Susan Cooper: Overview

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Author: Mary Corran
Editor: David Pringle
Date: 1996
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 897 words

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Susan Cooper's well-known Dark is Rising sequence is an epic fantasy, drawing heavily on Celtic and Anglo-Saxon legend to provide weaponry for the good and evil sides in opposition throughout the novels. Her backgrounds are equally the stuff of legend: Cornwall, North Wales and the Chilterns, but also outside time, on a lost island, and in the interior of a Welsh mountain.

The Dark is Rising comprises five novels concerned with the ultimate battle between good and evil, the Light and the Dark, in which immortal Old Ones and Dark Lords as well as mortals play their part. Over Sea, Under Stone, the first, deals with the search for the grail by three children, Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew, on holiday in Cornwall with their adoptive uncle Merriman Lyon (Merlin). The Arthurian overtones are plain, with the three pursuing their quest by means of an ancient map, opposed by creatures of the Dark who desire the grail for their own ends.

In The Dark is Rising, Merriman Lyon appears once more, this time in Buckinghamshire as teacher and Old One, tutoring Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, who wakes on his eleventh birthday to discover he, too, is one of the immortals on the side of the Light. As he seeks the six signs which will defeat the Dark when it...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420001882