Newbery 1976

‘For a moment he seemed no more than an uncomplicated small boy, caught up in bubbling wonder by a marvellous sight’

Set in the mysterious Welsh countryside this is a story woven with myth and Arthurian legend. Will, recuperating from hepatitis and staying with his Welsh uncle and aunt overcomes the Dark evil with the help of Bran, a young boy whose origins are clouded in mystery. As we learn more of his story themes of separation, roots and belonging emerge. For Bran the boundaries surrounding ‘his story’ have been tightly controlled by his father. Finally he is able to ask and face those questions that were previously unspeakable. This was a poignant and tense part of the book for me that somehow does not often get mention – I liked the way in which Susan Cooper brings together the longing question of humanity ‘where do I come from’ to the legend aspect of her saga.
This fourth book in the Dark is Rising sequence was the first book in the series that I have read and had it not been for the Newbery Award it would not have been my choice. Having said that it was compelling, magical and certainly full of mystery!