The Grey King (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #4)

The Grey King (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #4)

by Susan Cooper

Paperback(Repackage)

$7.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, February 25

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689829840
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Series: Dark Is Rising Sequence Series , #4
Edition description: Repackage
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 172,121
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 14 Years

About the Author

Susan Cooper is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her classic five-book fantasy sequence The Dark Is Rising won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor and has sold millions of copies worldwide. She is also the author of Victory, a Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth book and a Washington Post Top Ten for Children novel; King of Shadows, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor book; The Boggart; Seaward; Ghost Hawk; and many other acclaimed novels for young readers and listeners. She lives in Massachusetts, and you can visit her online at TheLostLand.com.

Read an Excerpt

Will pedalled hard, blessing the valley road for its winding flatness, and freewheeling only when his pounding heart seemed about to leap right out of his chest. He rode one-handed. He had said nothing about his hurt arm, and Bran had not noticed, but it hurt abominably if he so much as touched the handlebars with his left hand. He tried not to think about the way it would feel when carrying the golden harp.

That was the only thing to be done, now. The music of the harp was the only magic within his reach that would release Pen from the power of the warestone. In any case, it was time now to bring the harp to the pleasant lake, to accomplish its deeper purpose. Everything was coming together, as if two roads led to the same mountain pass; he could only hope that the pass would now be blocked by some obstacle able to hinder both at once. This time more than ever, the matter of holding the Dark at bay depended as much on the decisions and emotions of men as on the strength of the Light. Perhaps even more.

Broken sunlight flickered in and out of his eyes, as clouds scudded briskly over the sky. At least, he thought wryly, we've got a good day for it all. His wheels sang on the road; he was nearly at Clwyd Farm now. He wondered how he was to explain his sudden arrival, and equally sudden departure afterwards, to Aunt Jen. She would probably be the only one there. She must have been there for Caradog Prichard's appearance earlier that morning, and the changing of his two mutilated tyres. Perhaps he could say that he had come to get something to help put Prichard off the scent, to keep him from finding Pen... something John Rowlands had suggested... but still he would have to leave thehouse with the golden harp. Aunt Jen would not be likely to let that sacking-swathed object past her sharp eye without at least inquiring what was wrapped up in there. And what possible reason could anyone have, least of all her nephew, for not letting her see?

Will wished, not for the first time, that Merriman were with him, to ease such difficulties. For a Master of the Light, it was no great matter to transport beings and objects not only through space but through time, in the twinkling of an eye. But for the youngest of the Old Ones, however acute his need, that was a talent too large.

He came to the farm; rode in; pushed through the back door. But when he called, no one came. He realised suddenly with a great lightening of the spirits that he had seen no cars in the yard outside. Both his aunt and uncle must have gone out; that was one piece of luck, at any rate. He ran upstairs to his bedroom, said the necessary words to release the golden harp from protection, and ran down again with it under his arm, a rough sacking-wrapped bundle of odd triangular shape. He was halfway across the yard to the bicycle when a Land Rover chugged in through the gate.

For a second Will froze in panic; then he walked slowly, carefully, to the bicycle, and turned it ready to leave.

Owen Davies climbed out of the car and stood looking at him. He said, "Was it you left the gate open?"

"Oh, gosh." Will was genuinely shocked: he had committed the classical farm sin, without even noticing. "Yes, I did, Mr Davies. That's awful. I'm most terribly sorry."

Owen Davies, thin and earnest, shook his flat-capped head in reproof. "One of the most important things to remember, it is, to shut any gate you have opened on a farm. You do not know what livestock of your uncle's might have slipped out, that should have been kept in. I know you are English, and no doubt a city boy, but that is no excuse."

"I know," Will said. "And I'm not even a city boy. I really am sorry. I'll tell Uncle David so."

Taken aback by this implication of honest confidence, Owen Davies surfaced abruptly from the pool of righteousness that had threatened to swallow him. "Well," he said. "Let us forget it this time, both of us. I dare say you will not do it again."

His gaze drifted sideways a little. "Is that Bran's bike you have there? Did he come with you?"

