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Over Sea, Under Stone

Book 1 of The Dark Is Rising Sequence
Written by: Susan Cooper
Narrated by: Alex Jennings
Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is even more than that: it is the key to finding a grail, a source of power to fight the forces of evil known as the Dark. And in searching for it themselves, the Drews put their very lives in peril.
©1965 Susan Cooper (P)2001 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the critics say

"Jennings' ability is outstanding as he slips in and out of the numerous voices with the rapid dialogue as it approaches the climax....This is an outstanding reading of a classic tale that all young listeners and adults will thoroughly enjoy." ( School Library Journal)

What members say

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An adult rereading

I read this as a child and revisited as a 30 year old. Amazing story and very well performed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bryan J. Peterson
  • Twin Falls, Idaho United States
  • 2012-06-02

A short but excellent tale.

I actually started this series, although I didn't know it was such at the time, back in 1993 whenI was in Junior High, with the fourth volume. It wasn't until about ten years later that I got the proper skinny on it and read the series in proper order. Over Sea, Under Stone opens with the Drew family, Dick, Ellen and their three young children, arriving in Cornwall for a summer vacation, which they'll be spending with their Great Uncle Merry, a mysterious professor who often appears unexpectedly on the Drews' doorstep to vanish just as quickly in the night. While exploring the massive house that Uncle Merry, Meriman Lyon to the wider world, the three Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney, discover an ancient manuscript which they believe to be a map showing the location of what they believe to be an ancient treasure. Though a game to the three Drews, the importance of the manuscript begins to surface, first when a mysterious man and a woman claiming to be his sister appear and ask the Drews about secret passages and maps, then even more so later when the house is burglarized while the Drews sleep. Realizing what the thieves must have been after, the childen show the manuscript, which they managed to keep safe, to Uncle Merry, who reveals that the treasure is in fact an ancient grail from the time of King Arthur. Thus begins a dangerous race as the Drews attempt to decipher the clues of the map and reach the grail before their myysterious enemies do. But it quickly becomes apparent that their foes, though relatively few in number, are extremely resourceful, and the outcome of the race is continually in doubt.
As usual with audiobooks, the narrator can sometimes ruin the experience even if the story itself is good. Fortunately that wasn't the case here. British actor Alex Jennings not only has a good voice for storytelling but also a talent for accents and dialects that lend personality to the characters he portrays, from the Cornish accents of the village locals to Uncle Merry's deep, commanding tones. This is definitely a listen I wuld recommend to others. It's not an entirely traditional fantasy with swords, dragons and wizards but it's a gripping tale all the same.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Euryleia
  • Fountain Valley, CA United States
  • 2007-11-30

solid tale

This is a solid adventure story; a good start to the series and much less surreal than the stories to follow. I found, revisiting this as an adult, that the 'voices' of the children seemed to be just a little off- they kept saying things in a way that were much older than the characters themselves were (but that could just be a culture difference I guess, as I'm American and not British). Also, the peril wasn't very believeable this time around. I do remember that when I first read the books at around 10 years old I was completely enthralled, but now the conflict seems fabricated with no real power. Still, I'd recommend it for the 6-11 crowd.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Trinity A. Greer
  • San Antonio
  • 2017-03-14

Hardy Boys meets Narnia

Great book for all ages. Fast paced and likable characters - in the vein of Lemony Snicket meets Hardy Boys with a dash of Narnia.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • suerhae
  • Portland, Oregon 97216
  • 2012-07-09

I am a kid at heart....and so is this book!

Would you listen to Over Sea, Under Stone again? Why?

I like reading light hearted books so I loved this one. I liked the twists and turns even if they were not complecated.

What about Alex Jennings’s performance did you like?

The voices and personalities were very nice with acents and all.

Any additional comments?

The fight between good and evil is always a good plot.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nathan
  • London, Ontario Canada
  • 2013-12-10

Just remember it's a classic and for kids

It was an easy read as I read it over a weekend as part of a readathon.
Not quite sure how to fairly review this. It's written as a kids books so the plot is simple. Group of kids in a new place track down a mystery in classic good vs. evil. Was its 40th anniversary so the tropes and cliche's probably weren't back then. At first I wasn't sure if I was reading a Narnia book by mistake.
The pacing had a good flow keeping me interested. I like the main kids interaction and thought it was authentic. Overall a good start to a series and a classic to declare I have rea

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lois
  • 2013-02-26

Scared like a kid

Where does Over Sea, Under Stone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The book is a simple good vs evil story, set in a more innocent time
Lovely child's story
But...
The suspense nearly killed me and I couldn't stop listening til the very end!!!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rufus the dog
Maybe Gummery too

Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Loved it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dorothy
  • Atlin, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2007-12-02

Over Sea, Under Stone

I bought this for my 10 year old grandson and I am not sure which of us enjoyed it more! It is a nicely paced story which held our interest. Some great twists and also connections with history.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott Karren
  • Kingston, WA USA
  • 2019-11-18

Poorly written kid story

You don’t have to dumb down a story to make it accessible to kids.

Worse,the narration talks down to kids too.

Dialog relies on beginners “X said ADVERB” Tom Swift formula because the author cannot create meaningful dialog.

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  • Robert Russell
  • 2019-11-03

An absolute classic

It's very important to reunite with great works from your youth. This is essential, maybe now more than ever.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • Bridgewater,VA
  • 2019-07-07

Ancient map, clues and possible treasure!?

I love stories that lead you along a scavenger hunt of clues. Mystery on vacation? What could make one more memorable than that?!