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The Stones of Green Knowe

Press: Oldknow Books; 1St Edition edition (2003)
ISBN:9780952323365
Author Name:Boston, L.M.
Pages:128
Language:English

Content

This last installment of the beloved series recounts the long-ago beginnings of Green Knowe, a time when Roger, the son of a Norman lord, was the first child to live in the grand old manor. 
Roger finds some ancient stones on the grounds, which magically transport him back and forth in time so he can meet and befriend Toby, Linnet, Susan, and Tolly--the future inhabitants of Green Knowe and the heroes of the five other magical books in the series.

About the Author

LUCY MARIA BOSTON (1892-1990) purchased a ramshackle manor house near Cambridge, England, in 1935, which over a period of two years she lovingly restored. 
That house inspired her, at the age of sixty-two, to take pen in hand to create the beloved Green Knowe series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

For almost a year already Roger had watched the thick stone walls of the new house going up. 
All the time he was impatient and excited because he knew that it was going to be a marvel, it had been talked of for so long.
So far, except for its tremendous solidity, it was not so very different from their old Saxon hall.
It had arrow slits for windows and two rows of wooden pillars down the middle which would support the upper floor.
It had no door.
If he climbed up the builders' ladder outside and down inside, it felt like being in a prison, or perhaps in a very safe place.
It depended on what game Roger was playing.
He had never seen a stone house, and this one was to have two floors, an upstairs and a down.
What could be grander? They would live on the upper floor, and the entrance door would be up there, up a flight of outside stairs.
The ground floor would be for storage only.
It was hard to imagine.
All the houses in the village were either timber or wattle-and-daub.
The hall his family had lived in till now was log-built, solid and dark and smoky.
Its walls and rafters were painted in bright colors, but the smoke from the fire in the center of the floor blackened them as it curled its way up to the hole in the roof which served as a chimney.
If, on a bitterly cold day sitting on the river bank with his fishing line, Roger thought of the great comfort of being back again in the house, the smell of wood smoke, and food, and people, and wet dogs, and straw and stable (for the four white oxen and the best horses had their stalls in with the family), came to mind as the coziest thing imaginable.
The Saxon hall was the center of the manor estate which Roger's father, Osmund d'Aulneaux, held under the Norman earl, whose daughter, the lady Eleanor, he had married.
Originally the hall stood on a piece of ground half enclosed by a small backwater of the river.
In the troubled time when King William Rufus died, Osmund had had the watercourse deepened and widened into a moat, cut off from the river and palisaded on the inner side.
In case of attack the villagers and all the cattle could take refuge inside.
"No sensible man," Osmund said, "expects peace to last.
But I hope this new house will.
The church was built by the earl as a thanksgiving for the return of his son from the Crusade.
What will our Bernard think when he comes back safe and sound from the fighting and finds his mother living in a fine stone manor house ready to welcome him?" He said this to comfort his wife.
Bernard, their eldest son, had gone as a page to the earl's brother who still lived in Normandy.
There had been much fighting there, and no news had come from him for six months.
His mother thought of him day and night.
He had been sent away to the earl's household when he was only eight.
It was the usual practice for the eldest son to be brought up by more important relations both to give him a better position and to bind the families together, but the lady Eleanor had never got over the parting.
No other son could make up to her for her first-born.
She was stern with her two daughters, and they took it out of Roger whenever they had the chance.
The pages of the house were older than he.
They spent their free time joking with the girls, playing such games as Blind Man's Buff that gave a chance of cuddling, or just making silly jokes, so Roger was rather left out.
His grandmother was the one who loved him most.
She was Osmund's mother, a Saxon of high birth.
She lived in what was now her son's house, but it had been hers all her married life.
Her Norman daughter-in-law, the lady Eleanor, looked down on her as a mere Saxon.
This was always noticeable, because though the old lady had learned to speak French from her girlhood when she was given in marriage to a Norman, she never spoke it like a Norman-born.
She loved her son, and after him all her affection was for Roger.
She told him the old Saxon legends and stories, in which often the Normans were the enemies and did not always get the best of it, and she told them in her native English which best suited their racy style.
This had to be confidential between her and Roger, as the lady Eleanor did not approve.
In Norman families French was the proper language.
English was for the natives, the lower orders.
But the grandmother too was proud of her birth, and she loved her native land as a conqueror never could.
