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Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising #1)

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  26,430 ratings  ·  1,195 reviews
On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is even more than that -- the key to finding a grail, a source of power to fight the forces of evil known as the Dark. And in searching for it themselves, the Drews put their very lives in peril. This is th...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1965)
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Hannah Streett Well, that depends on what precisely you mean by "old fashioned" I suppose. If you mean the general grammar and phrasing seem pretty different from…moreWell, that depends on what precisely you mean by "old fashioned" I suppose. If you mean the general grammar and phrasing seem pretty different from the newest popular YA novel on the shelves--then you're not crazy! This book was originally published in 1965, 10-15 after such classics as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings (which I mention because you can see similarities in the use of language). As an older book, it's of course going to sound different than what's on our shelves today because the popular, accepted style has changed over the years. :](less)
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Community Reviews

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karen
how great is ariel?? ariel is exactly this great:



i had never read this series, but had always wanted to. so ariel straight up mailed it to me! like santa! in june!

ariel, i have also always wanted a choker made of rubies and emeralds and sweet sweet diamonds.

while i am waiting for that,i will write a review for this book. obviously, there are going to be comparisons to that narnia series - british siblings shuttled off to a spooky house with secret passageways behind a wardrobe with an eccentric...more
Ben Babcock
Over Sea, Under Stone reminds me of that endless string of ’80s and ’90s movies featuring plucky groups of child protagonists outwitting bumbling adult villains. You know the ones I mean—The Goonies is probably the most famous example, but there are others. Children get into real danger and use a combination of courage and clever planning to defeat the bad guys and save the day. In this case, Simon, Jane, and Barney work together to decipher a medieval treasure map that could lead to the Grail o...more
Nikki
Very few people [who know me at all:] are unaware that The Dark Is Rising is possibly my favourite series of books in the history of ever. Still, I haven't done a series of proper reviews for them, which is a horrible shame, and I'm going to do that this time through.

This is probably the fifteenth time I've read Over Sea, Under Stone, give or take a few times. Someone I knew recommended skipping it, since it's the most childish book in the series -- written, if I recall correctly, well before th...more
David
It's been many, many years since I first read this series. It was one of my favorites as a child, so I just recently bought the boxed set to work my way through it again.

Over Sea, Under Stone is, if I recall correctly, not really part of the main series, being more of an introduction to the war between Light and Dark, with few of the characters appearing in the later books, except of course for Merriman Lyon. I remember even as a kid thinking that this was the least interesting book in the serie...more
Stephen
2.0 to 2.5 stars. A well written, original fantasy story. While written for a younger audience, it is in no ways condescending to them. First in the "Dark is Rising " sequence, this book introduces readers to the ages old battle between the Light and the Dark. Not a bad read.
Nikki
I don't know how many times I've read this book, but it's a good candidate for the argument in the Feedback forums for sorting out multiple read dates -- I must've read it at least twenty times, I suppose, and one day I'm going to run out of editions on GoodReads to shelve. Never mind.

I really have nothing new to say about this book, of course: it's comfort reading of the first order, for me. I think I used to say that as this is the most childish book of the sequence, it can be skipped, but hon...more
Lightreads
I am on a serious childhood nostalgia bender over here. Let that be a warning to you.

This series came back to me like a bolt from the blue on a perfectly normal day last week, and I suddenly had to read it right now. But, fantastic, no problem, I thought. When I originally read these books -- and read them, and read them, and read them -- it was on cassette. The good old National Library Service for the Blind cassettes in their snap plastic cases. And the NLS has been busily digitizing the colle...more
Snorkle
On vacation with their Great Uncle Merry three young children stumble upon an old map and suddenly they are thrust into an adventure they never could have imagined.

The beginning was a little slow getting into it and I even considered discarding it, but as I trudged along through it I found myself getting more and more intrigued. It had a feeling of The Chronicles of Narnia mixed with Nancy Drew, making it suspenseful, but fitting into the Fantasy mold. I wanted to read it because of the recent m...more
Maree  ♫ Light's Shadow ♪
This is a great kid's book. I'm really surprised I've never read it before, actually, and now I really want to finish the series.

It's a really typical story in that the kids find a treasure map and get to it. But it's got the more serious aspect, a fight against evil, buried in the history of King Arthur and his fight. I'm also a fan of Arthurian legend, so it was neat to have that side of the story as well.

The real thing that made me like this book was that I was actually worried for them. I w...more
Michelle
I still can't quite believe I missed these books when I was a kid. They are so up my alley.

This is the first book in the series, which I didn't know until I'd already read the second one (The Dark is Rising). But really that's ok because this book involves an entirely different set of kids.

One of the things I like best about these books is that they stand the test of time. They don't feel particularly dated, which is really nice.

