I actually started this series, although I didn't know it was such at the time, back in 1993 whenI was in Junior High, with the fourth volume. It wasn..Show More »'t until about ten years later that I got the proper skinny on it and read the series in proper order. Over Sea, Under Stone opens with the Drew family, Dick, Ellen and their three young children, arriving in Cornwall for a summer vacation, which they'll be spending with their Great Uncle Merry, a mysterious professor who often appears unexpectedly on the Drews' doorstep to vanish just as quickly in the night. While exploring the massive house that Uncle Merry, Meriman Lyon to the wider world, the three Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney, discover an ancient manuscript which they believe to be a map showing the location of what they believe to be an ancient treasure. Though a game to the three Drews, the importance of the manuscript begins to surface, first when a mysterious man and a woman claiming to be his sister appear and ask the Drews about secret passages and maps, then even more so later when the house is burglarized while the Drews sleep. Realizing what the thieves must have been after, the childen show the manuscript, which they managed to keep safe, to Uncle Merry, who reveals that the treasure is in fact an ancient grail from the time of King Arthur. Thus begins a dangerous race as the Drews attempt to decipher the clues of the map and reach the grail before their myysterious enemies do. But it quickly becomes apparent that their foes, though relatively few in number, are extremely resourceful, and the outcome of the race is continually in doubt. As usual with audiobooks, the narrator can sometimes ruin the experience even if the story itself is good. Fortunately that wasn't the case here. British actor Alex Jennings not only has a good voice for storytelling but also a talent for accents and dialects that lend personality to the characters he portrays, from the Cornish accents of the village locals to Uncle Merry's deep, commanding tones. This is definitely a listen I wuld recommend to others. It's not an entirely traditional fantasy with swords, dragons and wizards but it's a gripping tale all the same.
Well, I have to say I never thought I'd hear Susan Cooper criticized for not creating a believable world, though everyone's tastes are different. I re..Show More »ad these books frequently as a child and absolutely adored them. The whole series weaves together a large number of old British folk traditions and legends to form a tight plot fabric. I have no trouble deciphering British accents, so the reader isn't a problem for me either.
Susan Cooper delivers yet another solid installment in the Dark is Rising sequence. Greenwitch opens with the thheft of the priceless golden grail rec..Show More »overed by the three Drew children in Over Sea, Under Stone. The culprits are the forces of the Dark, who are reeling from their midwinter defeat at the hands of Will Stanton and Meriman Lyon, but still determined to prevent the Light from achieving a final victory. Lyon enlists the Drews as well as Will to journey to Cornwall in an effort to reclaim the grail. As it happens, they arrive just in time for Jane to witness an ancient ceremony performed by the women of Cornwall every Spring, the making of the Greenwitch. This strange fashioning of leaves and branches is believed to bring good fortune when cast into the sea, but it soon becomes apparent that there may be more to this mysterious being than meets the eye. Things become complicated when Jane forms a strange bond of sympathy with the enigmatic being and even more so when the creature warily shows Jane its most prized possession, a small leaden case lost at the time of the finding of the grail. This case contains the only manuscript capable of deciphering the strange engravings on the surface of te golden grail, and the Dark are also after it. Will the Drews and Will succeed in recovering the grail? And even if they do, how will they persuade the Greenwitch to part with its treasure? Once again Susan Cooper delivers a solid story and narrator Alex Jennings more than does it justic. I couldn't put it down for long.
This was actually the first book of the sequence that I ever read. At that time I didn't know it was part of a series. This latest adventure begins wh..Show More »en Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones, is sent to visit relatives in Whales while he recovers from a bout of Hepatitis. Soon after his arrival he meets Bran, an introverted, pale boy who seems to know something of Will's true nature and his business. It soon becomes apparent that even here the forces of the Dark, and indeed one of their most powerful lords, are at work, with the unwitting but not entirely unwilling aid of a disagreeable farmer with a grudge against Bran's father. Will the two boys be able to accomplish their mission before all is lost? This is the only book in the series not read by Alex Jennings. Fortunately Richard Mitchley, Jennings' stand-in, has both a good voice for storytelling and a good ear for accents and dialects. This is a fairly short book but I couldn't put it down for long.
This is a worthy conclusion to the series. It begins with the Stanton family, all of wom are home for the summer holidays. When Will's elder brother S..Show More »teven intervenes in the matter of an Indian boy being teased by a group of local villagers, the family finds themselves pitted against the hateful father of one of the bullies, an encounter that reminds Will of the absolute power the forces of the Dark will wield if the Circle of Light is unable to push them back. The next stage of the quest begins that night when Meriman Lyon appears to Will and tells him that the time has come for the six signs of light, gathered during the events of The Dark is Rising, to be recovered from the place where they were hidden following their joining. The time for the final battle between the Light and the Dark is drawing near, and the forces of Light must be ready for that critical moment. Recovering the signs is the easyy part. But Will and his friends must also recover an ancient sword, the one weapon that, combined with the six signs, can bring a final end to the threat of the Dark. This sword, however, lies in the Lost Land, in the keeping of its despairing maker. Only Will and Bran Davies, the latter being the lately revealed son of the legendary King Arthur, have any hope of reaching the Lost Land, and even then they must still reach the tower where the king of that realm has hidden himself in his despair. And once there they must find some way to rouse the king from his despair and persuade him to part with the sword. Will their efforts be enough to turn back the forces of the Dark in their greatest rising? All in all this is a worthy conclusion to the series. Alex Jennings returns for this final installment and as usual he does an excellent job of narrating it.