Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Over Sea, Under StoneInformation

Goodreads: Over Sea, Under Stone
Series: The Dark Is Rising Sequence #1
Source: Purchased
Published: 1965


While on vacation in Cornwall, Simon, Barney, and Jane Drew discover an ancient manuscript that points to the hiding place of the Holy of Grail of Arthurian legend.  At first the children think their discovery a new type of game, but as they try to decode the puzzle, they find themselves in the middle of an ancient struggle between good and evil.


The first book in Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence follows in the footsteps of fantasy giants like E. Nesbit and C. S Lewis, introducing readers to a to a modern-day Britain both familiar and strange.  Though the village of Trewissick seems like a typical holiday spot, the Drew children soon learn that the area has an intriguing past, all bound up with King Arthur and the legendary Holy Grail.  That past comes alive when the same forces that fought Arthur return to claim the Grail.

The great charm of Over Sea, Under Stone comes not only from the collision of magic with the everyday world, but also from the normality of the Drew children.  None of them possesses unbelievable intelligence or athleticism; none of them possesses some arcane skill that just so happens to be the one thing that will enable them to save the day.  They are relatable and believable, and readers feel that, in the place of the Drew children, they, too, would have the ability to solve the mystery.

Over Sea, Under Stone makes magic in the everyday world seem not only possible, but even probable.  Its deep sense of history reveals the layers that combine to make our present, and in the process inspires surprise and wonder.  Sometimes the current  glut of fantasy series on the market makes finding a good one seem impossible, but it is no mistake The Dark Is Rising sequence has turned into a genre classic.

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9 thoughts on “Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

    • Krysta says:

      I thought the series fluctuated in terms of quality. I liked the first book, the second book not as much, the third book was better, and so on. It was a bit disconcerting as at times I wanted to continue the series immediately and other times I thought I would just never get around to it.


    • Krysta says:

      I don’t think you really need to read the books in order. Even though the events are linear, nothing in any book really relies on knowledge of the previous ones. It’s pretty funny that you didn’t read the series in order, though!


    • Krysta says:

      I wanted to read the series for such a long time because I knew it was considered a fantasy classic, so I’m glad I finally got around to it!


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