The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Paperback Book

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time. When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard.

He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights. But the heart of the magic that binds them - Firefrost, also known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen - has been lost.

The Wizard has been searching for the stone for more than 100 years, but the forces of evil are closing in, determined to possess and destroy its special power. Colin and Susan realise at last that they are the key to the Weirdstone's return.

But how can two children defeat the Morrigan and her deadly brood?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9780007355211

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I am a regular Radio 4 listener and listened to a recent reading of this book, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its publication. Set in and around Alderley Edge in Cheshire, which is a patch I know very well, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is a playful, famous five-ish, apparently 'seminal' fantasy novel which set the way for classics such as His Dark Materials. Colin and Susan are sent to live with a family friend in Alderley Edge for six months as their parents are otherwise occupied. The family friend is a farmer's wife, Bess who lives next to 'the Edge' (not the bassist from U2) with her husband Gowther and their flock of various animals. So, the Edge at Alderley is described by Wikipedia as "a steep and thickly wooded sandstone ridge... which is the area's chief topographical feature. Alderley Edge overlooks the Cheshire Plain". There are views for miles around "From its highest point, the Edge affords panoramic views across Cheshire and the Peak District and walking paths through the property, as well as one to nearby National Trust property Hare Hill. From the Edge, the Cheshire Plain, can be seen extending from the area of Macclesfield Forest on the south east side with its with undulating land and woods, towards the extreme easterly point of the Derbyshire peaks, and northerly to Manchester and Blackstone Edge in Yorkshire.Until trees were planted at the Edge (1745–1755), visitors to the Edge could see a full 360° panorama of the country around; today the view from the Edge itself is limited to the northerly and easterly directions. Trees now obscure the views in other directions, including views of the Wrekin in Shropshire to the south; The Cloud near Bosley and Mow Cop (where the Cheshire Plain meets the Peckforton Hills, Beeston Castle, and the Delamere Forest) to the south west; and west to the mountains of North Wales".Colin and Susan spend the days of the summer holidays exploring the edge and the surrounding parkland, under strict instructions from Gowther not to enter the abandoned mines (which actually exist). When one day, Colin and Susan encounter a white bearded man called Cadellin, their time at Alderley transforms beyond all recognition.Cadellin is the several hundreds of years old guardian of Fundindelve, an underground sanctuary of dwarves and magicians, but his power to keep Fundindelve safe and to keep the world safe is limited by the absence of the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, a stone of great power. Unbeknownst to everyone, Susan is wearing the Weirdstone around her wrist. Cadellin issues a warning for Susan and Colin to stay away from the Edge, that they may be in grave danger. But, after a few months of staying away, Colin and Susan are unable to resist exploring Stormy Point and the Edge. They are captured by the evil Svarts who steal the Weirdstone.From this point onwards, Susan and Colin and a cast of helpers struggle to fight the evil forces of Grimmir and his associates.Good points of this book include the brilliant sense of place and tense atmosphere that persists through the book. Alderley Edge is depicted accurately, I recognised lots of features described in the book including the steep climb towards the Edge, the Wizard pub, the houses scattered around the hillsides.A fairly major lacking point however was the total absence of characterisation of Susan and Colin. There is nothing to distinguish them, they are never described in detail, they are truly a blank canvass. I felt this was a significant flaw in the book, especially when you compare it to later creations such as Lyra in His Dark Materials. For these reasons, I can't give the book more than 3 1/2 stars.

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