The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #2)

The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #2)

by Susan Cooper


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When Will Stanton wakes up on the morning of his birthday, he discovers an unbelievable gift -- he is immortal. Bemused and terrified, he finds he is the last of the Old Ones, magical men and women sworn to protect the world from the source of evil, the Dark.

At once Will is plunged into a quest to find six magical Signs to aid the powers of the Light. Six medallions -- iron, bronze, wood, water, fire, and stone -- created and hidden by the Old Ones centuries ago. But the Dark has sent out the Rider: evil cloaked in black, mounted upon a midnight stallion, and on the hunt for this youngest Old One, Will. He must find the six great Signs before the Dark can rise, for an epic battle between good and evil approaches.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689704208
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 03/28/1976
Series: Dark Is Rising Sequence Series , #2
Age Range: 9 - 14 Years

About the Author

Susan Cooper is one of our foremost children’s authors; her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising has sold millions of copies worldwide. Her many books have won the Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and been shortlisted five times for the Carnegie Medal. She combines fantasy with history in Victory (a Washington Post Top Ten for Children novel), King of Shadows and Ghost Hawk, and her magical The Boggart and the Monster, second in a trilogy, won the Scottish Arts Council’s Children’s Book Award. Susan Cooper lives on a saltmarsh island in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

It was then, without warning, that the fear came.

The first wave caught him as he was crossing the room his bed. It halted him stock-still in the middle of the room, the howl of the wind outside filling his ears. The snow lashed against the window. Will was suddenly deadly cold, yet tingling all over. He was so frightened that he could not move a finger. In a flash of memory he saw again the lowering sky over the spinney, dark with rooks, the big black birds wheeling and circling overhead. Then that was gone, and he saw only the tramp's terrified face and heard his scream as he ran. For a moment, then, there was only a dreadful darkness in his mind, a sense of looking into a great black pit. Then the high howl of the wind died, and he was released.

He stood shaking, looking wildly round the room. Nothing was wrong. Everything was just as usual. The trouble, he told himself, came from thinking. It would be all right if only he could stop thinking and go to sleep. He pulled off his dressing gown, climbed into bed, and lay there looking up at the skylight in the slanting roof. It was covered grey with snow.

He switched off the small bedside lamp, and the night swallowed the room. There was no hint of light even when his eyes had grown accustomed to the dark. Time to sleep. Go on, go to sleep. But although he turned on his side, pulled the blankets up to his chin, and lay there relaxed, contemplating the cheerful fact that it would be his birthday when he woke up, nothing happened. It was no good. Something was wrong.

Will tossed uneasily. He had never known a feeling like this before. It was growing worse every minute. As if some huge weight were pushing at his mind, threatening,trying to take him over, turn him into something he didn't want to be. That's it, he thought: make me into someone else. But that's stupid. Who'd want to? And make me into what? Something creaked outside the half-open door, and he jumped. Then it creaked again, and he knew what it was: a certain floorboard that often talked to itself at night, with a sound so familiar that usually he never noticed it at all. In spite of himself, he still lay listening. A different kind of creak came from further away, in the other attic, and he twitched again, jerking so that the blanket rubbed against his chin. You're just jumpy, he said to himself; you're remembering this afternoon, but really there isn't much to remember. He tried to think of the tramp as someone unremarkable, just an ordinary man with a dirty overcoat and worn-out boots; but instead all he could see once more was the vicious diving of the rooks. "The Walker is abroad...." Another strange crackling noise came, this time above his head in the ceiling, and the wind whined suddenly loud, and Will sat bolt upright in bed and reached in panic for the lamp.

The room was at once a cosy cave of yellow light, and he lay back in shame, feeling stupid. Frightened of the dark, he thought: how awful. Just like a baby. Stephen would never have been frightened of the dark, up here. Look, there's the bookcase and the table, the two chairs and the window seat; look, there are the six little square-riggers of the mobile hanging from the ceiling, and their shadows sailing over there on the wall. Everything's ordinary. Go to sleep.

