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The Dark is Rising is a 1973 fantasy novel by Susan Cooper. The second in The Dark Is Rising Sequence, the book won a Newbery Honor.

AuthorSusan Cooper
SeriesThe Dark Is Rising Sequence
Publication date
AwardsNewbery Honor
Preceded byOver Sea, Under Stone 
Followed byGreenwitch 


Will Stanton begins to have strange experiences on his 11th birthday, just before Christmas. He soon learns he is one of the Old Ones, a guardian and warrior for the Light. He learns that he must help find the four Things of Power for the Light in order to battle the forces of the Dark. The first of these Things of Power is the Circle of Six Signs. This book is the key book for the main character, Will Stanton. It is in this book that he collects the six signs which become the Circle of Signs, one of the Things of Power, by finding the additional five mandalas (he has been given one earlier) and uses the completed Circle to ward off the forces of the Dark. The book features elements of English folklore that are especially associated with the Thames Valley, with Herne the Hunter making an appearance.

Reception, awards, and impactEdit

The Dark is Rising was an American Library Association Newbery Honor Book in 1974.[1] Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named it one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[2] In 2012 it was ranked number 22 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.[3]


  1. ^ "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  2. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (7 July 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved 2012-08-19.