Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in a series of five called The Dark is Rising Sequence.
Simon, Jane and Barney Drew are siblings vacationing in Cornwall with their parents and Great-Uncle Merriman (Merry for short), in a little fishing community by the sea. The parents are mostly absent from the story, letting the children play on their own in a way that was probably more common for that time, but happens less often now. While exploring, the children find something in the attic that starts them on a treasure hunt.
The children prove to be quite intelligent with figuring out puzzles and riddles. Along the way there are hints that maybe there is something a little magical going on, but we don't really know where it is going. It reads more as a mystery-adventure book. However, there is a sinister Dark side working against them, which makes their fun discovery turn into an urgent quest, somehow mixed up with Arthurian legend and involving Great-Uncle Merry too, as guide and protector.
First published in 1965, the language of the book reads a bit like historical fiction, but it fits with the story and the setting of the fishing village. As the series continues in later books, this matters less and less, and it holds up well now reading it for the first time 50 years later. This is written for children around 10 and up, but I like how it portrays the siblings more realistically than many other children's books and respects their intelligence, both within the characters themselves and with the readers with the writing style and vocabulary.
I enjoyed the narration by Alex Jennings. It feels like kind Uncle Merry is telling you the story and you just want to curl up and listen. I think it would translate just as well to print for me, but the whole audiobook collection is very well done.
This left me wanting more and I continued right into the next book, The Dark is Rising.
Title: Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising Sequence, Book 1)
Author: Susan Cooper
Audible Audio Edition
Narrator: Alex Jennings
Duration: 7 hours, 19 minutes
Publisher: Listening Library (August 8, 2007)
Other Formats: paperback/hardcover/Kindle ebook
Print length: 224 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
(First Edition: 1965, UK, Jonathan Cape (ISBN NA), May 1965, hardcover)
Kindle ASIN: B00413PITU
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