Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper

I may be the last person in the world to read this series. I had never heard of it until recently when another blogger listed her top 10 children's books.

Just in case I'm not the last, the series comprises five books:
Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark is Rising
Greenwitch
The Grey King
Silver On The Tree

The first and third books follow the Drew family and their adventures with their "Uncle" Merry. Merry is a rather mysterious figure who appears and disappears at odd times and seems to have been around forever. Their holiday in Cornwall leads to danger and intrigue, and they discover that "Gummery" is more than they imagined he could be.

The second book is confusing at first, as the Drews don't appear at all. Rather we have Will Stanton, who on his 11th birthday discovers that not only is he involved in the eternal struggle between good and evil, but that he plays a pivotal role.

Will joins the Drews in Cornwall in the third book, where they again must battle the Dark for one of the objects necessary to win the final battle.

In The Grey King, Will travels to Cornwall to recover from a serious illness. There he meets Bran, my favourite character of the series.

In Silver on the Tree the Drews meet up with Will and Bran in Wales and we discover whether the Light can triumph over the Dark.

Although written for children (and over 30 years ago), the books do not hold back on suspense and the peril facing the children is real. I felt a need to carry on reading to discover what happened next. I read all five books in a matter of days (night feeds are good for something!) and couldn't wait to discover what happened. I really enjoyed the references to British history as well as Celtic mythology and the Arthurian legends.

I would recommend the series to anyone who hasn't read it!

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Have you read this book or any other good books lately? If so let me know what you think...