“Over Sea Under Stone” by Susan Cooper

Although I normally insist on reading a series of books in order, I was promised that it wouldn’t matter if I read the second book in The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper to start with. I did this over Christmas as it has a festive winter theme, but I’ve just gone back to the beginning and read Over Sea Under Stone, the first book in the series.

A family go to spend the summer with their great uncle in Cornwall, and while exploring their holiday home on a rainy day, Simon, Jane and Barney discover an ancient map that sets them on a quest to discover that which as been hidden. Assisted by Great Uncle Merry, the children start their search only to find they are not the only ones after their treasure.

This book was originally published in 1965, and I have to say, it completely transports me back to my own childhood (which wasn’t this far back I hasten to add), and has the feel and tone of the adventure books I would read when I was young. The trouble is, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about the writing that makes me feel that way. The story is exciting, and gradually builds to an exciting crescendo, but there’s an innocence and naivety about the children, and the idea of a family spending a whole summer away together, that just makes it feel of its time.

I absolutely loved it, as much for how it reminded me of being an eight year old engrossed in an thrilling adventure as for the actual story and the writing itself. It seems obvious to me why this series has stood the test of time, and is still published today, as well as being transferred to the digital format as well, although maybe that’s more for us older “kids” reliving the books of our childhood!

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