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Weirdstone Of Brisingamen [Audiobook]

Alan (Author) Garner Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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"Madoc exhibits his classical training at the RSC in his use of dialects, guttural pronouncements, and screams as the children and their protectors fight for their very lives. Selections of music composed by Arnold Bax lend an aura of creepy menace and gloom to selected sections throughout." -- Lolly Gepson "Booklist - July 2006"

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The heart of the magic was sealed with Firefrost, the Weirdstone of Brisingamen...should Nastrond destroy the stone, then the magic will die away. When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, the Wizard - Cadellin Silverbrow - takes them to safety deep in the caves of Fundindelve. Here he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights, awaiting the fated hour when they must rise and fight. But the Weirdstone of Brisingamen is lost and the forces of evil are closing in. The children realise that they are the key to its return, but how can they defeat the powerful magic of the Morrigan and her deadly brood. First published in 1960, four decades before "Harry Potter", Alan Garner's novel of magic and wizards has endured and become a modern classic of children's literature.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding classic fantasy April 21 2004
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Wizards, dwarves, goblins and elves - Tolkien, right? Wrong. Alan "Weirdstone of Brisingamen," a spellbinding story in the true tradition of imaginative and inventive fantasy. Using various bits of Celtic and Norse mythology, Garner wound together an astounding story.
Colin and Susan, a pair of English schoolkids, are sent to Alderly for a six-month vacation with their mother's old nurse and her husband. Things start off normally enough, with the kids exploring the area and the myths, legends and superstitions surrounding it. But things begin to take an eerie turn when they encounter a spell-chanting old woman named Selina Place - and then a horde of svart-alfar, hideous and hostile goblins.
They are unexpectedly rescued by the wizard Cadellin, who is the keeper of a company of knights sleeping deep under Alderly. They will awaken at some time in the future, to combat the evil spirit Nastrond and his minions in the final, magical battle. There's just one problem: long ago, Cadellin lost the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the magical jewel that bound the knights there in the first place. Susan realizes too late that the little misty teardrop gem in her bracelet is the Weirdstone - and it's been stolen. The kids team up with Cadellin, the dwarves Fenodyree and Durathror, the lios-alfar (elves), and their friend Gowther to find the Weirdstone - and save the world.
Written in the 1960s, this book effectively combines the English-schoolkids-swept-into-magical adventure subgenre with mythology and the overlap of our world with another. Garner's wizards, dwarves, elves and goblins are as legit as Tolkien's, as Garner draws heavily from mythos and legends. There are similarities to Tolkien's creations, but they are sufficiently different that not once do you feel the need to compare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story April 4 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a GREAT story. It is set in northern Derbyshire (UK) amid the caverns and caves that are everywhere in and under the region.
A great adventure for all readers aged 8 - 14. There is magic, suspense and all the other elements of a good story. It it well written and flows well.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very dry Oct. 8 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Way too much detail and not enough plot!Things happen out of nowhere and I had to drag myself though the last half,
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Want of a Horse May 4 2002
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When the wizard Cadellin took up his guardianship of 140 knights who await the final battle, he had yet to acquire one last horse. When he did so, the price was higher than he expected, for the seller took the stone Firefrost, the key that keeps the knights asleep and would wake them when they were needed. And so, it was lost to the sight of Cadellin.
This is the past that shapes the story of young Susan and Colin, children sent to stay with Gowther and Bess Mossock in Cheshire while their parents are abroad. For unknown to her, Susan bears the Wierdstone itself and the children quickly find themselves at the center of a great struggle between what is fair and what is utterly evil.
They will be menaced but the evil svarts and rescued by Cadellin. They will see Firefrost fall into the hands of the witch, Selena Place and Grimnir, the dark wizard. In the company of Gowther and two dwarves, Fenodree and Durathor they will snatch the stone back from the hands of the morthbrood and quest through tunnel, cave and forest to return it to Cadellin. And they will face a final battle at the edge of Ragnarok.
In an era of fantasy writing when we expect lengthy trilogies as a matter of course, it is amazing how few of them stand up to the standard set by this little (195 page) tale for young readers. Garner is a brilliant writer, who knows exactly how phrase his words so that they gain magical weight and shape without ever becoming over blown and stilted. From the first paragraph, the reader knows that this is something special and is quickly drawn into the world that lies behind the mundane appearances of rural Cheshire. Trees menace, mansions conceal passages to the underworld, and wizards live behind stones and under lakes. If animals do not talk, they certainly 'know,' and that is even better.
I have read this book several times, and if I regret anything, it is that is was not there for me when I was the age for which it was originally intended. But Alan Garner writes for the child we never leave behind, and the book remains entirely enchanting to me. Still a native of Cheshire, Garner captures the sounds and accents of that countryside with a sure pen. The story may remind you of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, but it is not at all derivative. Rather, it stands with them as one of the fine moments of British fantasy. By all means, give this book to your children, but do not forget to read it yourself.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of Arthurian & Scandinavian folklore Feb. 17 2002
By E. A. Lovitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen," award-winning Cheshire writer Alan Garner retells the ancient legend of the cave of the sleeping king as a Young Adult fantasy. His story treads very lightly on the mantle of "Lord of the Rings," and a bit more heavily on Arthurian legend, but draws mainly from local folklore and Scandinavian mythology.
Except for school, a brief stint at Magdalen College, Oxford, and service in the Army, Mr. Garner has lived in Cheshire near Alderly Edge, as did generations of his family. He knows the `Weirdstone' terrain as well as its folklore, and he writes about what he knows: the cliffs and meres of Alderley Edge; and the maze of mines and tunnels that underlies Cheshire.
`Weirdstone' doesn't follow the path of a true Arthurian romance, except for the Cave Legend, and the brief appearance of Angharad Goldenhand who might or might not be the Lady of the Lake.

