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Der Graue König (The Dark Is Rising #4)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  24,888 ratings  ·  533 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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Steven Jameson They had us read this over summer vacation when I was in elementary school, I didn't realize until now that it's part of a series. I thought something…moreThey had us read this over summer vacation when I was in elementary school, I didn't realize until now that it's part of a series. I thought something was off but it wasn't enough for me to question it I guess.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ademilson Moraes
The Grey King is possibly my favourite book of this sequence. It's a lovely, lovely book. This is the most layered of the books, I think: 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 and the more complex grief and guilt of Owen Davies, which I'm not sure a younger reader would be able to fully understand.

The characters in this book are all excellent. We have one new main character, completing our six, and that is, of co
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
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
Maggie Stiefvater
*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.
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
Jun 04, 2007 Lexish rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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, kids! There's a reason Susan Cooper won the Newberry 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. Su ...more
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
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
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.

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
Jul 23, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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;
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.
"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
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
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
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
My 10 year old daughter and I just finished reading The Grey King together and we both agree it was a fantastic book! This is the fourth book in the Dark is Rising sequence and I do recommend that if you haven't read the first three to read them before starting The Grey King. There is background information and character histories that are needed to really understand what is going on in The Grey King.

Will Stanton, the last of the Old Ones and sworn defender of the Light, is sent to Wales to rec
Maria M. Elmvang
A 3.5 star review.

I was glad to see that I finally warmed to Will in this one, and I really liked Bran. His heritage was perhaps slightly contrived, but I thought it worked well enough. I'm not really sure I get what the Grey King was trying to do though... perhaps just work chaos, because he also knew who Bram was?

I'm still not blown away by this series, but it is turning out to be better than I'd originally thought, and now it would just be silly not to finish it ;-)
Murray Ewing
Staying with relatives in Wales while recovering from hepatitis, Will Stanton finds himself involved in his ‘first full quest as an Old One’: the search for the golden Harp of Light that will awaken the Sleepers, to aid in his battle against the Dark.

He befriends Bran, a local boy of his own age, an albino who, though he is not an Old One, has some awareness of their world of magic, or at least of the local legends and myths that relate to the terrible Grey King, who Will soon finds himself pitt
I am really not a fan of this series thus far and Cooper will have to have done a lot to get me to even like it. In this fourth installment of The Dark is Rising series, Will Stanton heads to Wales after surviving a life-threatening illness so he can recover his strength. Of course, a quest is built in, and with the help of a mysterious young boy, Will works to awaken the Sleepers as the ultimate battle with the Dark draws near.

I think one of the biggest things that drives me crazy about this se
Just posted this review on my blog - check out this and many more young adult book reviews and recommendations there.


Rating : 4.2 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended : 10 and up

I think that The Grey King was an action - packed book, but it also had the sorrows of life.

The Grey King so far, was the most suspenseful book in the series, and it was all revolving around one mysterious being. That being could have made the difference between Will's life and death.

In this book
Having read this book makes up a part of the fabric of my very being. It is strange since today I barely remember even what this book is about, but when I was a lonely eleven-year-old who had two friends in the world and a couple of hundred who were made of paper this book is part of what made me want to stay alive.

It also made me fall in love with Arthurian myths and legends, taught me how to read carefully, and made me fall in love with Wales. Years later, when I took my first literature cour
Charles McGonigal
OK now the game has been stepped up. Really dug into this one - a more mature story and quotable lines everywhere. Brought Churchill to mind in terms of defining both the conflict and those who have to lead the fight against it. I hope the sequence finishes this strongly.
May 18, 2014 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who would feel a bit silly stopping 3/5ths of the way through
Shelves: literature
Once again, Cooper sets the mood admirably. I get the feeling of Wales here. At least, I think I do, I've never actually been there. Anyway, the light is still good. The dark is still bad. I'm never actually surprised by outcomes but, despite the fact that half the words she uses have been banished from the SATs, this is a kid's book. I feel like the books of yesteryear were a bit more straightforward.

Side story...I once was backpacking in Glacier National Park when rain started rolling in over
so many beautiful and unsettling moments in this book.

"Will stilled his fingers on the golden harp, and its delicate melody died, leaving only the whisper of the wind. He felt drained, as though all strength had gone out of him. For the first time he remembered that he was not only an Old One, but also a convalescent, still weak from the long illness that in the beginning had sent him to Wales.

For a flicker of an instant too, then, he remembered what John Rowlands had said about the coldness at
Will Stanton, the youngest of the Old Ones has been very ill. In order for him to recuperate fully his parents send him to the Welsh countryside to stay with friends. Once there Will becomes friends with Bran, a boy about his age who is an albino. The two of them must then battle the Grey King and win. The Grey King, however, is the strongest entity of the Dark. He knows what Will and Bran are trying to do and manipulates the world around them to keep them at bay.

For whatever reason, I have like
I don't know how I went for 43 years without reading this series. Maybe this is just the right time in my life for it, but the mythology and legend plus the clear and beautiful writing have resulted in books I cannot put down until I have reached the end. Already, the characters seem like old friends and the setting calls to me. I love reading about Wales, and the Welsh language is magic enough for me. I loved that there was some teaching in the book for pronunication of Welsh syllables, and I f ...more
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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 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)
The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2) Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising, #1) 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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“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
“Go away," he said. "Go away. I wish you had never come here. I wish I had never heard of the Light and the Dark, and your damned old Merriman and his rhymes. If I had your golden harp now I would throw it in the sea. I am not a part of your stupid quest anymore, I don't care what happens to it. And Cafall was never a part of it either, or a part of your pretty pattern. He was my dog, and I loved him more than anything in the world, and now he is dead. Go away.” 6 likes
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