Heart of the Castle was published. It does not follow the description in the earlier novel in all points, but does in many. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 14:33

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