(The story of a king and his followers sleeping in a secret cave predates Arthur, but became attached to him as the `once and future king,' who will wake to serve his country again in time of great peril.)
There is also the wizard who guards the Cave. In this story, his name is Cadellin, and a few centuries past he misplaced the Weirdstone of Brisingamen while bargaining for a milk-white mare.
This story really begins when two children, Colin and Susan get off the train at Alderley Station. They are going to stay on the Mossock farm while their parents travel abroad, as Mrs. Mossock was their mother's former nurse. Susan happens to be wearing a bracelet set with an unusual stone, and we gradually learn the history of the stone, which has been passed down from mother to daughter of a local Chesire family, and finally to Susan. As family legend has it, a wizard traded the stone for a milk-white mare.

Very soon Colin and Susan discover the truth of the family legend, when they are rescued from a band of goblins (svart-alfar) by the wizard, Cadellin, and are taken to the cave where a King sleeps, along with a hundred knights clad in silver and mounted on milk-white steeds.

Cadellin doesn't realize why Colin and Susan were being hunted by the servants of Nastrond, the evil spirit of Ragnarok. Only after Susan's bracelet is stolen by a skeletal creature of the mist, does Cadellin understand that she possessed his magical Weirdstone.
Colin and Susan's quest to return the stone to Cadellin leads them on a desperate chase through the mines beneath Cheshire, and into a countryside transformed by a fierce and unseasonable fimbulwinter (the immediate prelude to the end of the world---Ragnarok.)

