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Over Sea, Under Stone (1965)

by Susan Cooper

Other authors: Margery Gill (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark is Rising Sequence (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,6431201,327 (3.8)2 / 323
Three children on vacation in Cornwall find an ancient manuscript which sends them on a dangerous quest that entraps them in the eternal battle between the forces of the Light and the Dark.
  1. 30
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  2. 30
    The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Hibou8)
  3. 20
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (casvelyn)
  4. 20
    Earthfasts by William Mayne (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Another classic children's book with an Arthurian theme, bringing the Matter of Britain into the 20th century.
  5. 00
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  6. 00
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    humouress: The same sense of adventure, and children in mid 20th century Britain striving against sinister adults.
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» See also 323 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
I picked this book because I expected to read The Dark is Rising for my "NPR's Top 100 Young Adult Books" reading goal. I felt compelled to read an earlier book, so I fell bummed by it.
The pacing is slow. I did not enjoy reading this book, and I did not find anything noteworthy in the story. I fell asleep many times when I tried to continue reading it, so I don't remember much of the plot.
I will just read its summary somewhere and move on to The Dark is Rising. One cannot waste time rereading a book he/she doesn't like. ( )
  DzejnCrvena | Apr 2, 2021 |
Pretty much as far back as I can remember I thought that the Dark is Rising was the first book in its titular sequence, and yet my own copy of this book (from the library which I would have borrowed it from as a child) clearly states that the story starts here. Oh well, I guess we can all be dumb kids for a while before growing up (slightly). That being said, this book is as an excellent start to the series as the Dark is Rising, as we are introduced to some of the mainc characters (the Drew children), we get a rollicking adventure steeped in British mythology, and we start to get an idea about the good and bad forces which are coming into conflict and will ultimately define the series. Having read this book again it definitely makes me rethink my harsh judgement of Greenwitch as well, because without the fresh knowledge of the Drews (provided here) we are left without much of the knowledge to truly make sense of that story either! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
An entertaining but formulaic children's adventure; perfectly readable, with a few neat twists, but no classic. ( )
  cappybear | Jan 29, 2021 |
A young person's adventure Arthurian story. Children are on vacation in Cornwall and they find an ancient map in the attic of the house they are staying in. The map was a key to finding a grail for fighting evil known as the Dark. First volume of the fantasy series, The Dark is Rising. Published 1965. Classic, British Children literature. ( )
  Kristelh | Jan 2, 2021 |
Simon, Jane and Barney Drew arrive in the Cornish village of Trewissick to stay in the Grey House with their Great Uncle Merry, a friend of their mother’s family. There was always something slightly mysterious about Uncle Merry:

Always, wherever he was, unusual things seemed to happen. He would often disappear for a long time, and then suddenly come through the Drews’ front door as if he had never been away, announcing that he had found a lost valley in South America, a Roman fortress in France, or a burned Viking ship buried on the English coast. The newspapers would publish enthusiastic stories of what he had done. But by the time the reporters came knocking at the door, Great-Uncle Merry would be gone, back to the dusty peace of the university where he taught. They would wake up one morning, go to call him for breakfast, and find that he was not there. And then they would hear no more of him until the next time, perhaps months later, that he appeared at the door.

While they are exploring the house on a rainy day the children discover a treasure map, one that’s hundreds of years’ old, that has been copied from a map that’s centuries older still. But once they start to follow the clues on the map they discover that darker forces are also looking for the Arthurian grail to which the map leads, and the children must stay one step ahead ...

A fairly straightforward adventure story, but a good one nonetheless. And one that involves the exploration of sea caves with the tide coming in, something which I’ve realised I find unduly frightening, and which definitely added to the sense of peril for me. (I was brought up by the sea in an area where people got cut off by the tide on a reasonably regular basis, and I think the maxim that you must be aware of the tide at all times was one which was clearly drilled into me at a very early age).

This is the first book in Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ series. This is definitely a children’s book (I think the others in the series are YA), and I so wish I’d read this as a child as I would have loved it. ( )
1 vote SandDune | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
The story, which starts slowly, becomes more compelling as the supernatural starts to take over, although the mystic powers never reach the terrifying proportions they should have, and the ending, necessarily ambiguous, seems uncomfortably contrived.
added by rretzler | editKirkus Reviews (pay site) (Apr 20, 1966)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cooperprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gill, MargeryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, JulieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother and father, with love
First words
"Where is he?"

Barney hopped from one foot to the other as he clambered down from the train, peering in vain through the white-faced crowds flooding eagerly to the St Austell ticket barrier. "Oh, I can't see him. Is he there?"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work, Over Sea, Under Stone, is Book 1 (of 5 Books) in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence. Please distinguish it from other single titles in the series, and from any combination(s) of part or all of the series. Thank you.
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Three children on vacation in Cornwall find an ancient manuscript which sends them on a dangerous quest that entraps them in the eternal battle between the forces of the Light and the Dark.

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Average: (3.8)
0.5 4
1 12
1.5 4
2 61
2.5 20
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