L-Space Strikes Again…

You may remember The Case of the Missing Pratchett Book and The Case of the Karate Library, well The Delightful Mr F has, once again, been truly Delightful. The Folio Society have published a beautiful edition of Mort by Terry Pratchett, and alongside the normal version, there is a limited edition of just 500, which has now sold out. 

Today I was feeling a little bit worn out, and lo, what should appear on the Pratchett book case?… These appeared… I had no idea, and then there they were, wrapped up, and standing in line with all the other books. 

Top: Limited Edition. Bottom: Normal Edition
Top: Limited Edition. Bottom: Normal Edition

Yes, not only had he bought me the normal edition, he had got his mitts on a limited edition one too. So I now own No. 401*.

Limited Edition front plate
Limited Edition front plate

They are both utterly beautiful. The standard edition has a suede cover with stunning artwork on the slip case. The limited edition feels as though it has come straight out of DEATH’s library, with a leather cover and gold edged pages, just as it is described in the novel. 

Normal Edition Slipcase and Cover
Normal Edition Slipcase and Cover

Both books have equally fantastic artwork, and I particularly like this one of DEATH in a bar. 

DEATH has cocktail
DEATH has cocktail

You all know how much I love books, but these two made me go slightly weak at the knees. I had to have a sit down (and a read). 

* The Delightful Mr F’s delightfulness knows no bounds. He’s a keeper, that’s for sure. 

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The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

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This is the second book in The Dark Is Rising Sequence, confusingly also called The Dark Is Rising and is all part of my The Dark Is Rising Read-a-thon.

In this book we leave the Drew siblings, who found the Holy Grail in Over Sea Under Stone, and we join Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son the day before his eleventh birthday. His birthday is the 21st December, Midwinter’s Day, and when he wakes he finds a deep blanket of snow. He also finds that he has left the modern world and outside is the world as it was centuries before.

He goes on to meet Merriman Lyon, one of the Old Ones of the Light, pitched in an eternal battle with the Dark. Merriman tells Will that he is the Sign Seeker, an Old One, with a special role to play. Will has to collect the six signs, which will make the ring of power, required to help defeat the Dark.

The book is incredibly atmospheric, with Will travelling backwards and forwards through time as the Dark pile on ever more destruction in the modern day. There is never ending snow, bitter cold, and then floods. The village in which Will lives in is set in the Thames valley, and the descriptions are stunning, as is the plotting. The whole story slowly builds momentum until the Dark unleashes the peak of its power on the twelfth night and Will truly starts to understand what being an Old One means.

It all sounds quite full on, and it is, but lovely family scenes break the tension as the Stanton family prepare for Christmas. Seeing Will go from being an ordinary eleven year old boy to an Old One with ancient knowledge is wonderful, and your heart will be in your mouth as he finally faces The Dark. 

PS. Don’t judge the book by the film, which was a travesty. 

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

I am, as I write this, knee deep in The Dark Is Rising Read-a-thon, and frankly I am having a whale of a time. Today’s post is a review of the first book in the series, Over Sea Under Stone. The book which turned me into a reader. Regular visitors to this blog will know that this book has a special place in my heart. I have read it multiple times, and each time I get as much joy as I did the first time I read it. My childhood copy is now so battered it wouldn’t hold up to another read, so I read the beautiful Folio Society editions The Delightful Mr F bought for me.

Over Sea Under Stone is set in the fictional Cornish fishing village of Trewissick. Here we meet Simon, Jane and Barney Drew, siblings on holiday with their family, and most importantly, their Great-Uncle Merry. On a rainy day the three children explore Grey House, rented for the summer by their parents. They come across an ancient manuscript detailing a map to the hiding place of King Arthur’s grail. Very quickly they realise they are in danger as some very nasty people are after the map too. Confiding in their Great-Uncle they learn about the eternal battle between the Light and the Dark and the importance of the grail in that struggle and how their Great Uncle has also been looking for the map.  With the help of Merry, they set out to solve the clues and find the grail.