Will pressed the shrouded harp tight between his elbow and his side. "I borrowed it. He was out riding, and I was... up the valley, walking, and I saw him, and we thought we'd have a go at flying a big model plane I've been making." He patted the bundle under his arm, swinging his leg over the bicycle saddle at the same time. "So I'm going back now. Is that all right? You don't need him for anything?"

"Oh, no," Owen Davies said. "Nothing at all."

"John Rowlands took Pen to Mr. Jones at Ty-Bont all safe and sound," Will said brightly. "I'm supposed to be having dinner there, late-ish Mrs. Jones said would it be all right if I took Bran back with me too, Mr Davies? Please?"

The usual expression of alarmed propriety came over Owen Davies's thin face. "Oh, no, now, Mrs Jones is not expecting him, there is no need to bother her with another -- "

Unexpectedly, he broke off. It was as if he heard something, without understanding it. Puzzled, Will saw his face become oddly bemused, with the look of a man dreaming a dream that he has dreamed often but never been able to translate. It was a look he would never have expected to find on the face of a man so predictable and uncomplicated as Bran's father.

Owen Davies stared him full in the face, which was even more unusual. He said, "Where did you say you and Bran were playing?"

Will's dignity ignored the last word. He kicked at the bicycle pedal. "Out on the moor. Quite a long way up the valley, near the road. I don't know how to describe it exactly -- but more than halfway to Mr Jones's farm."

"Ah," Owen Davies said vaguely. He blinked at Will, apparently back in his usual nervous person. "Well, I daresay it would be all right if Bran goes to dinner as well, John Rowlands being there -- goodness knows Megan Jones is used to feeding a lot of mouths. But you must be sure to tell him he must be home before dark."

"Thank you!" said Will, and made off before he could change his mind, carefully closing the gate after he had ridden through. He shouted a farewell, with just time to notice Bran's father's hand slowly raised as he rode away.

But he was not many yards along the road, riding awkwardly one-handed and slowly with the harp clutched in his aching left arm, before all thought of Owen Davies was driven from his head by the Grey King. Now the valley was throbbing with power and malevolence. The sun was at its highest point,

though no more than halfway up the sky in that November day. The last part of the time for the fulfilling of Will's only separate quest had begun. His mind was so much occupied with the unspoken beginnings of battle that it was all his body could do to push the bicycle, and himself, slowly along the road.