He switched off the light again, and instantly everything was even worse than before. The fear jumped at him for the third time like a great animal that had been waiting to spring. Will lay terrified, shaking, feeling himself shake, and yet unable to move. He felt he must be going mad. Outside, the wind moaned, paused, rose into a sudden howl, and there was a noise, a muffled scraping thump, against the skylight in the ceiling of his room. And then in a dreadful furious moment, horror seized him like a nightmare made real; there came a wrenching crash, with the howling of the wind suddenly much louder and closer, and a great blast of cold; and the Feeling came hurtling against him with such force of dread that it flung him cowering away.

Will shrieked. He only knew it afterwards; he was far too deep in fear to hear the sound of his own voice. For an appalling pitch-black moment he lay scarcely conscious, lost somewhere out of the world, out in black space. And then there were quick footsteps up the stairs outside his door, and a voice calling in concern, and blessed light warming the room and bringing him back into life again.

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The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 195 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I myself ,as a 13 year old boy, Have never read a book with such detail! Susan Cooper is a master auther. The Dark is rising is an amazing example of genius and imagination. The landscapes and people are described so vividly that you actually feel like your there next to Will Stanton fighting off the minons of the Dark!I say that this book is a must read for all those fans out there who love a mixture of fantasy and mystery!I felt like I couldn't put the book down!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is great! I peronsally loved William's charater, and Merriman is just what he needed. I'd give anything to make a movie outta this. Harry Potter: Eat your heart out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For bereft HP fans who are seeking a new series to follow, look no further. This novel contains mature insights, grounding in British folklore and culture, and true adult themes. I'm not talking about sex, violence, and snogging. I mean the wisdom that an older person gains through experience, including knowledge of human natures deepest flaws and their consequences. The Dark brings emotional and mental depth to the fantasy genre, as young Will is plagued by concerns for his destiny in a way that makes Harry Potter seem like a frat boy on a holiday. Though Will can return to his ordinary life, he becomes immersed in his quest, and we go right along with him through Cooper's scintillating prose. As I read, I felt as if I could see different people and places that Will saw, including Hawkin and the Manor. Cooper's deftly told story is also blessed with a remarkably adult tone. It doesn't insult a teenage reader's intelligence, and it contains unfamiliar words to enrich their vocabulary. These qualities would make it an excellent pick for a junior high English class to read. Unfortunately, the novel's many strengths are bogged down by Cooper's failure to delineate the characteristics of the Light and Dark side. Sometimes, the Old Ones behave in ways that seem more in line with the Dark side. Furthermore, their powers were only vaguely described. Apparently, the worst thing the Dark side can do is freeze the English countryside, a rather mundane power at best. Also, the Light side seemed rather weak. I haven't read the rest of the series, so I'm hoping that Cooper will give it a fuller treatment in subsequent books. I also felt that Cooper could have given greater character development to the Stanton family. Sometimes they seemed more like cardboard cutouts than distinct individuals. In spite of its few flaws, I highly reccomend this book due to its haunting imagery and reflections on human character. If someone could combine the zestful spirit and character development of Harry Potter with the intellectual depth of The Dark is Rising, one would find a near-perfect novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
when i was 7 i almost threw out the grey king because the cover looked boring, im lucky my sister -who was 5 at the time- was convinced that i would regret it for the rest of my life if i didnt at least read it before giving away. i read it immediatley and loved it! havent been able to find the rest of the series, but if its as good as that book then susan cooper is extremely talented. im 15 now, and i found the book hiding in a corner of my bookshelf . . . reread it and loved it just as much as i did when i was 7! READ THIS BOOK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when in the elementary school. LOVED IT ! I am now in my 40's and still read it 1 time each year! Still LOVE IT!
Hugo Le Helley More than 1 year ago
Great book. not the best movie
Mythicdreamer More than 1 year ago
