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The Weirdstone of Brisingamen:
Readers who love E. Nesbit or Susan Cooper may discover a new favorite in Alan Garner, winner of many awards for literary excellence including the Carnegie Medal. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, first published in 1960, is the story of two children, Susan and Colin, who are sent to rural England to stay with Bess Mossock, their mother's childhood nurse. The Mossocks' farm is delightfully old-fashioned, and the Alderley area is dotted with interesting woods to explore as well as treacherous disused mines. Susan and Colin encounter a frightening local woman, and feel they are being watched by crows. The air of menace quickly becomes acute danger as the children are pursued by small goblinlike beings, who truss them in cobwebby ropes. An ancient wizard named Cadellin comes to their rescue. As they learn more of the dark forces that threaten Alderley, Susan and Colin find themselves on the run through the abandoned mine tunnels, aided by a pair of heroic dwarfs.
Garner's knowledge of folklore and the Alderley area--his characters' dialect sounds realistic instead of like rote fantasy-speak--imbues his story with a thoughtful depth. His writing is as clear as poetry: "And they passed between the stones, only to stop short a couple of paces later, with despair in their hearts, cold as the east wind." There is a sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, called The Moon of Gomrath, and both books are superbly written, absorbing tales of wizardry and adventure. --Blaise Selby [via]