The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper : Creepy quote of the day

Crow caught in a spider's web

Image: Pixabay


Young Will Stanton has discovered he is one of the Old Ones, defenders of the Light against the forces of Darkness. It’s Christmas Day and the service has just ended at the local country church. Snow has the land in an icy grip, sinister black birds lurk in every tree and as the congregation fades away, the Dark pins Will and other Old Ones inside the church …

The Old Ones stood in the doorway of the church, their arms linked together. None spoke a word to another. Wild noise and turbulence rose outside; the light darkened, the wind howled and whined, the snow whirled in and whipped their faces with white chips of ice. And suddenly the rooks were in the snow, hundreds of them, black flurries of malevolence, cawing and croaking, diving down at the porch in shrieking attack and then swooping up, away. They could not come close enough to claw and tear; it was as if an invisible wall made them fall back within inches of their targets. But that would be only for as long as the Old Ones’ strength could hold. In a wild storm of black and white the Dark attacked, beating at their minds as at their bodies, and above all driving hard at the Sign-seeker, Will.


The lovely Mandibelle 16 has nominated me for the Three Quotes, Three Days – thanks Amanda – which is a lovely thread where bloggers post edifying quotes to inspire and encourage others.

Sadly, I find I am not the inspiring and encouraging type. So I thought I’d spin the prompt into something more ‘me’ and (it being the season for the scary) post some favourite quotes from crackingly terrifying books instead.

I can’t talk about Susan Cooper’s criminally underrated* The Dark is Rising without, quite frankly, coming across as a bit weird. 

It is without doubt the book that has shaped me the most so far as taste in literature and my own writing is concerned. It’s the mix of Christmas and the snow covered English countryside and pagan, Celtic and Arthurian myth, magic and danger and good versus evil. I’ve basically been looking all my life for a book that will take hold of me the way this book did. Still searching.

*I only say this because so many people haven’t heard of or read these books. Which should be a criminal offence – no exceptions.

P.S I have not watched the film adaptation made in 2007 where all pagan elements were removed along with most of the back story and several major characters and our hero became American. With apologies to my lovely blogging cousins across the Atlantic, but that’s like adapting The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and having Tom Sawyer come from a council estate in Central London. Poor show! 

Thursday: Send a skeleton to school day


Image: Pixabay

I sent a skeleton off to school on Thursday.

A skeleton dressed in a rather dapper broad brimmed hat and a sharp black jacket. He was no slouch when it came to all things sartorial, let me tell you.

What, you may ask, was I doing with a skelton in my house? Furthermore, what was I doing making this wrathe a chicken sandwich, ensuring he had two quid for the bus, his French homework and his P.E. kit? Was I becoming just a little too familiar with the dead for comfort? Had I finally given myself over to the arts of the necromancer?

And what the hell is a skeleton doing playing rugby?
Surely they don’t have the guts (I thank you.)

The truth is, the delightfully excited, dessicated bag of bones that shovelled a bowl of cereal before he sprinted for the door, was my son. And before you begin to worry he’s met with some dreadful accident or he’s a figment of my dark imaginings, don’t worry, he’s alive and well.

But Thursday, you see, dear friends, was World Book Day, a fun excuse (if one were needed) for kids across the UK to leave their school uniform on their bedroom floor (the only place to keep a uniform, of course) and dress as their favourite fictional character. 

Over the years, I have witnessed a lot of animals – bears of the Pooh variety, cats in hats, gold loving dragons – a ton of boy wizards with wonky, eyeliner scars on their foreheads and an awful lots of superheroes and fairy princesses.

Call me old fashioned, by I prefer the purer book characters, those less associated with high budget block buster movies and more with their papery origins – the more obscure the better. One of my son’s friends dresses as Death from the Discworld books, which I rather love.

The lazier kids can dress as Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid – and therefore go in their own clothes.

If World Book Day had been a ‘thing’ when I was at school, I would’ve gone as Laura Chant from the Changeover by Margaret Mahy – or Will Stanton from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising books.

And who was my son, you may ask?

Skulduggery Pleasant, of course.


How is World Book Day celebrated where you live?

And most importantly –

If you were to dress as a fictional character, who would you be?