Over Sea, Under Stone: I (Voyager/HBJ Book)
by Cooper, Susan
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About This Item
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 -- 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. This is the first volume of Susan Cooper's brilliant and absorbing fantasy sequence known as The Dark Is Rising.
This is a sort of love story, but not exactly. It tells us about a Princess whose father has been kicked out of his kingdom and adopted by the US. The girl starts out very socially conscious. Then she meets her true love at a conference in Maui, and everything else goes by the wayside. This true love is not a criminal, as he explains to her, but an outlaw. Due to the efforts of a CIA spy, he is thrown in prison for a couple of years. The princess decides to put herself in solitary confinement, just like her lover, and retires to the attic with a cot, a chamber pot, and a pack of camel cigarettes, which she doesn’t smoke. As the word gets out that she is doing this, there are a lot of copy cats, and her lover, in irritation, writes her a nasty letter about it. This has the effect of making her decide she is no longer in love with him, and she makes the choice to marry an Arab King instead. Meanwhile, her study of the Camel pack has convinced her that she must know more about the effects of pyramids, so she has the King build her one as a wedding present. The King, no dummy, alerts all other Arab countries that her lover is a bad guy, to be shot on sight. For a while it appears that the Woodpecker (her lover) has been caught and killed. Then, on the night before her wedding, while she is checking out the newly finished pyramid, the Woodpecker appears alive. She is overjoyed, and her fiancé sees her hugging her former lover in the pyramid; so he locks them in and explains to the world that she has been kidnapped by a terrorist gang. Luckily, the cake and champagne for her wedding the next day was already in place, and they subsist on this for about a month. Then the Princess decides to use her lover’s dynamite (which he is never without) to blow open the door, assuming this will kill them both.
This book enlightens us on a number of fronts: we learn the difference between a criminal and an outlaw; we examine the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism; and we learn a lot about the problem of redheads and the pyramids. Meanwhile, we flirt briefly with feminism, ecology, racism, and a lot of other “isms”. Robbins is always unique in his combination of philosophy and comedy.
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