This is the first book in The Dark is Rising Sequence. Two brothers and their sister go to stay at a sea captain’s house in a small village in Cornwall with their parents and their great uncle Merryman, whose description sounds suspiciously like that of Merlin. They find a hidden treasure map which might lead to the Holy Grail! But the bad guys are also looking. Who can they trust? They have a collection of clues to figure out while dodging dodgy parsons, sleek antique dealers on yachts, and mysterious people in dark overcoats.
Simon scrambled to his feet and went to crouch close to him, peering at the manuscript on his knee. “Then the map must show where the grail is. I say, suppose we find it? What will it mean?”
“It will mean all kinds of things,” Great-Uncle Merry said grimly. “And not all of them pleasant, perhaps.”
“What will it look like? What is a grail, anyway?”
The chases are wilder as the book progresses. I must not give away the ending but this is a quest and a rollicking adventure. The quest requisites of water, a wise man giving advice, search for a valuable object, and traveling through the mystic realm of Cornwall with its ancient standing stones by full moonlight under scudding clouds are all there. Add in a trek into a dark sea cave with only a few matches to light the way and a string tied around one’s waist. And wait, the tide is starting to come in.
ISBN 0-02-042785-9, 243 pages.