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The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Book One: Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark Is Rising #1)

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  37,757 Ratings  ·  1,763 Reviews
On holiday in Cornwall, the three children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that hey 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 lives in peril.

This is the first volume
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Published August 28th 2007 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published 1965)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) For one thing, it came out in 1965, 51 years ago. For another, it deals with classical stuff--King Arthur, quests, etc. The author uses proper grammar…moreFor one thing, it came out in 1965, 51 years ago. For another, it deals with classical stuff--King Arthur, quests, etc. The author uses proper grammar because she was born in 1935, and because up until the last 10 years or so, in order to be considered for publication (back in the days when "book" meant "paper and a hard cover") you had to be able to write grammatically correct English. (less)
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mark monday
a slight but winning intro into a phenomenal series. this opening book follows the Drew children on summer holiday in Cornwall as they hurtle breathlessly from place to place, ancient map in hand and Arthurian treasure awaiting them as they skillfully avoid the forces of evil.

this is probably my 3rd or 4th time reading this book, and this particular time found me more amused than impatient. once upon a time, a long time ago, I started this series by reading The Magician's Nephew and then The Dar
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karen
Jul 02, 2010 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
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Rebecca McNutt
This is a short yet fast-paced, exciting and thrilling middle-grade novel, definitely much more amazing than I initially thought.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* by: Meg Hopp
4.5 stars

I have to admit I wasn't expecting a lot from this book -- I thought it would be much more geared toward the middle-grade crowd and probably fall in with the books I would've loved as a kid but if I read them now I'd be bored. But! I was happily surprised (and by surprised I mean snagged hook line and SINKER by this brilliance).

It starts out feeling very Narnia-esque; a family siblings go to stay with an eccentric uncle professor and then the kids discover a passage behind the wardrobe.
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Jason Koivu
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A Nancy Drew-esque adventure in which some kids with the last name Drew attempt to find the Holy Grail.

"Another book on the Arthur legend?" I groaned before commencing a hearty dismissive snore. I guess I didn't read the description close enough on Goodreads or on the back of the book. I knew it was YA, but expected magic. Even sampling of it. This was not the fantasy novel I was looking for.

These days reading about three English kids romping around the Cornwall seaside in search of King Arthur
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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
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
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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
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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
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Barb Middleton
Aug 24, 2013 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
Cherie
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story. I know that it is aimed a young reading group, but it was exciting and fun. There was enough mystery and danger to keep me wanting to listen. I am looking forward to the next book in the series to see what is next in store for the Drew children and their Great Uncle Merry.
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
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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
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Laura
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
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Richard
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.
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.
Kaitlin
Mar 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was bad... Really bad. I think maybe if I had read this as a young child it wouldn't have bothered me, but reading this as an adult it wasn't a good read....

I picked this book up as a recent Magical Space Pussycats read and I had hoped to enjoy reading a kid's fiction for once. Unfortunately this story really suffered from prejudices and poor writing so I found myself getting more and more frustrated page by page.

In this story we not only see three young British Middle-class children m
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Mathew
It was an absolute treat to revisit this book and begin again on the Dark is Rising journey. There is much to like about Cooper's writing, her characters and sense of place are strong but deep within the veins of the words is this sense of a connection with our history and heritage. I'm a suckler for anything with monoliths and megaliths in and this was is full to the brim. Not only that but much like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, there is this search and connection with an ancient past that I ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 12-15
Shelves: children
Three stars from the adult me. When I first read and raved about this series (or as much of it as I could find when I was in middle school--I think I never got hold of Vol 5), it would have been a solid five--or perhaps 7! I was King Arthur-mad in those days, and "fantasy fiction" was a relatively new phenomenon in my environment. The story of three siblings (and a dog) who search for the Holy Grail in Cornwall, dodging bad guys as they go, was just my drop in those days. I didn't remember anyth ...more
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
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
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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
Maree
Aug 19, 2011 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
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Michelle
Sep 26, 2007 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
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Samantha Tolleson
Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Arthruian Legend fans
Recommended to Samantha by: myself
SSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SLLLOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!
I've had to restart the book three times.
It has taken me quite a while just to get to the point that I'm at.

GIFSoup
I will give Cooper credit that is due. The adventure is interesting, but it is so dragged out.
Corey
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Clever, funny, very well written, and at times well nigh epic.

This was in the Juvenile section of my local library. I'd wager it's nowhere near as juvenile as half the books in the Adult Fiction section.
Tom Ewing
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My kids (7 and 9) having spurned bedtime stories, decided they wanted them again. I unilaterally picked this. How does it work as a read-aloud? Extremely well. Cooper is particularly good at describing places and scenes simply and evocatively, so they're a pleasure to read for Dad but keep kids' attention too. The lead characters are a bit priggish and stiff by modern standards but the quest plot works well: it's constructed so an attentive child can work out each step moments before the Drews d ...more
Rowie
Find the treasure, said the note I read on a birthday party. I knew it was only a game, but I reveled in finding the clues. While the other kids were wondering when it was time to eat fries or what the prize at the end would be, I felt important and adventurous. Although I have to admit I was a bit dissapointed when I found out what the chest at the end of the treasure hunt contained. I don't know what was inside of it anymore, but I do remember the excitement of the journey.

Over Sea, Under Ston
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Cyndi
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The parents are oblivious, the uncle is the facilitator, three siblings playing together when they find a map. This is a classic formula but it usually works. It works in this book as well.
Of course we know that the idea of young children working as a team and not having any fights are as unlikely as them finding a grail, but we oblivious parents can always hope. But then, i'd ground my kids for a month if I ever found out they took such risks so that maybe why they would keep me oblivious. Hm
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Anwen
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book so many times over the years, but every time I open it I am amazed anew at just how good the writing is. I cut my English language teeth on children's authors such as Cooper, Alexander and Garner. Of today's writers, only Gaiman and Nix have that effortless elan of fantastic writing coupled with a real depth and breadth of knowledge about their chosen subjects.

As an author, Cooper is detached, which allows the warmth of the characters themselves to shine through. This is a
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Seeking Tumnus podcast review of Over Sea, Under Stone 1 2 Sep 13, 2017 04:03PM  
Silver Stag Book ...: Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper 2 16 Jan 03, 2014 08:24PM  
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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
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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)
“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.” 28 likes
“You remember the fairy tales you were told when you were very small - 'once upon a time...' Why do you think they always began like that?"
"Because they weren't true," Simon said promptly.
Jane said, caught up in the unreality of the high remote place, "Because perhaps they were true once, but nobody could remember them.”
13 likes
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