He paid little attention when a Land Rover swished past him, going fast in the same direction. Several cars had passed him already, on both journeys, and in this part of the country Land Rovers were common. There was no reason at all why this one should have differed from the rest.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Psychology Today "Susan Cooper is one of the few contemporary writers who has the vivid imagination, the narrative powers, and the moral vision that permit her to create the kind of sweeping conflict between good and evil that lies at the heart of all great fantasy. Tolkien had it. So did C.S. Lewis. And Cooper writes in the same tradition."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Grey King (The Dark Is Rising Sequence Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is sort of like a dream world that everyone (everyone like me) would want to escape into.. I love how Susan Cooper blends in a lot of myths and legends and forms an explaination for all of them, making all of them connected. Susan Cooper's works are, in my opinion, similar to LotR, but in a good way, unlike other authors works. She is second best only to JRRT (JRR Tolkien). In this book, the Dark gave Will Stanton, the youngest Old One of the Light, a bad cold (worse than you'd think) in order to slow him down in their attempt to rise into power. Will Stanton is aided by the strange albino boy, Bran (the son of someone very famous :) I won't spoil it for you), in order to defeat the Grey King, a terrible Dark Lord. In this book, Bran realizes that sacrifices must be made.
Mythicdreamer More than 1 year ago
The story of Will Stanton and his fight against the Dark continues. This time everything is on the line and Will can not fail! With the help of a new ally, Bran and his ethereal dog, Cadfall, Will fights his most dangerous enemy the Grey King. Armed only with an ancient poem and his wits, Will must follow the signs left by the Old Ones and search the Welsh hills to find the coveted Magical Harp that will shift the tides of power. Fourth in the Dark Is Rising Series, this book pulls the whole series together in such a way that leaves you spellbound long after you turn the last pages. This was the book that sent me, as a kid, searching the hills behind my house for ancient secrets and daydreaming out the window. It was the first book I read in the Fantasy genre and it has left an everlasting impression. Of all the books in the series, this one is the most challenging because it does contain Welsh names and words that can be difficult for younger readers. I also recommend this book for higher level readers as it contains some intense scenes and requires good comprehension skills. You do not have to read the other books in this series before reading this one. Although, it does help to have read the second novel, The Dark Is Rising, as that is when Will Stanton is first introduced.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that The Grey King was a good book because I enjoy reading fiction books. It is about a boy named Will Santon. He is part of a group of people called the Light, who have to stop another group of people called the Dark from taking over the world. I would recomend this book to someone who likes to read fiction books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE IT A LOT!
Caitlin Dunne More than 1 year ago
The whole "Dark is Rising" series holds a special place in my heart. This is one of the great YA books out there, I wish she would write some more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first encountered this book as an elementary student, more than 30 years ago. I will never forget picking the book off the library shelf and being riveted in place and time as I read the opening poem. I read The Grey King before I read any of the rest of this series, and it remains my favorite amongst them all to this day. I have read and reread this one story dozens of times over the course of 30 years and continue to be moved by the way in which Cooper weaves a magical tale around a larger theme: that in the heart of every young child is a yearning to wake up and discover that they are powerful and important in this world. I now enjoy discussing this classic with my son who, at 14, has read it many times already and loves it as much as I. I highly recommend this book to children, parents, and teachers. It is an outstanding piece of young adult literature and a wonderful story of triumph over darkness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I love fiction books and couldn't find one to read for a book report, so I picked this one up. Everybody should read it because it is so engrossing.
booksandwine on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is definately the best of the series so far. Will Stanton has suffered a pretty bad illness and forgets all of the Old Ways. He is shipped off to his family in Wales where he meets another boy, Bran who is an albino. The Grey King won a Newbery Award and is fantastic reading, it's definately a more engrossing read than the others in the series. Frankly, I don't care much about the Drew children so it was nice to see this book did not have them.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing 7 months ago
After The Dark Is Rising, this is my favorite of the Dark is Rising Sequence. This novel works because it is such an intimate and romantic story. The Welsh setting is beautifully described and the pain of being different and approaching adulthood are captured in all their sticky reality.Will Stanton, suffering from the after effects of a long illness and slowly regaining his memory is sent to Wales to recuperate. There he meets Bran, the mysterious white-haired boy, and Cadfal, his beloved dog.There is quite a story in here interwoven with the larger story of the battle between Dark and Light. It would be easy to make the character of Bran all sweetness and light, but Susan Cooper never takes the easy way out. She fills Bran with all the contradictions contained in every one of us - the potential for good and evil residing uneasily twinned inside him, waiting for him to choose his way.This is the book that made me want to visit Wales when I was a little girl. I still do.
debnance on LibraryThing 7 months ago