And I also like all three of the children in this book. They're sma...more
Nikki
It'll surprise no one who knows me that I'm rereading this set of books at this time of year: Over Sea, Under Stone is more of a summer book, I suppose, but the one most rooted in a particular time of year is The Dark is Rising, the second book, in winter. (The runner-up would be The Grey King, set in the autumn around Samhain.) So I imagine that a few more reviews of these books will be added to my total before the end of the year...

I read Over Sea, Under Stone in one go, this time. There are s...more
Barb Middleton
I wanted to like this but couldn't sink my teeth into the plot or characters. Jane, Simon, and Barney, go with their parents to Cornwall to visit their Uncle Merry. The three explore the old grey house and discover an ancient map that puts them on the quest for the Holy Grail. The forces of Dark want the map too for its unlimited power and with the help of Uncle Merry it is a mad race to see who can find it first. The threesome are not sure who is good or bad and their innocent trust oftentimes...more
Ian
Over Sea, Under Stone is a classic tale with an Arthurian base, showing how kid power can be better than adulthood. It also shows the relationships of the forces of good and evil, and how they can create conflict, sometimes war.
Three kids, Barney, Simon, and Jane, go on vacation with their parents to visit their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry (Professor Merriman Lyon), sometimes called “Gumerry”. Upon exploring the Grey House, their vacation residence, they find an ancient manuscript crumbling w...more
Linda
How can you not like the search for King Arthur and Merlin? I have loved the legend since I was a teenager. (Sooooo long ago!)

The three Drew children are on a month long holiday in Cornwall. While their parents are pursuing their own interests, Gumerry (Great Uncle Merry) is keeping them entertained with stories of King Arthur and the lost grail. As the children ultimately discover, Gumerry is trying to find the grail himself, while being chased by the forces of evil, who will do anything to dis...more
Bev
This is the first in the Dark is Rising Quintet.

Written over 50 years ago, it tells of 3 children on holiday in Cornwall with their parents and Great Uncle Merry. They discover a map and become involved in a rushed hunt against "The Dark" for the Grail.

It is a beautifully written tale for all ages and still very relevant today. It includes the myths of King Arthur and magic but does not feel like a children's book. Wonderful introduction to the set.
Paul
"Over Sea, Under Stone" is the first of five books in Susan Cooper's classic "The Dark is Rising" sequence. In it, three children on holiday in Cornwall stumble upon an ancient map, and quickly find themselves embroiled in a race against both time and the forces of The Dark to find an ancient treasure. Aided by their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry, Simon, Jane and Barney can only depend on themselves, as familiar faces turn out to hide menacing intent, and the sunny shores of their vacation spot c...more
Stephan Benzkofer
I first read this book in fourth or fifth grade. It was recommended to me by a librarian at the public library, and I remember being intrigued and dismissive at the same time. I read a lot of books, I thought, I doubt this person knew about a series I didn't. Of course, I was wrong. Susan Cooper's series blew me away. I'm re-reading it now to see how it holds up and to judge whether my 10-year-old son would like it. I'm glad to report it holds up very well indeed. It's a slower, subtler fantasy...more
Liz
It doesn't matter that this book was written 30 years ago, it easily withstands the test of time. It's actually superior to so much of the children's literature that's being put out these days.

The writing harkens back to a time when children were expected to have a much higher reading ability at a far younger age than they're allowed to get away with today. This book doesn't talk down to its audience whether it be child or adult, it doesn't dumb down the vocabulary or spend pages repetitively go...more
Sarah's Reviews
When Simon, Jane, and Barney found an old manuscript while on holiday, they had no idea that it would put them in the center of the timeless struggle between good and the dark. Now they must race to discover where the manuscript leads before the agents of the dark can find out and it's too late.

