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Over Sea, Under Stone (Puffin Books) Paperback – Illustrated, 30 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; New Ed edition (30 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140303626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140303629
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.5 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 515,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Beautifully told...superbly written." -- "New York Times" on The Dark Is Rising Sequence

Book Description

The first thrilling book in the classic The Dark Is Rising sequence. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 31 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Simon, Jane & Barney are off on their summer holidays with their mum & dad, to a holiday house in the village of "Trewissick" on the Cornish Coast, where they will all stay with Great-Uncle-Merry in a rambling old house overlooking the sea. They are all thrilled to be going to Cornwall, but none more so than Barney, the youngest, who loves the stories of Arthurian Legend and dreams of stories of King Arthur and his Knights. He can't wait to see Cornwall, the land of the Pendragon, the centre of Arthurian myth.

On a miserable rainy day at the beginning of their holiday, the children decide to make an adventure of exploring the house where they are staying. Locked cabinets, chests and personal papers are out of bounds but they are free to explore the rest of the house as they like. In real Enid Blyton style they soon discover a secret stairway hidden behind a large heavy wardrobe in the boys' bedroom... and off they go to explore.... An ancient treasure map soon emerges & the children have found an adventure for their holiday... secrets to discover.

But are they out of their depth? They don't seem to be the only people chasing after hidden treasure. Soon, they find an ally in Great-Uncle-Merry & Rufus, the dog... but can they reach the treasure before the sour Mr & Miss Withers, the rude ruddy-faced boy, Billy and the man they think is the vicar?!!

A good, innocent, Famous-Five-style adventure story (first published In 1965), with just a hint of Arthurian legend & magic thrown in. From reading other reviews, it sounds as though the magic & legend are developed in the rest of the series, so here I guess just the foundations are laid. The children are all very cheery, optimistic, happy-go-lucky, although individual characters aren't developed at all in the story. Well-written, with more depth than an Enid Blyton story, lacks pace in a few places but overall recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
Few stories are more popular among readers than the age old battle between good and evil, which is exemplified in the legend of King Arthur. Susan Cooper gives that scenario an imaginative twist with "Over Sea, Under Stone." It's a narrative sure to pique the imaginations of young ones, especially as read by popular British actor Alex Jennings.
When, during a vacation in today's Cornwall, the Drew children discover an old manuscript in the attic of their rented house, they suddenly find themselves involved in an exciting and dangerous quest. Their very lives are jeopardized as they search for the grail, the one antidote to the power of evil called the Dark. Their Great Uncle Merry is on their side, but much of what he knows he isn't telling.
Ms. Cooper's prose is both concise and thrilling; Mr. Jennings's reading is superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on 17 Dec 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
"...in the old days when the struggle between good and evil was more bitter and open than it is now. That struggle goes on all round us all the time, like two armies fighting. And sometimes one of them seems to be winning and sometimes the other, but neither has ever triumphed altogether...But those men who remembered the old world have been searching for its secret ever since. And there have been others searching as well - the enemies, the wicked men, who have the same greed in their cold hearts as the men whom Arthur fought."

- Great-Uncle Merry ("Gummery")

"So therefore, I trust it to this land, over sea and under stone, and I mark here the signs by which the proper man, in the proper place, may know where it lies..."

- from a certain manuscript

I recommend the unabridged audio edition read by Alex Jennings (who played Nevil the junior solicitor in the 1988 TV adaptation of THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR). I enjoy hearing what the Cornish dialect sounds like; Jennings has a very pleasant voice and works at making the characters distinct.

--

This first volume of the five book series THE DARK IS RISING can stand on its own; I read it years before learning that it had sequels and didn't feel cheated.

The entire series features six principal characters, four of whom are introduced here: the three Drew children (Simon, Jane, and Barney) and their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry, a distinguished scholar of history and legend (especially King Arthur). The kids can hardly believe that the unpredictable Gummery, usually far away on digs or at university, will be with them for an entire month's holiday in Trewissick, a seacoast village in Cornwall where their artist mother has come to paint and their father to fish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 July 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good read, for children from nine or ten upwards. Its beautifully written and exciting, with a good sense of place. It does go over slightly worn ground and its treatment of Jane, the only central female character is dreadful. She is a girl truely stuck in the 1950's, disapproving of the boys adventures- a cardboard cut out of a female character.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun 2000
Format: Paperback
The author beautifully captures the essense of cornwall in this fantsy book about magic. This book is the first in the series about how three very ordinary children get caught up in the battle between light and dark. With amazing characters of which similar can only be found in children's books as wonderful as 'Harry Potter'. Perfect for young children and adults a like. I recommend all the books in the 'Dark is Rising' series
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