The Dark is Rising is actually the second book in this amazing series by Susan Cooper, but the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, is really a prequel to the sequence. The series centers around Will Stanton, who, on his 12th birthday, learns that he is the last of the Old Ones, and that he is destined to play a major role in the struggle between the Dark and the Light. The plot is not the main thing here. The author plunges the reader into a setting that is so fraught with danger from unknowable sources that you are kept on the edge of your seat throughout. The weather plays a huge role in the story, and who would think that weather could be so sinister! As the Dark increases its presence, the countryside is blanketed with snow such as has never been seen before, and cold that drives the villagers to huddle together in the manor house for warmth as a supernatural ice storm rages outside. Will is the Sign-Seeker: he must find and retrieve the six ancient signs which, when joined together, will give him enough power to fight the Dark. The book has a dream-like quality that makes the character of the Rider who pursues Will even more sinister. At the same time Will is trying to understand the ancient struggle he has been thrust into, he is also living his normal life with his many brothers and sisters (he is the seventh son of a seventh son), and it's Christmas. Of course the most magical time is between Christmas and Twelfth Night, which is when the book takes place. This is the third time I have read this book, and I have to go on and read the rest of the series again.