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The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
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The Dark is Rising Sequence

by Susan Cooper

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark is Rising Sequence (Omnibus 1-5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,193472,960 (4.3)2 / 32
  1. 20
    A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Both books vividly depict the merging of past and present, and have a strong sense of place and of local folklore.
  2. 00
    Seaward by Susan Cooper (Anonymous user)
  3. 00
    Foundling by D. M. Cornish (Bitter_Grace)
  4. 11
    The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay (Busifer)
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English (46)  German (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Over Sea, Under Stone
Main article: Over Sea, Under Stone
The characters in this book, which was published several years before the others, are younger than those in the rest of the series, and the issues are presented as less cosmic. Overall the book is aimed at younger readers more than the other four books in the series.

In this tale, Susan Cooper introduces us to Merriman, a pivotal character for the forces of the Light and also ties him with three young mortal children in a quest by the sea which will lead them over sea and under stone to find a grail of legend to help the Light in its struggle against the Dark.


[edit] The Dark Is Rising
In this book, Will Stanton begins to have strange experiences on his eleventh birthday, just before Christmas. He soon learns he is one of the Old Ones, a guardian and warrior for The Light. He learns that he must help find the four Things of Power for The Light in order to battle the forces of The Dark. The first of these Things of Power is the Circle of Six Signs.

This book is the key book for the main character, Will Stanton. It is in this book that he collects the six signs which become the Circle of Signs, one of the Things of Power, by finding the additional five mandala (he has been given one earlier) and uses the completed Circle to ward off the forces of The Dark.

The book features elements of English folklore that are especially associated with the Thames Valley with Herne the Hunter making an appearance.

This book received the 1974 Newbery Honor.


[edit] Greenwitch
This story returns to the characters introduced in Over Sea, Under Stone, uniting them with Will Stanton, and involves a quest for magic from beneath the sea.

Jane Drew witnesses the creation of a ritualistic offering known as the 'Greenwitch', and senses both great power and great sadness in it. She wishes that the Greenwitch could be happy, and that wish has important consequences later when it turns out that the Greenwitch possesses something that will unlock the secrets of the Grail.


[edit] The Grey King
Main article: The Grey King
In this book, Will is sent to Wales to recuperate after an illness. Here he meets Bran, the Pendragon son of King Arthur and befriends him. He must also awaken the Sleepers to fight the Dark.

The Grey King was awarded the 1976 Newbery Medal.

Welsh folklore is an important point in the book.


[edit] Silver on the Tree
All of the main characters from the other books in the sequence come together in this book, some meeting each other for the first time, and the current struggle between the Light and the Dark is resolved. All immortal characters except Will Stanton leave the Earth forever. All the mortal characters lose all memory of any dealings with magic and the Old Ones, though the Drews and Bran have snatches of something come back to them in dreams.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I read this series years ago and decided I wanted to revisit it this fall.

Rod and I took an in-state vacation this summer - traveling over unknown roads in Iowa. As we drove, this story came back to me. What I remembered was the need to stay on the old ways - to remain on the roads that had been established long, long ago. I thought about that as we drove down winding two-lane roads through NorthEast Iowa from one copse of trees to the next.

I want to be clear that these books are WAY more than that! The premise of this series is the world contains good and evil - has since the very beginning. And there are certain preordained times when the Light can take over for good. These books are the record of that final battle.

For me, this series was one of the first Good vs. Evil I met. In true YA fashion the players in this battle are teenagers - three normal, average siblings, an old one (the 7th son of a 7th son) and the son of King Arthur who has been removed from his own time to keep him safe. This group of five together with Merriman, their seasoned guide, face evil in different places and different times preparing for the final battle in the last book.

Rereading these after all these other recent YA dystopian books was interesting. I don't know if I could entice my niece to read these - they are fairly dense - but, so rewarding! Yes - you know who is going to win, but there is more to it than just that. There isn't a romance or flashy techno toys - it is just the kids and the elements. Instead there is a sense of a larger story - King Arthur's story woven through these books ties them in to a timeless story line.

I really liked these - again!! ( )
  kebets | Jan 1, 2016 |
I had been reading this book to Jefferson FOREVER. It was perhaps not the best pick for reading aloud, or at least not committing to the entire series at once. It made me truly hate Welsh (sorry). All these Welsh words thrown in and I'm just making up pronunciations, and then suddenly there is a two page discussion on proper Welsh pronunciations and "Argh! I hate you!" After a bit I gave myself permission to just skip all the Welsh. That helped.

Jefferson really liked it.

Maybe I am just too old. Maybe reading it aloud dragged the story out too long. Maybe I would have felt more accomplished reading it as individual books, but I just kept thinking of all the other books we could be reading. Like, I think we should start on Narnia soon. Or another fairy tale collection. Some science fiction. Watership Down.

