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Der Graue König (The Dark is Rising #4)

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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,131 Ratings  ·  589 Reviews
Unheimliche graue Füchse wüten im Land. Wer ist der graue König, der geheimnisvolle, magische Kräfte besitzt und den Auftrag gab?
Paperback, 189 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Otto Maier (first published 1975)
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Katie Clark I just read it as a stand alone and I kept thinking I was missing something, i.e. I was convinced that I should have read the first 3 books...
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nikki
Dec 24, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Normally, The Grey King would be my favourite of the five books that make up this sequence. Something about the setting in Wales, and Bran's loneliness and arrogance, and of course the tie-in with Arthuriana, and the way that it begins to bring in some more moral ambiguity when John Rowlands questions the coldness at the heart of the Light. Somehow, I didn't love it as much as usual this time -- possibly because I'd just spent a lot of time debating the merits of Greenwitch with various people, ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Dec 15, 2009 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
*Happy sigh* I just finished rereading this one again last night. With the exception of the first book in the Dark is Rising series, I love all of them -- atmospheric, dreamy, and creepy, the lot of them. And steeped in old folklore and told in lovely prose so that they feel like they grew out of the ground instead of being written by a modern author.

I cannot recommend them highly enough . . . but do read them in order.
Nikki
I somewhat put off reviewing The Grey King after finishing reading it, because I’m not sure what there is to say about it anymore. I’ve rhapsodised about it at length: the use of mythology, the casual use of the Welsh language, the home-ness of the landscape and the people… The shades of grey and the adult touches when it comes to Owen Davies and John Rowlands, and Will Stanton’s interactions with them. There’s some beautiful passages, especially the section spent in Craig yr Aderyn, and some ge ...more
Nikki
It's pretty much a tradition for me now to reread this series at this time of year, so I wanted to get it done before we move into 2013. The 2012 reread of The Dark is Rising sees me struggling with anxiety and depression issues, and I nearly didn't get round to reading this, this year. But it is my comfort reading, so it was a good idea that I just planted myself firmly down with the book in hand today -- the same old battered copy as always, of course.

To my mind, this is the point in the seque
...more
Ben Babcock
I’ve been making a slow tour through Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence for a few months now. It’s undeniably an important series in the fantasy canon, but my personal reaction to it has been more ambivalent. I have been rather disappointed with the novels as stories. They’re brilliant examples of methodical mythological remixing. Yet in adjusting the tone of the books to aim them to her younger audience, Cooper also seems to feel it’s necessary to remove a great deal of the complexity a ...more
Lexish
Oct 23, 2015 Lexish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle school onwards
Shelves: newbery
This is one of the most well-written young adult books I've ever read. They don't write 'em like this anymore! There's a reason Susan Cooper won the Newbery Medal for this. Her incredible, melodic descriptive language and her ability to interweave history, mythology, legend, and good old-fashioned fiction bring this book far beyond a traditional "boy with special powers" book. If you appreciate the English language and if you have an interest in history and legend, this one is for you. Susan Coo ...more
Nikki
This one is probably my favourite book of the series. It always makes me feel hiraeth. One day, I need to visit the parts of Wales these books are set in, really. And get someone to coach me on how to pronounce them: the section where Bran teaches Will is quite helpful, but not as good as hearing someone say the place names. Alas, I speak very little Welsh.

I think Bran is my favourite character of the series. Barney's cute, but Bran has more depth, with his troubled past and how much he has to d
...more
Nikki
The Grey King is possibly my favourite book of this sequence -- and I swear that's not only because it's set in my home country. It's a lovely, lovely book. This is the most layered of the books, I think -- by which I mean this is the book that has the most to offer for people of all ages. There are the more open and obvious emotions of Bran -- grief, pride, arrogance -- and the more complex grief and guilt of Owen Davies, which I'm not sure a younger reader would be able to fully understand.

Th
...more
Lightreads
The really upsetting one. I'd been calling it that in my head all along, but I didn't realize I didn't actually remember why. It turns out this upset me so much as a child that I literally blanked out the relevant details; I remembered about two pages before it happened, in the same horrible swooping lurch that Will experiences as he realizes something bad is about to happen. Animal harm, man, that shit fucks you up. /profound.

Anyway. I found this intensely interesting. It follows on very well f
...more
Nikki
Mar 09, 2011 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Grey King is possibly my favourite book of the sequence, and definitely one of my favourite books of all time. The things I noticed in this read through -- my full review, more of an overview of all the times I've read it, is here -- were mostly about the Welshness of it, and about the complexities of Will's relationship with the Light and humanity, and how exactly Bran is related to the Light.

