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Over Sea, Under Stone

by Susan Cooper

Published by Harcourt, Brace, & world, Inc., New York

Print edition 1965

Reviewed by Jonette Butler
Review posted 2/19/09

Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising Sequence” begins with Over Sea, Under Stone, which introduces us to siblings, Barney, Simon and Jane, along with their parents. The family is heading off to visit Great-Uncle Merry, a mysterious not-quite relative of the family, in Cornwall, England. There they meet some sinister folk from a yacht, find an old map that figures heavily in the war between god and evil, discover that Uncle Merry (or is it Merlin) is both more and less than he seems, and find an important relic.

There are a lot of concepts for a young person to consider — good and evil, actions and consequences, the importance of family. I wonder, however, if it might not move a bit slowly for a young adult reader. It certainly dragged on for me — Enough so that I kept putting it down and going on to something else for days at a time. I haven’t been able to talk myself into starting the second book, The Dark is Rising just yet — and there are three more after that one!

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