“Once upon a time…a long time ago…things that happened once, perhaps, but have been talked about for so long that nobody really knows. And underneath all the bits that people have added, the magic swords and lamps, they’re all about one thing-the good hero fighting the giant, or the witch, of the wicked uncle. Good against bad. Good against evil…Sometimes, over the centuries, this ancient battle come to a peak. The evil grows very strong and nearly wins. But always at the same time there is some leader in the world, a great man who sometimes seems to be more than a man, who leads the forces of good to win back the ground and the men they seemed to have lost…King Arthur was one of these.”
-Merriman Lyon-Over Sea, Under Stone Chapter 6
When three children discover the key to finding King Arthur’s Grail-a power to fight the forces of evil-they put their lives in danger as they attempt to find it; for the Dark desires the Grail for itself, and it will attain it…at whatever cost. Written by Susan Cooper, Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in the Dark is Rising sequence. It was published in 1965 by Susan Cooper, and would fall under the contemporary fantasy genre.
Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew are on holiday in the seaside village of Trewissick in Cornwall when they discover an ancient map in the attic of the house where they are staying. As they and their great-uncle, Merry, begin to follow the clues, they realize that the map is leading them to a source of great power; The Holy Grail…and the Dark is determined to find it before the Drews do.
Susan Cooper crafts an incredible story of good against evil in her books. She uses excellent detail and dialogue; and the story comes together very well, although the beginning is rather slow. The vocabulary is fairly good, and I would rate the book a medium reading level.
I would recommend this book at about 12+; older if you are frightened easily. An admirable fantasy story with upstanding morals and the age-old epic tale of good versus evil. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“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: the signs that wax and wane but do not die…Yet the man who finds the grail…for him is the charge, the promise and the proof, and in his day the Pendragon shall come again. And that day shall see a new Logres, with the evil cast out; when the old world shall appear no more than a dream.”
-The Manuscript-Over Sea, Under Stone Chapter 6