John Rowlands' little speech about the coldness at the heart of the Light always strikes me -- it's
...more
Ben De Bono
I'm beginning to think that this series would be better titled The Dark is Stumbling Around Awkwardly Without Ever Accomplishing Much. In this volume our heroes take on the Grey King, a villain who we're reminded every other paragraph is more powerful and evil than any other encountered so far.

Despite this impressive reputation, the most evil things he manages to accomplish are (a) killing a few sheep and (b) making one small patch of ground briefly change shape. He also seems to have it out for
...more
David
Jul 23, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Old Ones, raven boys, Welsh sheepdogs
July 2013 reread

This fourth book is where the Dark is Rising sequence begins to pick up its pace and become more epic, weaving the final battle of the Dark vs. the Light into a retold Arthurian mythos. Rereading it as an adult, I began to feel again a little bit of the magic that so entranced me as a child when this was my favorite series ever.

In The Grey King, Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones, has been sent to stay with an uncle in Wales to recover from an illness, thus continuing to contrast
...more
LH Johnson
It is interesting to me that the first book to halt me in my headlong and gleeful devouring of the series was this book set in Wales, the fourth book in the series, set in the thin grey rain of Snowdonia. It is not the Wales-ness of this book that stopped me (though partially, yes, it is, the dense nature of those mythological references that when they meant nothing to me, they very much meant nothing), but rather the way that this book did not seem to mean anything to me until those last few pa ...more
Neula
Aug 05, 2013 Neula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my favourite of The Dark is Rising series as a child and some of the images and characters within the book have stayed with me over the years. Re-visiting this book as an adult I can see why. Cooper's prose is beautifully crafted, the Welsh countryside is a place of latent magic where everyday things - a pebble, a sheepdog, an overgrown pathway - are transformed into powerful symbols, weapons in the fight between the Light and the Dark.

And in the centre of it all the character of Bran;
...more
Jessica
Sep 28, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2006
I know it's not a commonly held opinion among fans of The Dark is Rising sequence, but I actually have preferred the books with the Drews, rather than just Will Stanton, but this was still a great read. I'm grateful for the little Welsh pronunciation lesson Bran gave Will, otherwise I would have been way off the mark with the names. My only complaint is not enough Merriman, but overall it was really exciting and I'm anxious to start the final volume of the series.
Inspired Kathy
Mar 18, 2010 Inspired Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Book 4 in the Dark is Rising Series is probably my favorite of the series so far.
Matilda
Apr 05, 2016 Matilda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will catches ill and is sent away to Wales for a while to recover. Whilst there, he must undertake a serious adventure to wake the Sleepers before the Dark has a chance to destroy everything. On the way, he meets the mysterious Raven Boy, Bran. But just when he starts to explain about the Dark and Light to Bran, a nearby farmer, Caradog Prichard, kills Cafall, Bran's dog, for something he didn't do!

Bran realises he has immense power of the Light and rescues Will several times, in a race to overc
...more
Steven Bell
Feb 18, 2016 Steven Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't quite as good as "Greenwitch" but on the whole it was still a huge step up over "The Dark is Rising". For the first time Will actually feels a bit like a proper character. We get a sense that he actually has personal interests and we get to see him make actual choices that have consequences.

This also benefits from the decision to keep Merry/Merriman on the sidelines so that Will can't just be walked through everything. That was something that made "The Dark is Rising" eternally
...more
Paul
"The Grey King" is the fourth volume in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence, and in the opinion of many, the best of that series. (The fact that it won the Newbery Medal doesn't hurt the claim.)

In this book, Will Stanton is on his own, recovering from a severe illness that has suppressed the knowledge of his powers and duties as an Old One. Sent to a relative's farm in Wales to recuperate, it is not long, however, before he is set upon the path of another quest - and meets a strange, whit
...more
Nicole
This is my favorite book so far of the series! Magical and mysterious and with a lovely tie-in to one of my favorite legends. Will is again our main protagonist, and travels to North Wales after being very ill. While there he meets a strange, pale boy and his equally unusual dog - together they confront the dark yet again. This is also the most intense book of the series so far, and a bit more violent than the previous entries, but still appropriate for most readers. I'm excited to start the las ...more
Keira
Mar 31, 2016 Keira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really love how Cooper weaves the old folklores into her fantastical tales, it makes the experience not only enjoyable, but also culturally enriching! Enjoyed this installment and the developments to the storyline.
Rowan
Jan 27, 2016 Rowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, fiction
This is certainly the most grown up book of the series so far. There is more real-world violence and adult themes, including violent animal death and mention of an attempted rape.

