Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

July 22, 2009

The Dark Is Rising

By Susan Cooper. Book 2 in the eponymous sequence, and there are probably fewer similarities to Over Sea, Under Stone than there are differences. Luckily, nearly all the differences are improvements.

It’s a classic coming-of-age-into-magical-powers tale, as Will Stanton discovers he’s the last of the “Old Ones” (special magic immortal people) to be born, and that the “Dark” (an immanent power, not fully explained in this book, which seeks to do all the usual things) is about to try something really nasty.

It was rather a surprise to find that since I’d last read this, I’d been spending time in the setting – Buckinghamshire has changed a lot since it was written in 1973, but Windsor Great Park is still very much there. Unlike the first book, it’s very much at-home – magic changes the world, overlays a new mystery onto it (mostly through timeslips) but it’s still Will’s own home, bounded by Roman roads and running water, and still very English and very much a family story.

Whilst Will’s needed to save the world, this mostly seems to be a matter of arbitrary destiny rather than any particular skill or competence on his part, and the reasons for any given plot McGuffin are shrouded in myth. Which isn’t a bad thing at this point in the series! I have all five books here, and I’m making a point of not reading each one until I’ve written about the last; otherwise, I won’t be able to treat them separately at all.

2 Comments »

  1. Buckinghamshire has indeed changed a lot – to the extent that Windsor Great Park, and the village you are currently sitting in, are in Berkshire now. :-)

    I hadn’t actually realised that Bucks went down to the Great Park, actually. Much further south than I’d realised. I need to look it all up!

    Comment by Elly — July 26, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  2. Once went down to it, I mean. ;-)

    Comment by Elly — July 26, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

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