Thursday, 30 September 2010

About William Horwood's Duncton Wood

I remember buying Duncton Wood from a booksellers in Cheapside, London. I worked in the Royal Mail, King Edward building.

I was instantly drawn to this book, because I had read Watership Down and thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy of living in the rabbit kingdom.

Duncton Wood (the first story) stands complete by itself. Further stories followed in the same fantasy world, which I admit; I did not read. The first (Duncton Wood) was a marvelous adventure for anyone who wants to escape into the animal world.

Duncton Wood is a kingdom of moles given human-like qualities of speech and advanced society, similar to the rabbits in Richard Adams' Watership Down. The hero mole is called Bracken and he falls in love with a female mole called Rebbecca who is the daughter of a tyrannical  mole called Mandrake. The story is wonderfully written and the reader is taken on a quest - almost like a biblical animal saga. The mole community is overshadowed by a huge stone circle, like many that are about the British Isles. These monolithic stones dominate and shape the mole's world. During the story all sorts of other interesting characters appear including the old crippled scribe mole from Uffington. His name is Boswell. This tale is good by it's own standing as I have read only this one.

After the success of Duncton Wood, other stories followed: Duncton Quest and Duncton Found made up the trilogy of the Duncton Wood Chronicles.

There followed another trilogy called Duncton Tales, Duncton Rising, and Duncton Stone.

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