At last! I made it through a book in The Dark is Rising series¿though, to do it, I had to listen to it on audiotape. This was the last book in the series. Somehow I felt like I was missing a lot by not reading the earlier books. I didn¿t understand how Will came to know he was an Old One. What does it really mean to be an Old One? Were there earlier mentions of Arthur and Guinevere? What else did Will have to obtain other than the harp? What is the difference between the Dark and the Light? Were all of these or any of these addressed in the earlier books?Will made for an interesting hero, part boy, part wise man. His path led him to Wales and to the young mysterious Braun. The story reveals that Braun was brought to our world by his mother, but we are left unclear about Braun¿s origins and his place in the story until the very last pages of the book.
briannad84 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
My favorite book in the Dark is Rising series and the first one I read before I knew it was apart of a series. Love the description of Bran's eyes. I almost named my son Bran, but didn't want people to get confused with the cereal!
babydraco on LibraryThing 7 months ago
As usual, the Will Stanton focused books are miles better than the ones solely about the Drews, and the Will and Bran books are the best of all. Since this is the first book Bran makes his appearance in, you can assume it¿s great. Perhaps Bran was the character she subconsciously wanted to write all along. The only thing I¿m wondering is, I know ¿Gwen¿ was only with Owen Davies for three days and it was rural Wales in the sixties but seriously, no one noticed that she was more than just a little out of place?
reannon on LibraryThing 7 months ago
4th of 5 in the Dark Is Rising series, and an excellent entry.
callmecayce on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I completely adore this series and, just as with the previous three books, listening to them is like I've never read them before. I was especially excited for this book because I'd been waiting for Bran to show up. While I remember bits and pieces of the previous books, it is Bran who remained the strongest in my memory (Will a close second) and I didn't know why. But I do now. It's the way Cooper introduces us to his character, it's his back story, it's all secrets he has and doesn't have. But it's also his relationship with Will (one that I adore, because up until now, Will has had friends we've never met, he's had siblings and he's had the Drews, but they never knew his secrets). Bran and Will are around the same age, but what makes Bran special is that he and will can talk. Will doesn't have to pretend to be a kid or an old one, he can just be himself and that is one of the things I love best about Bran. I also love the way we (and Bran) discover who Bran really is -- I love Will's realization but I especially love the way Bran owns it. I've always loved these books (along with a few others of Cooper's) and while I'm so excited to read the final book, I'm already sad that the series has to come to an end. It's truly been a pleasure to listen to these books.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 8 months ago
One of the things that stood out for me was the dramatic ending to this installment in the series. Unlike some of the other novels of "The Dark is Rising" this one feels more grown-up and less about children having an adventure. Part of this is the more mature themes - death, serious illness, love and loss. I think this is the more interesting part of this series. The actual magical adventures seem almost predestined to be successful. The part in question is the character of the people involved.
seph on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This fourth book in the Dark Is Rising series is the strongest I've yet read. The danger is finally palpable, and the more fantastic elements blend more smoothly with the world as we know it. The location and mythology lend a wonderful atmosphere to this read. I wish I'd had these books as a kid; I know they would've been favorites.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is the fourth book (out of five) in The Dark is Rising series and so far, one of my favorites. Will Stanton is young boy on the outside, but he¿s also one of the ¿Old Ones,¿ who are in the midst of fighting a continuous battle against the dark forces that try to corrupt the world. In my opinion, the later books do not work well as stand alones. You really need to read the earlier ones to understand who the Old Ones are and grasped the overall story, so start at the beginning. In this book Will gets sick and his family sends him off to Wales for a little R&R with some extended family. Once there he makes friends with Bran, a kind albino boy, and his faithful dog Cafall. Bran is a wonderful addition to the stories mythology and I love watching his story unfold. I was also glad to see Merriman make an appearance as well. I will admit that I¿m sure I would have loved this series even more if I¿d read it when I was younger. A mystery, good vs. evil, a bit of fantasy, it would have been right up my alley. That¿s not to say I still don¿t love it, it¿s just different when you can read a series with a certain innocence. Your mind isn¿t already saturated with hundreds of books and each new addition is startlingly new and wonderful. As it has been with the other books in this series, the best part of the plot comes as things are wrapped up in the end. There¿s always a little twist or new bit of the story revealed and I particularly loved this one. I won¿t give anything away, but I am really looking forward to reading the final book in the series.