The Dark Is Rising Series is one of the first in Fantasy literature to set and define high standards for this genre. Second in the series, this book is really where the story begins. It is here that you meet Will and learn about his incredible role in stopping the coming Dark. Susan Cooper writes her human characters with believable flaws but strong hearts. Her evil characters are tricky and ancient in their antics. They really are formidable foes! You do not need to read this series in order. Each book is unique in its self. Those who love Harry Potter, Peter and the Star Catchers, and other fantasy adventures will not be disappointed. I do recommend this book for higher level readers as it does contain some intense scenes and death. They did make a motion picture out of this book that is pretty decent. I also recommend the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enchanting, and if you want to introduce a child to fantasy, and you've gone through the Narnia books, and they aren't ready for Lord of the Rings yet, this is the series you want to read! Full of references to authentic British folklore - I loved this book as a kid, and then very much enjoyed introducing the whole series to my child. I stumbled across 'The Dark Is Rising' before any of the other books in the series - so even though it is the 2nd book in the actual series, it's always been my 'first', and young Will Stanton very quickly became one of my heroes when I was growing up. It wasn't just that he battled evil with mystical powers and items of power - it was the way that he solved the problems with thought to what was right, and good, and really struggled with very difficult issues. As his character travels back and forth through time, he gets to see the consequences of his own and others actions, and it's moving to see how he takes these things into account, and how this causes him to grow in wisdom and discernment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasy as a genre gets no better than this. The Dark is Rising combines ancient lore and magical quests with the everyday life of an eleven-year-old boy who claims to be, 'just Will.' He is far more than 'just' anything, however. He is the last of the Old Ones--a circle of people who are more than human--existing both within our human times and apart from them. Will joins with Merriman, the mysterious old Lady, and others to battle the tide of the Dark. Their epic struggle takes place both inside the world in which Will lives--alongside his large and boisterous family--and outside--Will must travel through time to seek the mysterious Signs that only he can join together to combat the Dark. I am rereading this story to my daughters right now and they are on the edges of their beds each night waiting to find out what fate awaits Will. I delight in sharing this with them--a story that is truly timeless in its power and appeal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first started reading susan cooper's book when i was in fifth grade. This was my harry potter. I loved every bit of this series. When I saw they were coming out with a movie I screamed and ran to the nearest b&n to make sure I'm up on the story. Can you believe it I am 28 years old and I am still in love with it. If you are a fan of lord of the rings, harry potter and all that jazz. Susan Cooper has got to be on your list
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is unbelievable. It's amazing how Susan Cooper can write to satisfy the deepest part of our minds that knows that the dark really IS rising, and intertwine it with an excellent background and cast of characters. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THE CHANCE TO READ THIS BOOK. You will LOVE it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 32 years old and read this series in 8th grade for school. Have been looking for it ever since. I loved these books then and am so happy to have these old friends back in my life. Finally found them because of a preview for the movie in the fall. Magical!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If someone does not appreciate this book, they cannot be expected to understand the gentle nuances that are apparent in nature. the book has beautiful scenes that take you and hold you in the book. The publisher info says that it is for 5th grade and up, but anyone can read it, it just depends on whether they will respect the book. Very natural and breath taking. The reader just needs to get involved in the plot and stick with it the first chapters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. There was so much magic! It was never perdictible. I would recomend this book for anyone with a love for excitement.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely one of my favorite fantasy books, yet, it doesn't suprise that so many people didn't enjoy it. Susan Cooper doesn't just hand you an entertaining story and 'go,' she hands you a great story and makes you work for it--in many ways, this isn't a children's book because the language is difficult, but it is also undeniably well written. The Dark is Rising is the second book in the sequence by the same name, and it is undeniably my favorite of the five. I love Will and Merriam, the lady, and all the Old Ones. I love the way the world works, how the tensions builds, the way it explores our inner natures and suggests that just possibly, there is far more out there than we've ever thought of. There are other treats, too, in that throughout the series Cooper seamlessly blends Arthurian legend and Welsh myth on a wild ride that takes the reader across time, through the realms of the light and the dark, of good and evil. This book is highly imaginative, utterly engrossing, and an absolute delight-- if you like to think while you read, if you enjoy grasping at larger issues and deeper meanings, if you love myths and believe that there is something missing in our world today, you will love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I love this whole series--and it is well worth the price.