Over Sea, Under Stone is the first of five books in The Dark is Rising Sequence. It's a light read aimed at elementary school age readers. The
story contains some mildly scary situations, something like hy...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
After hearing a lot about this series, I was very disappointed in how pedestrian it was. Perhaps the rest of the series is better, but this one was very formulaic and not especially exciting. Following along with C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it all starts on a rainy day with a bunch of British kids bored and playing in a big house. They start their adventure by finding an attic behind a wardrobe rather than actually in it. At one point, the dark side attempts to seduce one...more
Nikki
It's going to become difficult to find editions of these books I haven't read, sooner or later. I'm not sure that there's anything much to say about these books that I haven't already said. I read it this time with an appreciation for the pace, and the sense of fear that genuinely comes across. It's not as fully developed as the later books in the sequence, but she manages to create a pretty fully realised world where people act like people and the dark may also be the Dark. I know that it creep...more
YiShun
I saw Susan Cooper speak at a writer's conference back in February and have been meaning to read this sequence ever since then. (Never mind that the rest of the conference only had me itching to get back to my keyboard.)
If you haven't yet read The Chronicles of Narnia, you'll love love love this book. If you've already read it, you'll still love this book. Its characters are ever so much more engaging than Edmund, Lucy, Peter, and Susan are, and although the basic premise of good versus evil is...more
Lars Guthrie
Chronologically and sequentially the first in "The Dark is Rising" series. Years ago, the great librarian at Jefferson Elementary in San Francisco told me I should know about these books, and I finally have gotten around to them. For children and adults who are fans of "Harry Potter" or other literature grounded in Arthurian and English myth, they are must-reads. "Over Sea, Under Stone" introduces the reader to Simon, Jane and Barney Drew (as well as their mysterious uncle Merriman) and a quest...more
Kat Couch
Mar 22, 2014 Kat Couch rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Kat by: my English teacher
The first in an amazing series. These fine fantasy books put you in a trance where you just can't put them down! I was a bit disappointed that this was not the first movie. I am even more disappointed to hear they may not be doing any of the others as movies. I say why not? These books are just as good if not better than the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe books. And if you want to be picky, the first movie they did for those SHOULD have been The Magician's Nephew. I really hate when they make...more
Priyanka
Just posted this review on my blog http://www.PriyankaReads.com - check out this and many more young adult book reviews and recommendations there.

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Rating : 4.1 out of 5 stars

Age recommended : 10 and up

Over Sea, Under Stone is a very suspenseful tale that will keep you on your toes. Susan Cooper has written a story like no other, and just the characters of the three children will have you turning the pages to read more.

I got the set of all five books in the series for Christmas and this book wa...more
Kristin
This was a great book. It picked up around chapter five, and then from then on it was thrilling! The only downside of the book for me was how impossibly slowly the children grasped concepts, as well as basic common sense. I figured that maybe it was to make sure that EVERYONE reading it fully understood what was going on. The downside of this is that I found it incredibly frustrating to drag a simple concept out for multiple chapters. Anyway, despite the kids' idiocy, there was plenty of fast pa...more
Sara
As I said in my 'comment' yesterday:
I have the Aladdin Paperback version, but have also been listening to an audiobook. Some scenes are a bit un-PC, but for a book written in 1965, that's not too surprising.

Definitely seeing both Tolkien and Mary Stewart references, along with a little echo of George McDonald's Princess and the Goblin mechanism (the thread near the end).

Is Great-Uncle Merry partly intended to be a nod to Prof. Tolkien himself, as Ransome was in C.S. Lewis' space travel trilogy,...more
Douglas
May 19, 2014 Douglas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Okay, this is more like it. I needed a good book like this. Geared towards a younger audience, this book still has plenty to speak to all audiences. It reads a lot like an Indiana Jones-style adventure in England, specifically Cornwall, complete with clues, treasure, and rivals that the kids have to respectively solve, find, and elude. Though they have help in the form of Grand Uncle Merry, he notes that this is their adventure, and thus his help is as minimal as necessary. It means the kids get...more
Heidi
I read this book aloud to my children over the past few weeks at bedtime, which was fun for all of us. This is a book I'd read myself as a child, along with the rest of the series, but I couldn't remember the details well. I picked up a copy last summer at a used book sale at the library. Hence, I was as interested as my children to find out what would happen next each evening. There are frustrating parts where the protagonists are a bit slow to see the obvious. Fortunately, those are rare enoug...more
Jen
Yay for British kids adventuring. Sure it's done a lot in literature, but really, it's such a good idea! Especially to us American kids who really wish we could wander around Cornwall!

This is the first of the Dark Is Rising series, but I always tend to read it after The Dark Is Rising as a sort of prequel. It gives us Merriman Lyon and why he's important, which is great. And it ties the whole thing into Arthuriana, which you don't really get in The Dark Is Rising so much. I totally appreciate Ba...more
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7308
Susan Cooper's latest book is the YA novel "Ghost Hawk" (2013)

Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England's Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London. As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer. After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university's newspap...more
More about Susan Cooper...
The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2) The Grey King (The Dark is Rising, #4) Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5) Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising, #3) The Dark is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising, #1-5)

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“Once upon a time... a long time ago... things that happened once perhaps but have been talked about for so long that nobody really knows. And underneath all the bits that people have added the magic swords and lamps they're all about one thing - the good hero fighting the giant or the witch or the wicked uncle. Good against bad. Good against evil.” 21 likes
“And at the last all shall be safe, and evil thrust out never to return. And so that the trust be kept, he said, I give it into your charge, and your sons', and your sons' sons, until the day come.” 5 likes
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