Date: 20th May 2015
OVER SEA, UNDER STONE
Like many adventures, this one began with a holiday in Logres (land of the West and King Arthur), the discovery of an ancient map and a search for a buried grail.
But then it turned into something much more important and frightening.
This is the first of the five books which form The Dark is Rising sequence.
Getting back on point we discussed how this book was originally written for a competition and it wasn’t until a few years later that the author went back and continued the series which resulted in the series being named after the second book rather than the first.
Our books seem to have recurring themes of children whose parents have died. It made a nice change in this book to have the parents alive, if mostly absent.
We had to guess the ages of the children as they weren’t given. Based on studying two years of Latin we guessed eldest child Simon to be about 12 or 13. Most of us ignored the Latin bits!
We thought the descriptions were really good and gave a good sense of menace.
SPOILER alert: We discussed how long it too people to guess that Merry was Merlin which had various results,
Some found Simon and Jane annoying but others like Jane for being sensible and not being a wimp. It made a nice change that she got to do things rather than sit around sewing. We applauded her for her bravery and even when not wanting to go on the boat it was due to gut instinct and not liking the eventual bad guys.
Quote: ‘How long does it take to realise it’s a ****ing cave’ said in relation to the children trying to follow the clues. Why did they not just walk around the headland? But then we joked about how you wouldn’t have a book.
It was hard to work out who the villains were. They were obvious in knowing who they were but there were vague hints of the main villain being perhaps a devil but there were pagan overtones. The bad guys were reassuringly bad and we liked that they seemed to enjoy what they did.
We talked about Mrs Polk. We enjoyed her turning out to be bad and joked about how it was her putting on the head gear that solidified that she was not one of the good guys. But we laughed at the fact that she still made sure they had a packed lunch before arranging for Barney to be kidnapped!
We chatted about how in a lot of books of the mid-1900’s the middle class are good kids, working class kids with accents turn out bad. They must also be rude and have bad manners. Bill was a local kid with an accent so was clearly a criminal.
A few readers were inspired to find out what happens next.
Who’s the new Arthur? It’s not made clear. We didn’t think it was myth-y enough but the language was simple and easy to follow but definitely of its time.
7 / 10