She taught Roger that he had famous Saxon ancestors and that love of this particular place ran in his blood.
Roger was the second son, eleven years old, just at the age to be most interested in the builders and their work.
There is no stone in the fenlands, so it had to be brought from a quarry in the midlands.
There it was loaded into barges and came down the river easily enough following the current.
On arrival near the manor it was loaded into carts and drawn by oxen to the site.
Usually Roger spotted the barge as it appeared round the bend in the river far upstream, and he saw the unloading through with as much keenness as if he were in charge.
The walls were built of rough stone, carefully bedded and fitted together, but the larger blocks were tooled on the spot to fit corners and window ledges and arches.
The master mason was very tolerant with the lord's son, and perhaps he would have been with any boy.
Roger was allowed to try his hand.
He was shown how every stone has a grain like wood and must be placed with the grain lying horizontally, or it will split.
The mason handled the stone lovingly.
"There's good stone and bad stone," he said, "you could say it's living.
Put your hand on a natural boulder warm in the sun, you can feel it's not dead, like bone for instance.
The sun makes no difference to bone.
Some pieces of stone are by nature bad, you can't do anything with them, and some are solid and loyal and will last for ever.
Besides that, stone takes something from what it is used for.
I've got a piece here that's going into your wall.
It didn't come from the quarry but from a stone merchant.
It came out of a little church that the Vikings burnt down.
It has got a Saxon cross on it.
I'm keeping it for the upper room." Usually Roger spent the morning learning the arts of knighthood, for he would be a fighting knight when he grew up.
He was dressed in imitation armor of stiff leather, and carried a wooden shield, and then on horseback practiced the rudiments of the kind of fighting peculiar to knights.
He would have to be a skilled and daring rider, and also to understand hawking.
His sisters also rode and hawked, but demurely on led horses, for they sat sideways.
Now in the commotion of building, they, poor girls, were kept indoors spinning and weaving and embroidering with fine bone needles all the linen that would be needed for the grander house.
They envied even the milkmaid who went out into the meadow at milking time, for cows were not brought into the byre, but, Norman fashion, the girl went out with a yoke across her shoulders and two wooden buckets and sought out each of the cows scattered across the common to milk it where it stood.
Unlike his sisters, Roger was at a loose end.
When he had had his riding lesson and groomed his pony he must find occupation for himself.
The building had been going on for such a time that he was beginning to lose interest, but when at long last the builders reached the upper level his enthusiasm was strongly revived.
He was thrilled with the pulleys for lifting the large stones of the window-heads into place.
He longed to be allowed to be one of the team who hauled on the rope to raise them, to have a hand himself in making these windows, which seemed to him, who had hitherto known only small slots between wooden uprights, the most glorious light-giving invention.
He had seen them of course in the new church, but to have them in the house where he was to live was almost unthinkable.
When he saw the first one in position in the still-roofless wall, its arch and the two lights silhouetted against the sky, and a huge white cumulus cloud towering behind it, his heart leapt with pride.Copyright © 1976 by L.
M.
BostonAll rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproducedor transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrievalsystem, without permission in writing from the publisher.Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the workshould be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

From AudioFile

This final book in the classic Green Knowe series is actually a prequel and finds Roger, son of a Norman lord, traveling forward in time. 
During the construction of the family home, Green Knowe, Roger unearths two magic stones, which allow him to journey to different centuries.
Capturing the enthusiasm of a boy stumbling into unexpected adventure, Simon Vance's narration is warm as Roger unifies future inhabitants of the land and uncovers a changing landscape.
Vance's ability to switch between Norman and Saxon accents allows the listener to easily distinguish characters and time periods.
His voice radiates the surprise and wistfulness of the characters as they realize that Green Knowe must change as time passes.
M.H.N.
© AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Tags

Children's Books,Science Fiction & Fantasy,Fantasy & Magic

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     Years after reading the other Green Knowe books, I found this in a school library. I think it ranks with the best earlier volumes (Children and Treasure, in my opinion) and deserves to be available for the general reader, not just the collector. The images of loss from medieval times to the present are almost too much to bear ...