sirfurboy on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I am involved in a group read that is working through this series, so I re-read this book for the first time in what must be more than 20 years. As a child I loved it and read and re-read the book, to the point that I still had a vivid memory of some of the scenes. On re-erading it I rediscovered some scenes I had forgotten.Susan Cooper has written a classic series, with an incredible sweep of imagination, and such an enduring appeal that some of the things she invents in these books are even being remembered as a kind of new folk lore! For instance, the association between Cader Idris and King Arthur is actually quite modern, but these days anyone will tell you that the mountain is Arthur's seat! That tells you how widely these books have been read and are still read.And so they should be read. The stories areclassics. This one rightly one a Newbery award. It is not quite the perfect children's book that the earlier "The Dark is Rising" is, but there were aspects of this book that made me almost ache as a child! I remember when I first read the start of this book, where Will Stanton wakes up from a fever grasping at a memory that he has lost. That was, for me as a boy, an incredibly powerful way to start this story - and the rediscovery, followed by the mystery around the boy, Bran, all worked perfectly driving to the conclusion.Caradog Prichard is an annoying nasty character that had me feeling terrible righteous anger - and he is but the helper of the real antagonist - the Grey King.What is more, the location of this story in the beautiful Dysynni valley was so perfect for anyone who has ever visited that part of wales. The landscape of that valley just evokes mystery and a feeling that this is the centre of some old and wonderful legend. On the downside, this book was written in the 1970s and in places the dialogue sounds a little clunky to 21st century ears. Will Stanton uses phrases like "Good Lord, no". The Welsh is also rather formal and uncolloquial (not that a non Welsh speaker will care about that!) But just because the book is now 40 years old does not mean it is any less a good read. Children still read all kinds of other books from that generation - and this series should be among them. Suitable for ages about 10 and up, and it was something of a cult book when I was at University too, so there are no upper limits here.
AngelaG86 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Knowing they need a sixth person to complete the Circle, Will Stanton finds himself in Wales in furtherance of the quest.
goodnightmoon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Though initially confused by the background I didn't have, I quickly got into trying to piece together the elements of the song. The mystery aspect makes the fantasy even more engaging, in my opinion. Without it, the action would be a bit lacking. I kept waiting and waiting for the confrontation with the Grey King, which never happened. My other quibbles would be the complex sentences that required me to reread often, and the complete lack of denouement. Still, all through the book, I was eager to see what would happen next. Worth a read, in the series order.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is the fourth book in The Dark is Rising Sequence and probably my favorite so far. This one seemed slightly more mature than the previous ones. It annoys me that Will never really has to think to solve his problems--he always knows what to do, what words to say in the Old Language, just by "instinct." Where's the fun in that? A very quick read.
RebeccaAnn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
There is a Welsh legend about a harp of gold, hidden within a certain hill, that will be found by a boy and a white dog with silver eyes -- a dog that can see the wind. Will Stanton knew nothing of this when he came to Wales to recover from a severe illness. But when he met Bran, the strange boy who owned a white dog, he began to remember. For Will is the last-born of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to saving the world from the forces of evil, the Dark. And it is Will's task to wake -- with the golden harp -- the six who must be roused from their long slumber in the Welsh hills to prepare for the last battle between the Dark and the Light.This is to date my favorite book of the Dark is Rising Sequence. It was so nice to see Will struggle with something for a change. It made him human, it made him relatable, it made him the child that he is, and it made him lovable. Rather than dreading a book focused solely on Will, I found myself eagerly turning page after page. There was also much more emotion in this book. At one particular part, after experiencing a character death, I swear I lost the ability to breathe for a couple seconds. And Bran's family history, when discovered, leaves me anxious to pick up the fifth book.However, true to Cooper's style, I felt the book lacked a bit in the explanation area. I would have liked to know what was so powerful about the six riders and why they had the power to stop the Grey King. I would have also liked to know more about other two robed figures Will and Bran met in the cave (for lack of a better, more grand term).I still liked the book, though, and I can't wait to read the fifth one!
readafew on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Will Stanton is back and he meets a new friend Bran, while he is in the Welsh country side recovering from an illness. Will slowly remembers some of the stories and one in particular is about a harp hidden in the country side needed to call back some sleeping heroes to help defeat the Dark.This is a neat set of books for young adults/Middle school kids. I read them when I was in Middle school and found them a little spooky, having reread them as an adult I found them an easy read and definitely written for younger readers. Great books to get younger readers interested in reading.
Kirconnell on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Grey King is the fourth book in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series and winner of a Newberry Award. While I enjoyed this book I would be the first to recommend reading the series in sequence. Too much is lost by skipping around. That said, this book takes place in Wales (love it) with lots of references to farms and working dogs (love it even more). Too bad I missed these books as I was growing up. They seem to be written for a very mature or well educated group of 9 to 12 year olds and I wonder how well they fare with that age group today.
juliette07 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
..... `For a moment he seemed no more than an uncomplicated small boy, caught up in bubbling wonder by a marvellous sight¿..... This quote reflects the book, a mix of myth, legend and humanity.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!