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Over Sea, Under Stone: John C Adams Reviews

Book name: Over Sea, Under Stone

Author: Susan Cooper

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Format: Print, ebook

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1965

Star Rating: 5/5

Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ sequence begins with Over Sea, Under Stone.

Simon, Jane and Barney Drew are on holiday with their parents in Cornwall.

Their father is keen to have a couple of weeks of peace, and their artist mother wants to spend most of her time painting.

Luckily, they are also holidaying with Great Uncle Merry, who always seems a source of excitement and mystery to the children.

It isn’t long before the Drews encounter adventure of their own. On a rainy day, they explore their holiday cottage, the Grey House. They find an old map and decide to take it.

Deciphering the meaning of the map, which they instantly decide is a treasure map, enlivens the Drews’ holiday.

But they still find time for sailing when invited by a tourist Mr Withers and his sister Polly to spend the day of their yacht.

This is the Drews’ first introduction to the Dark. They are soon pursued by Mr Withers and his associates, and the Grey House is even burgled.

From these events the Drews deduce that their map is valuable and that the powers of the Dark are trying to snatch the document in order to find the treasure.

Great Uncle Merry provides them with encouragement and guidance when needed, but the quest essentially remains that of the Drew children.

Four books lie ahead in Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ sequence, but Over Sea, Under Stone is where it all begins. We won’t meet Will Stanton until the second book, and won’t see the Drews and Will together until the third story.

However, the treasure that the Drews seek and their place in the sequence is critically important. Plus, meeting Merriman Lyon for the first time lays the foundation for his role in later books as an Old One who guides Will in his battle against the Dark.

I love going back to the first book in the sequence. Over Sea, Under Stone is a great standalone story in its own right with plenty of drama and an atmospheric introduction to Cornwall and a location that the story returns to in the third book.

Thank you for reading my review.

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John C Adams Reviews Over Sea, Under Stone

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