Will is back again, and almost has a personality this time. We also get to meet Bran, whom I like almost as much as Jane. The Drew siblings do not appear in this book. There were parts that got bogged down with exposition, and I didn't think it was clear at the beginning that Will had forgotten he was an Old One, until
...more
Alex Sarll
Straddling Hallowe'en (of which surprisingly little is made) in an unnaturally hot autumn, this was the book I remembered least from The Dark is Rising, but the prizewinner. Both those things could be explained by dullness, but no, this is maybe the best yet - surprisingly small scale in terms of what mortal eyes could see happening, but (like Machen's 'White People', set in the same Welsh hills) rich in the strange significance thereof. And even at the mundane level, it's a quietly heartbreakin ...more
Jen Petro-Roy
3.5 stars. Even though this won the Newbery, The Grey King is my least favorite of the series so far. Still, very good, and deserving of said medal.
Sylvie
Mar 04, 2016 Sylvie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. It gets 3 rather than 2 stars mostly because I finished it, and it wasn't a terrrible read.

Good parts: I liked the Welsh setting and the bits and pieces of Will being taught Welsh, or at least how not to totally mangle the pronunciation. I liked the sheepdogs. I liked that it's perfectly readable without having read the rest of the books in the series. I liked that it was an easy read - I got through it easily in a couple of hours. (Which makes sense since it's a kid's book.) I also mostly
...more
LobsterQuadrille
Dec 01, 2015 LobsterQuadrille rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like the other books in the sequence
I feel a bit conflicted about The Grey King, the fourth book of the "Dark is Rising" sequence. I liked it much more than I did the first two books, but I didn't think it was nearly as amazing as the third book(Greenwitch). I actually like Will more in this book than in any of the others so far. He is more interesting to read about and has a more defined personality. The standout character for me was definitely Bran. Susan Cooper made him a likable and engaging character with a lot of inner conf ...more
Ricardo
"The Grey King" in my opinion is such a interesting sequel. I am not much of a reader but when i started to read "The Grey King" it caught my attention. This book is one of the first books i have ever continued to read and i plan on reading the rest of the sequel.

"The Grey King" contains mystery and as well as some turns in certain events that give the book a more exciting story. But what mostly caught my attention is the good vs evil content in the story. The story is about a very sick man nam
...more
Lorraine Montgomery
Book four in Susan Cooper's series The Dark is Rising finds Will Stanton delirious with illness, an illness that steals from him the poem he was to remember with the clues for the next quest which must be completed by the youngest of the Old Ones — which is him. When he recovers, Will is sent to relatives in Wales to recuperate and, hopefully, to regain his lost memory in order to retrieve the golden harp and release the sleepers, tasks he must complete in Wales, in the land of the Grey King. Ev ...more
Mary Overton
John Rowlands, merely human, struggles to explain his understanding of the Old Ones who maintain the Light:
"'... those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun.' Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. 'At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come fir
...more
Elizabeth
May 21, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
The Grey King is sort of a mix of Greenwitch and The Dark is Rising in terms of mythological/strange things happening. It lacks some of the “British seaside adventure” style found in Greenwitch, but also lacks some of the heavier mythical descriptions and happenings that occur in TDIR. I quite like the balance that it strikes between the two, and as a result I think The Grey King is one of my favorites in the series.

The introduction of Bran is a little strange if you haven’t yet noticed all the
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: alternate cover, please! 2 17 Mar 12, 2016 12:02AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Dark is Rising (5 books)
  • Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising, #1)
  • The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2)
  • Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising, #3)
  • Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5)

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“Still in the black hemisphere the stars blazed and slowly wheeled; beneath them, Will felt so infinitesimally small that it seemed impossible he should even exist. Immensity pressed in on him, terrifying, threatening--and then, in a swift flash of movement like a dance, like the glint of a leaping fish, came a flick of brightness in the sky from a shooting star... He heard Bran give a small chirrup of delight, a spark struck from the same bright sudden joy that filled his own being.” 6 likes
“He leaned forward suddenly, so that for an instant the strong, bearded face was clear; the voice softened, and there was an aching sadness in it. "Only the creatures of the earth take from one another, boy. All creatures, but men more than any. Life they take, and liberty and all that another man may have - sometimes through greed, sometimes through stupidity, but never by any volition but their own. Beware your own race, Bran Davies - they are the only ones who will ever harm you, in the end.” 6 likes
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