This is not a good story for the claustrophobic (I almost lost it when the kids were stuck down in the mine)or for those who don't like things that go bump in the night. There are monsters galore; almost too many to keep track of. There are powerful wizards, both good and evil.
And then, there is Ragnarok.
However, this is a good read for those who are not easily frightened (or who love a good fright), and who have at least some knowledge of Arthurian legends and Scandinavian folklore.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding classic fantasy April 21 2004
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wizards, dwarves, goblins and elves - Tolkien, right? Wrong. Alan "Weirdstone of Brisingamen," a spellbinding story in the true tradition of imaginative and inventive fantasy. Using various bits of Celtic and Norse mythology, Garner wound together an astounding story.
Colin and Susan, a pair of English schoolkids, are sent to Alderly for a six-month vacation with their mother's old nurse and her husband. Things start off normally enough, with the kids exploring the area and the myths, legends and superstitions surrounding it. But things begin to take an eerie turn when they encounter a spell-chanting old woman named Selina Place - and then a horde of svart-alfar, hideous and hostile goblins.
They are unexpectedly rescued by the wizard Cadellin, who is the keeper of a company of knights sleeping deep under Alderly. They will awaken at some time in the future, to combat the evil spirit Nastrond and his minions in the final, magical battle. There's just one problem: long ago, Cadellin lost the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the magical jewel that bound the knights there in the first place. Susan realizes too late that the little misty teardrop gem in her bracelet is the Weirdstone - and it's been stolen. The kids team up with Cadellin, the dwarves Fenodyree and Durathror, the lios-alfar (elves), and their friend Gowther to find the Weirdstone - and save the world.
Written in the 1960s, this book effectively combines the English-schoolkids-swept-into-magical adventure subgenre with mythology and the overlap of our world with another. Garner's wizards, dwarves, elves and goblins are as legit as Tolkien's, as Garner draws heavily from mythos and legends. There are similarities to Tolkien's creations, but they are sufficiently different that not once do you feel the need to compare. Garner lifts from Norse and Celtic mythologies for this book (mentions of the Morrigan and Ragnarok are featured within pages of one another) and manages to cobble it together into a coherent and believable whole.
Alderly is effectively shown - from the moment the kids venture out of the farm, there is the sense that enchantment is thrumming through the land, and that a magical creature could be lurking nearby. The sense of atmosphere is somewhat stunted by the fact that we rarely hear the characters' thoughts, though, but such creatures as the svart-alfar and the lios-alfar are effective in the simple, evocative descriptions.
This is a book more for Tolkien fans than Diana Wynne-Jones fans. Though there are a few funny parts, it is overall a relentlessly serious book, with many of the characters using archaic-sounding language. Another good thing: the kids speak like twentieth-century preteens ("That WOULD have made a mess of things!") while such characters as Durathror speaking like warriors from centuries ago ("... for there I think it will be, and so to Fundindelve, where I shall join you if I may.") In addition, there is no cutesy magic or gimmickry, or casual magical elements popping up every page or two. The magic featured in here is deadly serious and very intense.
Colin and Susan are the archetypical kids-on-holiday-in-magical-place: brave, respectful, inquisitive, curious, and in completely over their heads. Cadellin is an excellent wizard, dignified and powerful but sufficiently human to be sympathetic, such as his reaction when he hears that the Weirdstone has been stolen from Susan. This guy deserves a seat right below Gandalf, and alongside Merlin, Ged and Ebenezum. The dwarves are serious and unusually cool-headed for the fantasy portrayal of dwarves; the lios-alfar are featured less prominently, but the "elves of light" passage is one of the most moving paragraphs in the book, both sad and beautiful.
The only problem with this book is its shortness, and its presence as only one of two. The tales of Alderly are so rich that you feel that Garner could have churned out fifty books and never grown stale. For fans of serious fantasy, this is a must-have.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding classic fantasy Dec 31 2001
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wizards, dwarves, goblins and elves - Tolkien, right? Wrong, it's Alan Garner's "Weirdstone of Brisingamen," a spellbinding story in the true tradition of imaginative and inventive fantasy. Garner isn't as well-known as he deserves, but fantasy fans will gobble this right up.
Colin and Susan, a pair of English schoolkids, are sent to Alderly for a six-month vacation with their mother's old nurse and her husband. Things start off normally enough, with the kids exploring the area and the myths, legends and superstitions surrounding it. But things begin to take an eerie turn when they encounter a spell-chanting old woman named Selina Place - and then a horde of svart-alfar, hideous and hostile goblins.