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read the entire series at once - triggered by a mention on LT of the Seeker movie (no, I don't think it will be good). I very much like The Dark is Rising (the individual story) - it's very rich. My favorite, I think, is Greenwitch, then Over Sea, Under Stone. Grey King is quite depressing, though very powerful, and I don't think much of Silver on the Tree even though it finishes things off. As usual, I finished it slightly confused...there is a _lot_ of symbolism, particularly in Silver. So is Bran one of the Circle or not? He must be, because the 'three from the track' have to be the Drews...but he's not an Old One. And is the 'one (who) goes alone' Merriman, then? Or if Bran had gone, could Merriman have stayed? Would he? Or is the third from the Circle the Lady? No, it was Bran holding a Sign...when it wasn't John Rowland. Sheesh. Vatefer. Good stories, though the earlier ones are better, and I'll keep them.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We have probably all heard that The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is being released as a movie in October. This prompted me to dig out this series of books from the basement and re-read the first book. I last read this book when I was somewhere around 11 years of age. After that reading I thought the world of this book.The book is well-written and very descriptive. It's every child's dream to get swept into an adventure like Will is and to find out you are part of an ancient race that lives to defeat all that is evil. This book is a classic. I think every young adult should read it!All that being said. I wasn't as impressed with this book on my second read through. I think I have just read too many books. And, while the book was enjoyable, the haphazard way in which Will progresses through his quest kind of bothered me. I also thought that the gathering of all of the signs in one book was a bit much. It just made the retrieval of each sign seem more trivial than it should have been and condensed the adventure down, almost making it too simplistic. Still the book is well-written, the character's are likable, and the struggle details the epic struggle between good and evil.I can't wait to see how well the movie follows the book.
arowe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book. It is saturated with symbolism and there is not a wasted word in it. Every sentence contributes to the story line or to your understanding of it. Awesome read!
DWWilkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just recently this book came across my radar by being recommended by a friend as his favorite yearly christmas read, and then through a lot of discussion groups in several fantasy reading forums. I delve into Young Adult on occasion, especially those old favorites I discovered when I was one.Now as a jaded adult I notice things differently. How convenient our hero in this case has his problems and solutions laid out for him. He is never more than a few minutes walk from his home as all the puzzles to his quest are found. He easily overcomes each puzzle and should danger abound, adults are on hand to save him from not only himself but the evil that he is constantly told threatens him.That was the first reason that caused this book to lose me as a potential fan. Next was the presentation. Show, don't tell is a writing mantra, yet with so much exposition everywhere for so long at a time, I felt entirely disconnected. Cooper spent page after page without a break telling me exactly what I had to know. Will, the hero, never had a moment to catch his breath.By far the engaging part of the book was when he wasn't fumbling around with any of the magic but was happily ensconced with his family, of which there are many, enjoying christmas. The author was then forced to use dialogue and description in equitable portions and the feel for a small town english christmas was captured. Perhaps this book, without any of the fantasy and magic, another issue that I found did not work at all, would have been better if just left as a work of regular fiction, as a simpler boys coming of age story.
babydraco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second book is much better. I think the issue I had with not being able to concentrate on it has to do with a strange quirk in the writing style. Some of the phrasing is awkward. Other than that, it was an entertaining, interesting Christmas story and it deserved a better movie adaptation.
am_boyle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just saw the trailer for the Movie, very upsetting ! after the success of rings, harry potter etc. i guess it was a clever choice - I loved these books when I was young and reread them again last year. Theres a slightly annoying Enid Blyton english tweeness but it's easy to look past it. I read and reread the first chapter of "The dark is Rising" when i first discovered it, one of the books that has left a big mark on me.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though this is not the first book chronologically (Over Sea, Under Stone is), this is the first one to read. This beautifully written story is one of the best young adult fantasy series there is. The tale is wrapped around the Arthurian legend, yet it is not another clone of The Once and Future King, rather a completely fresh and original Welsh legend of its own.
aapike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On Will Stanton's eleventh birthday, he is awakened to his powers as the last of the Old Ones and the danger that awaits him because of his birth. Will is charged with the task of finding the six signs that will be needed to defeat the Dark and help save the world.
Iudita on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favourite books. I had to read it (and re-read it several times) for a course I was taking and I appreciated it more with each reading. It is so full of symbolism and imagery that you continue to pick up different nuances of the story every time you read it.