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Over Sea, Under Stone
Book 1 - The Dark is Rising Sequence
By Susan Cooper

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Over Sea, Under Stone

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Over Sea, Under Stone
Large Print Edition
Book 1 - The Dark is Rising Sequence
By Susan Cooper
Thorndike Press - Large Print (2000)
ISBN: 0-7862-2918-7
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 19, 2002

Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in a five-part series written by Susan Cooper. Written in a style that is reminiscent of that used by C. S. Lewis in his Narnia series, this book introduces the reader to the Drew children; Simon, Barnabas, and Jane. The children are destined to go on a quest to find the Grail. The Grail is needed by the forces of the Light, for use in their upcoming, and final battle, against the forces of the Dark.

In a classic battle of good versus evil, the forces of the Dark try to prevent the Drews from achieving their goal of finding the . This is the same Grail of Arthurian legend, and this is but one of the numerous analogies made to the events surrounding King Arthur and his reign, and ancient Cornish history. Luckily, Barnabas, a.k.a. Barney is an avid fan of King Arthur and his knowledge comes in very handy as they endeavor to achieve their quest.

The children's quest begins in Cornwall, England when they find an old map. They are in Cornwall, with their parents, visiting their Great Uncle Merriman Lyon, better know to the children as Gumerry. He is an intriguing character who comes and goes without warning, yet he always manages to be in the right place at the right time. As the children soon learn, there is much more to Gumerry than there first appears. (Watch out for a hint to who Gumerry really is, toward the end of the book.) During their stay in Cornwall, they stay in the Grey House, that comes complete with a dog, by the name of Rufus who becomes an instant ally to the children. Like Gumerry, Rufus seems to have a mystical bent.

The children trust Gumerry implicitly, and although they do not understand the true natures of the forces of Light and Dark, they intuitively align themselves with the forces of Light. And, it quickly becomes apparent to them that they are destined to play a vital role in preventing the Dark from triumphing. To succeed in their quest the children must be brave, and cunning, as there are many forces aligned against them that will stop at nothing to prevent them from finding the Grail. In addition to outwitting the Dark forces, they will have to decipher the map they found, and to follow the clues it reveals by solving a variety of puzzles. And through it all, they must follow the quest on their own. Gumerry offers advice at times, but the children solve all the puzzles and riddles on their own.

This is a fun and suspenseful book that will have you rooting for the Drew children from the very first. The story is fast paced, intelligent, and epic in its breadth. The story comes to a satisfying end, yet you know that it is just the beginning...

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