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

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  32,587 Ratings  ·  1,442 Reviews
On holiday in Cornwall, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew discover an ancient map in the attic of the Grey House, where they are staying with their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry. They know immediately that it is special. But it is much more than just a map. It is the start of a quest to find a grail, a source of great power that could contain - or resurrect - the powerful, age-ol ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 30th 2010 by Red Fox (first published 1965)
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Hans Alexander Not really, but if i were u i would read it cuz: 1- It gives a good set up for the story 2- In my opinion is the best book in the series-
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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Jul 04, 2010 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
It’s time for a The Dark is Rising sequence readathon again! If you wish to join, you can do so via this blog. It’s the perfect time of year to reread the books, at least the second one in particular, with the winter solstice coming up. I always try and read them around this time of year!

With that said, here goes my millionth (ish) review of Over Sea, Under Stone. I’ve noted before that it’s basically an Enid Blyton adventure/mystery story, with Arthurian trappings. This time through, I noticed
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
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
Dec 20, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
This book is the first of a series. It has a weird family resemblance to the Chronicles of Narnia: some children explore a mysterious old house while on holiday by the Cornish seaside. There is even a wardrobe, albeit not one that functions as a conduit to a magical world. The book seems to start off somewhat slowly but builds up to a very tense climax near the end, as Simon, Jane and Barnabas Drew grapple with the powers of evil aided by Great-Uncle Merry and a lovable dog named Rufus.
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.
"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
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
Jan 20, 2013 Maree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 04, 2007 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

--Book read as part of the Dust off your Classics challenge!! Click HERE for my full post about it.

Abridged Review
So I finally finished this!!
I am so proud of myself. Not because it was an awful book, it was definitely a solidly good book.

More so because all the reading time I have had lately has been squarely devoted to grad school readings (which are immensely long and thick and critical and BLAH). So when I am done with those I am so drained that the thought of read
Stephan Benzkofer
Sep 08, 2013 Stephan Benzkofer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Barb Middleton
Aug 24, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sep 30, 2009 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ashlee Willis
My 8 year old son would have given this book a higher rating I am sure. I think he must be more patient than I am. But I had trouble making it through this book for some reason. From the too-drawn-out events that happened in the story, to the maddening way the children had of foolishly doing the exact wrong thing time and again, to the author's attempt to utterly drown the readers in adverbs...I was ready for this book to be over when we were barely halfway through. That being said, it wasn't a ...more
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
Mar 25, 2013 Bev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 03, 2016 Ivy-Sue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I very much so disliked this book. I very rarely dislike books, but I just did not enjoy this one. I'm not going to read any of the sequels. I just am not interested enough to keep going. There were a lot of loose ends and a lot of things that could have been spiced up a bit more, meaning the language could have been more extensive or there could've been more detail in a certain area to make it stand out more if it was important. I just think this author should've thought more about what they we ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating: 3.75 / 5

There’s nothing more rewarding than picking a long-unread book from your shelf and coming away from it satisfied. I can’t tell you how long I’ve neglected Over Sea, Under Stone, the first installment of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence. Two years? Maybe three? It may be a good idea to prioritize more recent releases (Over Sea, Under Stone will be 50 years old in 2016), but that doesn’t help with alleviating TBR guilt. So, I decided to stop feeling guilty and dive
Tyler Jones
Feb 03, 2013 Tyler Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
I think kids today are more sophisticated readers when it comes to plot that they were fifty years ago, so a book like this might seem slow paced and boring compared to Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. Still, we might not have these later novels were it not for the ground breaking work of Susan Cooper. The Dark is Rising Sequence, of which Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book, stands as one of the models that today's j-fantasy is based on. Rick Riordan owes as much to Susan Cooper as One Direct ...more
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
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
Jan 27, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben De Bono
Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy threatens to fire a grenade launcher at the ark? The ending of this books leaves you feeling as cheated at you have in Raiders if he'd pulled the trigger. Still, my daughter (much more the target audience than me) really enjoyed it, which means we'll be reading the rest in the series. Hopefully they get better from here
Aug 17, 2007 Yi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: justread
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
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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)
  • The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2)
  • Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising, #3)
  • The Grey King (The Dark is Rising, #4)
  • Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #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.” 27 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.” 7 likes
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