Oh my god, what a joy to just sit and read this. Pure pleasure. I loved this book when I was 11 and just as much, if not more, at 46. I'm so glad that Philip Pullman's Belle Sauvage reminded me of this book and I'm sorry Philip Pullman, this is better.
The story is based around Anglo-Saxon and Celtic legends via a fight between good and evil forces all centred around a boy who turns 11 on the winter solstice in 1973. To make it even better it all takes place around my home walking patch the Thames Valley. Yes, it's all a bit dated but for me it's as scary as The Hobbit and makes Harry Potter seem like Tom and Jerry. Unfortunately, this book, like Philip Pullman's, just didn't have a good movie made from it so they have both suffered from marketing problems. The cany JK Rowling retained director's rights over the movies so her unique vision has held the world bewitched for years.
It is an extremely descriptive book which describes the eternal battle of dark and light. It's based in a multi dimensional world and Will is the collector of 6 signs of nature to be held against the powers of the dark . The book takes place at the end of December into January, a time full of magic and melancholy. And for anyone who finds this time of year a bit spooky, weird, depressing and exciting all at the same time...with the addition of severe weather events, this book is perfect.
Susan Cooper writes like a dream. Her style is amazing and so many writer's of today must have started with the images formed by this book. In fact her writing style is where this book excels for me. It's only as a walker that I realise that all the things I see now are so perfectly described in some novels. This book describes the part of the world where I'm from with a perfect dose of Christmas magic.
I have just looked at the artwork in the twitter feed for this book, which has been set up over the christmas period. It's great.