  •     I read these when I was a kid and loved them. My mum sent me one of the books recently and I read it and wanted to get the whole series for my grandchildren. Each book is great.

  •     Although I do believe this book to be essential to the entire Green Knowe collection I can't give it a full five stars.

  •     The Stones of Green Knowe, the sixth and final volume in the Green Knowe series, reveals the beginning of the manor house at Green Knowe, both in its physical and magical sense, and of the Oldknow family.The book begins in 1100, when 11-year-old Roger d'Aulneaux -- whose surname will eventually be corrupted into "Oldknow" -- excitedly awaits the finishing of a grand new manor house, built in the most up-to-date Norman fashion. The new stone manor will replace the wooden, one-story Saxon hall where Roger, his sisters, parents and paternal grandmother live, along with some of their livestock! Roger, the second son of the d'Aulneaux family, will found the Oldknow line. Although Roger's three-quarters Norman and one-quarter Saxon, he's been taught English and the old Saxon tales by his Saxon grandmother -- much to the dismay of Roger's totally Norman mother. Roger's the first child to move into the newly built manor, and he's the first to discover the magic in the area, too, when he stumbles across two chairs -- ancient even in the 12th century -- that were each cut out of a single stone block.Using these chairs, Roger discovers he can time-travel. First, Roger travels forward 540 years, where he finds Linnet, Toby, and Alexander, the children who were living at Green Knowe in the 17th century. (Those children would become the ghostly children alluded to in the title of the first book in the series,The Children of Green Knowe.) Roger is able to foil an attack on 6-year-old Linnet. Later, Roger travels even further ahead in time and meets other children who have called Green Knowe home, who were featured in the five other Green Knowe books, including 20th century Tolly Oldknow (The Children of Green Knowe,Treasure of Green Knowe, andAn Enemy at Green Knowe) and 18th century Susan Oldknow and her freed slave, Jacob (The Treasure of Green Knowe). Roger also returns back 540 years and witnessed a Saxon invasion circa A.D. 600 of his ancestral land. Naturally, readers learn a great deal about Green Knowe, including the origins of the St. Christopher statue.The Stones of Green Knowe will prove a great, if bittersweet, pleasure to fans of Green Knowe; however, readers who haven't read the previous books will likely not enjoy it nearly as much, as they will miss much of the significance of the various time-traveling encounters.

  •     I first read these in grade school, and checked the same books out from the library over the years from time to time. They are bittersweet fantasy, sweet and beautifully written.

  •     I thought that I had all of the Green Knowe books and then I saw this one online! It reaches back further into the history of Green Knowe with the prior and present buildings and...

  •     This book was the one that my children and I enjoyed the most out of them all. It chronicles the construction of the original building through the eyes of Roger, the son of the...

  •     I purchased this book because I read the Green Knowe stories to my children when they were small. This book combines history, magic and mystery all in one book.

  •     Tolly, the hero of most of the other Green Knowe books, is a supporting character in this one. 'Stones' is centered around Roger, son of the Norman lord who first built Green Knowe. His travels into his future bring him into contact with Tolly, Susan, and some of the other children from the series. Without being dry and preachy, this book conveys the richness of English history along with the warmth of its characters and story.

  •     Lucy Boston writes a fabulous series for children. I love her books. Boston started writing at age 65 and continued until her late 90s.