I particularly like the Drew family in this book. In most children’s literature the author has to dispense with the adults in order for the children to have an adventure, or the adults are utterly vile. In this, the Drew family are very normal. Mum and Dad are kind and fair, and Cooper didn’t have to bump them off to free up Simon, Jane and Barney to treasure hunt. The whole development of the plot takes place inside the normal confines of life for the children, which makes it feel very plausible.

The whole story is one of contrasts. On the one hand we have a beautiful English fishing village, in the height of a glorious summer, and on the other we have a real feeling of fear, claustrophobia and darkness all around. Susan Cooper is adept and weaving these two things together, the heat of the day beating down, whilst the proximity of the Dark crushing the children with the weight of its presence.  Reading the final few chapters in bed, in the dark, with Storm Desmond raging outside, made the whole thing distinctly unnerving, and I remember as a child reading those chapters and realising for the first time that some people appear nice, but are actually very unpleasant indeed.  This is such a wonderful book, written with real subtly. Long before Harry, Ron and Hermione hunted Horcruxes, the Drews were looking for the holy grail, and dare I say it? I think I will, for all of JK Rowling’s wonderful plotting and clever word play, Cooper’s world is far more menacing and hence rewarding, because  it is easy to believe that one summer’s day you too could find a treasure map.

The Dark Is Rising Readathon 2015

Isn’t the interweb wonderful? Out of the blue I was Tweeted by Danny about a potential The Dark Is Rising Readathon in December this year. Would I be interested in taking part? Hmmm… let me think… Oh go on then! A group read of my very favourite books? I wasn’t likely to say no was I?

There is a nice Facebook group, and a Twitter account at @TDiRReadathon. So, anyone else fancy reading them? If you haven’t read them, they are wonderful, and I can guarantee you a fantastic weekend fighting the ancient forces of darkness, all set in the glorious British countryside and interwoven with Arthurian legends, across five wonderful books*.

The movie stinks, so give that a miss. 

The books are:

*Don’t be put off that it is five books, they are short, we are not talking George RR Martin length here! 

 

L-Space… Thank you Sir Terry

The Librarian (from Wikipedia)
The Librarian (from Wikipedia)

If you would be so kind as to take a quick glance to the left hand menu bar, you will see an additional button has materialised. It takes you to a list of the Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. His final book, The Shepherd’s Crown is released today, and I thought it was about time that my very favourite author had a list of his own on the blog. 

I haven’t reviewed as many Pratchett’s as you might think, so I will rectify that. In the meantime, head over to Pratchett Job where one brave soul is reading each of the Discworld books back to back and blogging about them. His reviews are fantastic, and his attempt at ranking them is surely going to cause pandemonium! 

I am off to Mr B’s tomorrow to pick up my copy of The Shepherd’s Crown and will read it over the bank holiday weekend. I am looking forward to it, but whatever the ending of the novel I know I will be sad, as it is the end of the Discworld journey. 

 

The World Of Poo By Terry Pratchett

ISBN: 978-0857521217

Published By: Doubleday

I admit that this has the potential to be a rather unattractive read, but if you are going to take a risk on a story based on a lavatorial theme, then Terry Pratchett is probably a good author to trust. The book was first mentioned in one of Pratchett’s discworld novels, Snuff, when Sam Vines of the Watch reads it to his son.

The story see’s a young boy called Geoffrey sent off to stay with his Grandma whilst his Mum has a baby. During his stay, he develops and interest in poo when a bird deposits, as my gran would have said, “a little gift” on him. He sets out to collect a sample of poo from every animal on the Discworld. In itself the idea sounds utterly revolting, but the story of this little boy’s all consuming interest in his hobby is very charming, and in some cases educational. Yes, I know, stay with me. Throughout there are little gems of knowledge about how poo is used, told to Geoffrey by some wonderfully observed characters. It is all complimented by some wonderful drawings by Peter Dennis.

Disgusting? No. Delightful? Yes.