They are unexpectedly rescued by the wizard Cadellin, who is the keeper of a company of knights sleeping deep under Alderly. They will awaken at some time in the future, to combat the evil spirit Nastrond and his minions in the final, magical battle. There's just one problem: long ago, Cadellin lost the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the magical jewel that bound the knights there in the first place. Susan realizes too late that the little misty teardrop gem in her bracelet is the Weirdstone - and it's been stolen. The kids team up with Cadellin, the dwarves Fenodyree and Durathror, the lios-alfar (elves), and their friend Gowther to find the Weirdstone - and save the world.
Written in the 1960s, this book effectively combines the English-schoolkids-swept-into-magical adventure subgenre with mythology and the overlap of our world with another. Garner's wizards, dwarves, elves and goblins are as legit as Tolkien's, as Garner draws heavily from mythos and legends. There are similarities to Tolkien's creations, but they are sufficiently different that not once do you feel the need to compare. Garner lifts from Norse and Celtic mythologies for this book (mentions of the Morrigan and Ragnarok are featured within pages of one another) and manages to cobble it together into a coherent and believable whole.
Alderly is effectively shown - from the moment the kids venture out of the farm, you get the sense that enchantment is thrumming through the land, and that a magical creature could be lurking nearby. The sense of atmosphere is somewhat stunted by the fact that we rarely hear the characters' thoughts, though, but such creatures as the svart-alfar and the lios-alfar are effective in the simple, evocative descriptions.
This is a book more for Tolkien fans than Diana Wynne-Jones fans. Though there are a few funny parts, it is overall a relentlessly serious book, with many of the characters using archaic-sounding language. Another good thing: the kids speak like twentieth-century preteens ("That WOULD have made a mess of things!") while such characters as Durathror speaking like warriors from centuries ago ("... for there I think it will be, and so to Fundindelve, where I shall join you if I may.") In addition, there is no cutesy magic or gimmickry, or casual magical elements popping up every page or two. The magic featured in here is deadly serious and very intense.
Colin and Susan are the archetypical kids-on-holiday-in-magical-place: brave, respectful, inquisitive, curious, and in completely over their heads. Cadellin is an excellent wizard, dignified and powerful but sufficiently human to be sympathetic, such as his reaction when he hears that the Weirdstone has been stolen from Susan. This guy deserves a seat right below Gandalf, and alongside Merlin, Ged and Ebenezum. The dwarves are serious and unusually cool-headed for the fantasy portrayal of dwarves; the lios-alfar are featured less prominently, but the "elves of light" passage is one of the most moving paragraphs in the book, both sad and beautiful.
The only problem with this book is its shortness, and its presence as only one of two. The tales of Alderly are so rich that you feel that Garner could have churned out fifty books and never grown stale. If you are a fan of serious fantasy, for any age, read this book, and the sequel "Moon of Gomrath."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garner: The Lost Inkling? Aug. 2 2007
By Jason Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I can't imagine why more people (especially young people) aren't reading Alan Garner these days. His books, while still in print, aren't often found in the bookstores' active inventories anymore, which is a sad loss. Well, no matter -- you can get them through Amazon or (probably) at your local library. And you should, because they are wonderful!

I first read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen while in grade school, around the time I was discovering J.R.R. Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander. It's an exciting fantasy tale, the more so because it is woven into the hidden nooks and crannies of our own modern-day world -- unlike Tolkien and Alexander. You never know when you might look behind a standing stone, only to find a stromkarl chanting a spell, while other passersby would see nothing but a little man humming to himself ...

Colin and Susan are very likable young protagonists, and there are plenty of other characters -- both good and evil -- to keep the story engrossing. When I was young, I was terrified of the Mara and the Svart-alfar! And the Earldelving is enough to make anybody claustrophobic! The novel is full of surprises, excitement, and just good old fashioned adventure.

After many, many readings, I've come to appreciate what Garner's done from a more adult and "serious" standpoint -- integrating folkloric and mythological elements (particularly the Old Norse) into the fabric of a "modern" children's fantasy. Garner has much in common with Tolkien, Lewis, and the other Inklings, as well as Ursula K. Le Guin, Susan Cooper, and Lloyd Alexander.

But at the heart of it all, it's just great fantasy! Read it and see if you don't agree.
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