by Susan Cooper
First published April 1, 1973
"When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back, Three from the circle, three from the track; Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; Five will return, and one go alone." With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding; Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined.
The entire Dark Is Rising sequence deserves the highest praise I can give. I've read them more times than I can count. This is the first series I fell head-over-heels in love with, and I can't pick up any of the books unless I have time to read them all.
This, the second book of the series, is the winner of a Newbery Honor in 1974, as well as the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction in 1973, and is a Carnegie Medal Honor Book.
The fight between good and evil rages through the entire adventure, sucking you in and rivaling The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books. If you haven't read them before, go get them. You won't be sorry.
This is the bar to which I hold and compare all other fantasy/adventure stories.