GREENWITCH by Susan Cooper


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The epic confrontation between the Light and the Dark continues (see The Dark is Rising, KR, 1973), and now the battlefield is magic-favored Cornwall where the Greenwitch -- a totem figure annually sacrificed to the sea -- has stolen the manuscript which Old Ones Merriman Lyon and Will Stanton need to defeat the powers of evil. The supernatural forces that converge for this chapter of the quest are sharply drawn and breathtakingly impressive -- particularly the whining petulant Greenwitch who has no understanding of the importance of his stolen "secret" but calls armies of ghostly Norsemen from the sea to protect his prized possession. And the emissary of the dark, who lives in a gypsy caravan and literally paints his spells on canvas, is a fine example of an over-ambitious junior grade devil. It still seems to us that the metaphor of the final "all-time" struggle between "Light" and "Dark" is too grandiose and abstract. Imagine going meekly to bed, as do Barney, Simon and Jane, while the devil and the spirits of the sea wage war outside your cottage window. Imagine evil incarnate, fighting for its very life, having no better agent than the skulking, unreliable landscape painter. Cooper never lets us forget that this is the sort of grand moral struggle that can be fought without ever missing one's evening cup of cocoa. It all would be more exciting if there were just a little real risk involved, but the literally earth-shaking fireworks are nevertheless quite a show.
Pub Date: April 17th, 1974
ISBN: 1416949666
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1974


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