So I definitely missed this one as a kid, and what a shame. The series came on my radar when the apparently terrible movie was released. I saw a trailer for it and put the books on my TBR . . . and then did nothing about it for over a decade. Who even knows the timeline at this point. I kind of thought the book covers were ugly, so it never was a priority for me. But people really seem to love it, and a person I’m friends with on GR did a re-read recently, and I happened to see that the books had been re-released with some gorgeous illustrated covers, so I bought the first two intending to give them a go. And now I have read this first book. I’m sure this story was riveting for you.
And this was great! I would have LOVED it, absolutely lost my mind over it, had I read it as a child, but it was still a sort of nostalgic good time anyway. One thing it really made want to do is go on holiday in Cornwall, even though I’m sure things are very different sixty years on. There’s just something so viscerally satisfying for me about family and kid adventure stories where they’re looking for some sort of lost treasure by following long-hidden clues. It’s also fun that the treasure is related to Arthurian legend.
This one follows the Drew siblings as they follow clues on a very old map hidden in the attic of their vacation home on the Cornwall coast, as forces of the Dark close in on them. The kids weren’t super memorable, but apparently the most distinct kid character doesn’t appear until book two. (Will note, the kids play some gross colonialization adventure games before they get started on their quests, so it’s pretty dated, but it’s also I’m sure representative of what actual kids in the time played, so it’s a weird time capsule.) It was actually really harrowing watching them try to solve the clues first and avoid the antagonists, who were genuinely creepy and the cause of lots of tension in the story.
Something I didn’t know is that this book was written in the 1960s, ten years before the series’ most well known entry, The Dark is Rising, so I guess the author didn’t originally intend to have this be a series. That would have been a shame, because this one ends in a really open-ended way.
Not sure when I’ll get to the next book, hopefully soon so I don’t forget the details. And the books are easy, one afternoon reads.