  •     A beautifully realized finish to a great series. I don't do many "series," but Boston's writing is so evocative of a time and place, the feelings of comfort and serenity...

  •     I'm a little concerned that the previous five books in the "Green Knowe" series all seem to be back in print whilst "The Stones of Green Knowe", the sixth and final book (an essential part of the collection) has apparently been neglected. If you are tracking down Lucy Boston's fantastic series of books, then don't stop at "A Stranger at Green Knowe" - there is one more book to be read, though it is obviously not as well-known as the others."The Stones of Green Knowe" completes Boston's series, and aptly takes us right back to the beginning of Green Knowe: to its original construction in 1120 A.D. The very first of the Green Knowe children is Roger, the grandson of a Norman Earl, who is excited beyond words at the building of a two-storied stone house, complete with windows. Roger's days are spent watching the flocks and exploring the construction site, with as much attention given to historical accuracy and detail as one would expect from Rosemary Sutcliffe. Like all the previous young protagonists, he is surrounded both by semi-mysterious characters sympathetic to his situation (such as the Viking Olaf Olafson, who gifts him with a magical knife, and another kindly grandmother reminiscent of the not-yet-born Grandmother Oldknow), and characters that make his life a little bit more difficult - such as a snobbish mother, not the first one to appear in Boston's books, leading me to believe that the author knew one personally.Yet despite being surrounded by all this excitement, Roger becomes captivated by the talk of the workers, who mention among themselves two mysterious stones out on the hills: "Surely you've heard of them? Very old, they were. Two of them standing out alone on a grassy hill at twilight, it gave you the jumps to see them." Roger, along with his horse Viking and his dog Watchet, seek them out, and by clearing away some brush, discovers the King and Queen Stones: the source of the magic of Green Knowe.From there the real adventures begin, as Roger discovers what later generations have yet to do: time travel back and forth to discover the other children of Green Knowe, and the fate of his beloved home. In true Lucy Boston style, there is added in little notes of Roger's discomfort at the environmental destruction of the forest, but it never overshadows what we are really interested in: his meetings with Toby, Alexander and Linnet, with Susan and Jacob, and with Tolly, all living in the same house at different times. Marvelling at the differences they all face, the reader is eventually rewarded with a beautiful scene of all the children gathered together under the beech tree...joined by yet another unexpected child, who gives Roger a special keepsake.After six books in the series, I was very sad to see its end, as with all great literature, I had grown quite attacted to Green Knowe and its inhabitants. It was a touch of genius to have the final book take place at 'the beginning' as it were, as we finally can understand where St Christopher came from, how Green Knowe got its name, and how the time travelling was made possible in the first place: through the Stones, whose origins remain an eternal mystery. If there was one fault, it was that Ping, Ida and Oskar were completely absent - in the final book, surely it would have been the right time to bring ALL the children together, but it seems Boston wanted to keep only the children of Roger's bloodline in for simplicity's sake."The Stones of Green Knowe" is the perfect ending to a stunning series of somewhat unknown books, leaving us with the major theme of the books: the ongoing battle to protect that which is natural and beautiful. I found it extremely fitting that the book ended with one last enigma concerning the fate of the Stones, and what appears to be the end of the time-travelling, for the last sentence of this last book took my breath away in its sadness and potency.

  •     Odd that some of these are out of print and some aren't, but any public library with a collection dating back to the sixties should have a copy.Stones is indeed about Roger, son of the Norman lord who built Green Knowe, and the building of Green Knowe. Like all of the series, mysterious and imaginative and full of historical detail.Like the best books of this type, the series creates a world of which the books merely touch the surface.Highly recommended.

  •     A welcome last addition to the Green Knowe series. Tolly wishes to meet the first boy to have ever lived at Green Knowe; the story is told from his viewpoint.

  •     Because I had seen Julian Fellowes" adaptation of "The Chimneys of Green Knowe"--which I couldn't find to actually read--I bought this and it was VERY expensive, but I...

 

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