- Over Sea, Under Stone Susan Cooper. 1966 Simon Pulse. MG Fantasy. Three children—Barnaby, Jane, and Simon—discover an old map while staying in the Grey House with their parents and great-Uncle Merry. They are stunned to see it mentions King Arthur and some treasure. As they search for clues and enlist Uncle Merry’s help, himself a protector of the secrets of the map, danger ensues for all.
This book is part of The Dark is Rising Sequence, I had to wait for a few of the Narnia novels to be in, so I started this series in the meantime. And I don’t regret it a bit!! Susan Cooper draws a world of magic and mystery and brings to life the Old England of legends. It all begins as part of a mystery when the kids unroll a map scribbled in words older than Latin. As they struggle to figure it out, they are invited by a man and his sister out to sea on their yacht. But not all is as it seems. While Barnaby and Simon partake of the sea adventure, Jane goes to the vicar for help with the map not realizing she’s inviting a greater evil to take an interest.
The characters are believable. I found the children to be fully drawn and realistic. They fight, they’re flawed, they’re human. They get tricked just as well as any adult would. It is their childlike spirit though that often gets them out of a fix. The plot is well thought out. An old map like this COULD be found. It would invite all sorts of characters into a race to get to the treasure before anyone else. The theme that good will triumph over bad is as old as time but is still plausible. Who doesn’t want the good guys to win over all?
There are more books in this series and I look forward to reading them all. I will try and weave this in with the last of the Narnia book series as I go along.
I give this book 5 stars!!
- Writing Popular Fiction Dean Koontz. 1974 Writer’s Digest Books. Craft. This book discusses the different genres of category fiction and how to write for each of them. I found the book very informative but as happens over the years, there were things out of date with today’s publishing world. Still, all in all, it was a very good read. I did have some differences in opinion on a few things—like the idea that putting your fiction aside for a while when you’re done drafting it is NOT a good idea. He felt that you should keep going with the revising as it kept the words fresh and didn’t allow you to doubt the book. I find for myself, a short breather, is helpful. He also felt that you should be prolific, writing as many as ten novels a year with the least amount of drafts. In other words, getting the draft done right the first time around. I don’t think I can write as many as ten a year personally and I usually go through several drafts before I am satisfied.
I give this book 3 ½ stars.