But we are finally through to the other side! I can now appreciate some moments as good. I loved Bran (if not for the Welsh). I really quite liked most everything about the ending. I liked Jane, and Barney. Mostly, I like that we're done. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Best one-sentence review I ever heard about this book: "Clueless protagonist stands around while inexplicable mythemes bump into him." Still a fun read.
  weston1 | Jun 25, 2014 |
1. Over Sea, Under Stone

This is the first in The Dark is Rising sequence, of which I have a boxed set. One book in the series won the Newbery Award, while another was on the honours list.

This is the adventure that siblings Simon, Jane and Barney Drew have one summer in Cornwall, where they have been invited by their Great Uncle Merry (whom they call Gumerry). Tall, and somewhat forbidding, Gumerry tends to disappear mysteriously and then reappear suddenly, having discovered important archeological treasures abroad. As a long-standing family friend, he invites the entire family to come and stay with him in a house he rents from a friend of his in Trewissick (a fictional Cornish port, whose landscape plays an important role in the story).

One rainy day, the children explore the house and find a disintegrating document which pits them against sinister forces in a desperate race to find a long sought treasure, throwing them up against Arthurian legends and the ancient, unresolved battle between good and evil.

This book is, to me, typical of (British) children's books of that era; though it is aimed at children, it is solidly written and doesn't patronise them by glossing over details, as some children's books tend to do. Despite being a slim volume, at under 200 pages, it is crammed with narrative and quite intense in places; it had me sitting up breathlessly reading as fast as I could, as I got towards the end (even though I have read it in the past, when I was a child myself), hoping the children would beat the forces of nature and thwart the forces of evil.

A classic, and deservedly so. Five stars.
5*****

2. The Dark is Rising

This Newbery Medal Honours book though, like the rest of the sequence, not very thick, is very well written. It is not so much that it is rich in detail (though it is) as that the attention to detail makes it a beautifully crafted story. I can read it without being distracted by the way it has been written, or wondering "How did we suddenly jump to this point, when it looked like we were going in another direction altogether?" as I tend to do with a lot of contemporary works written for children.

It is a sad indictment of writing in this day and age that the 'Young Adult' or 'Juvenile Fiction' labels seem to give books permission to skimp on details or be badly paced or just generally not pay attention to the quality of the writing. Reading them next to Susan Cooper's books - or, indeed any classic; almost any children's book of yesteryear - betrays what insubstantial fare they are, like fast food compared to a decent, home-cooked meal.

"Booted and muffled, they clumped out through the sprawling kitchen. A full symphony orchestra was swelling out of the radio; their eldest sister Gwen was slicing onions and singing; their mother was bent broad-beamed and red-faced over an oven."
Just that half paragraph from The Dark is Rising sets the scene and puts you right in the middle of a chaotic, comfortable home life.

But back to the story:

On his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton comes into his inheritance, when he discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones who have defended the world against the Dark through the centuries. And in the darkest days of mid-winter when the Dark is at its strongest, he has to fulfill the prophecy and prevent the Dark from rising, while the Dark makes a desperate attempt to prevent Will from completing his mission. For Will is the Sign Seeker, who is to find the six signs that will win a powerful victory against the Dark; but success is not a foregone conclusion. The Grail has been found, and the final battle is coming, and everything could turn on the strength of this last and youngest of the Old Ones .

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.


Though slim, this Medal nominee is wonderfully crafted. Though it is written for children, it pulls no punches and the characters face real dangers.

On a personal note, I liked the Thames valley being an important feature in the plot.

I suppose in this day and age these books could also be classified as urban fantasy. Unlike most contemporary urban fantasy, where I'm never sure at what point to suspend disbelief, the magic and fantasy are seamlessly woven into events and feel like a logical extension, so that no suspension is necessary.

Very well written. Five stars.
5*****

( )
1 vote humouress | Jul 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cooperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosamilia, MikeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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First words
"Where is he?" (Over sea, under stone)
"Too many!" James shouted, and slammed the door behind him. (The Dark is rising)
Only one newspaper carried the story in detail, under the headline: Treasures Stolen From Museum. (Greenwitch)
"Are you awake, Will?" (The Grey King)
Will said, turning a page, "He liked woad." (Silver on the tree)
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Disambiguation notice
This LT work, The Dark Is Rising Sequence, is Books 1-5 (of 5 Books) in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence. Please distinguish it from any single titles in the series (i.e., Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree), and from any other combination(s) of part of the series. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0020425651, Paperback)

Joined by destiny, the lives of the Drew children, Will Stanton, and a boy named Bran weave together in an exquisite, sometimes terrifying tapestry of mystery and quests. In the five-title series of novels known as The Dark Is Rising Sequence, these children pit the power of good against the evil forces of Dark in a timeless and dangerous battle that includes crystal swords, golden grails, and a silver-eyed dog that can see the wind. Susan Cooper's highly acclaimed fantasy novels, steeped in Celtic and Welsh legends, have won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal and the Newbery Honor. Now all five paperback volumes have been collected in one smart boxed set. These classic fantasies, complex and multifaceted, should not be missed, by child or adult. The set includes Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A saga of the relentless battle between the Light and the Dark. As the Darkness threatens to take over, four children must do their part to fight for the victory of the Light - or all good will be lost forever.

» see all 3 descriptions

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