Five children go on a quest for light

The Dark is Rising Sequence Susan Cooper Published by Bodley Head Children's Books ISBN: 9780370329420

With all the hype in recent years over Harry Potter, it is easy to forget there were many other books in the genre before everyone's favourite boy wizard picked up his wand.

The Dark is Rising Sequence is one of these and this is the entire five-volume sequence published in one.

Susan Cooper sets the story partly in Wales, where legend has it King Arthur once had his court of Camelot. She also draws heavily on other Celtic myths.

The story is packed full of ancient treasure maps, hidden trails, witchcraft, magic, time-travelling immortals and epic battles between good and evil in the past, present and future.

The story is told through the lives of five young heroes - the three Drew siblings, and Will and Bran. It is about how invisible forces of good and evil are at work in Britain. The question is not just who will win, but who should win. Life is not black and white, and Cooper weaves a dark story in which people must make life-changing decisions. The children, with the help of grandfatherly Merriman, must battle to save the world. Contrary to what you might think, this is not a book about working together. The heroes don't all finally connect until the last book, but their adventures intertwine in the mythical Welsh mountains filled with place names you won't be able to pronounce. Cooper creates a highly creative, imaginary world filled with strange people and creatures. It is an adventurous take on an existing legend, and a journey into the battle of good and evil.