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Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

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
5,1361081,299 (3.81)1 / 291
  1. 20
    The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Hibou8)
  2. 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.
  3. 20
    Elidor by Alan Garner (bookwyrmm)
  4. 00
    Mystery at Witchend by Malcolm Saville (humouress)
    humouress: The same sense of adventure, and children in mid 20th century Britain striving against sinister adults.
  5. 00
    The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway (bookwyrmm)

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Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
This book is so much better by itself as opposed to being a park of 'The Dark is Rising' sequence. I read this many, many times growing up, conservatively, perhaps six times before I picked up 'The Dark is Rising'. 'Over Sea, Under Stone' was a brilliant, dark successor to books like E. Nesbit's 'The Enchanted Castle', or as a less moral Narnia book. I loved the idea of exploring an old house and uncovering an old mystery, treasure maps, etc.

The interactions between the siblings were pretty accurate, full of squabbles and understanding - and the villains were eerie, to say the least. Creepy, smiley bastards straight out of a Stranger Danger after-school special. Some moments, like during the mask festival, bothered me for a long time after reading it, simply because some turns of events were unexpected to say the least.

A great dark fantasy with only light touches on the conventions of the genre, with liberal bits of Arthurian mythology mixed in. The problem I have with the rest of the Dark is Rising sequence is how heavy-handed the mythology and magic became, the story became almost enslaved to it, to the point where the characters receded from front-and-center to little game pieces of a greater scheme. Which is fine, if that's the kind of story you started out with, but that wasn't the case with 'Over Sea, Under Stone'.

The Dark is Rising

Next: 'The Dark is Rising' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper; (5*)

I don't know what I expected when I began this Y/A book but it certainly wasn't the ride I was taken on. Most of the reviews I had read on this title were underwhelming to say the least so it was a very pleasant surprise to me when I found myself so ingrained in the story that I literally got goose bumps, didn't hear my husband when he spoke to me and was on the edge of the chair for most of the book. I could not put it down. And now I can't wait for the entire set of the series to arrive. I ordered it as soon as I completed Over Sea, Under Stone.
The story begins with Simon, Jane and Barney arriving with their parents for a nice holiday visiting their great Uncle Merry in Cornwall.
But then, but then............the children find an ancient map in the attic while exploring the old house. They must unravel the mystery of the map and what it might possibly lead them to. They try to keep it a secret but word gets out somehow and strange & somewhat frightening people begin to follow them and ask them questions. All of a sudden everybody seems very interested in them. And why is their Great-Uncle being so protective of them? Are they in danger? Their Uncle Merry has discussed the fight between the Light and the Dark and tells the children that as long as the Light is still out there, the Dark cannot overcome all.
This book is a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a roller coaster of a thrilling series. This book is not openly about the battle between the Light and the Dark. It is just about three children trying to understand the map and what it is leading them to.
Susan Cooper has done a very good job of writing this little thriller. It sucked me right in and I was frightened when the children were frightened and found myself saying aloud: "No, don't tell him. He isn't good." I was in it with the kids all the way.
I highly recommend this book to youngsters & adults alike who enjoy a tingling good story. ( )
8 vote rainpebble | Feb 14, 2019 |
I love this book and this series tons, but it didn't work out so well as a read-aloud with our 10-year-old. I'm a bit sad that he didn't enjoy it as much as I do, but maybe in a couple of years he'll revisit the series. ( )
  scaifea | Sep 22, 2018 |
I enjoyed the writing, and the characters quite a lot. The plot, on the other hand, felt weak. Events happened far too conveniently. The narration was good, and I recall being very impressed with the second book in this series. I've heard from others that this is the weakest book in the series, so I'll keep listening and see how it goes. ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
I happen to own the third book in this series, but decided to start the series at the beginning, so I got this out of the library. I read a lot of middle grade books with my 10 year old. It was interesting to get into this one, because compared to a lot of the other middle grade fantasy books I've been reading recently this is a lot slower and the children are a lot calmer than in some of the newer books. It took me a bit to get into it just because I expected a lot more action from the description, but once I put my expectations aside I was eager to watch the kids work through the mystery, and rooting for them when the unsavory adults were after them.
  GretchenLynn | Feb 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)

» 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0020427859, Mass Market Paperback)

On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they 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 very lives in peril.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:03 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Three children on a holiday in Cornwall find an ancient manuscript which sends them on a dangerous quest for a grail that would reveal the true story of King Arthur and that entraps them in the eternal battle between the forces of the Light and the forces of the Dark.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Average: (3.81)
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2.5 18
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