There was only one place left it could be - in my parents attic in storage. Not the easiest place to get to at that particular moment in time.
Instead, my eye landed upon a book that I have owned for about 20 years but have never read. It was originally my mothers, and handed down to me along with my copies of Watership Down, The Plague Dogs and Shardik. She had a fondness for anthropomorphic animal tales where the animals still behave as they do in reality (unlike, for example the Redwall chronicles or the Deptford Mice Trilogy).
I picked it up and struggled my way through the first two chapters, then became utterly immersed. This book is nothing short of beautiful. I think my mother may have been slightly over optimistic giving it to me when I was 12 (I was a precocious reader, but this would have been a stretch) but as an adult I am fully able to appreciate the sheer poetry of Horwood's writing.
Duncton Wood, written in 1980, is the first in a series of books that explores the society and trials of a community of moles living in Duncton Wood in Oxfordshire. The moles have their own society, religion and hierarchy and laws. The story in particular follows the tale of Bracken and Rebecca, two moles who are fated to pass into mole legend for their exploits. Indeed, Duncton Wood starts with their story as it is recorded in the moles holy books by their friend, Boswell the Scribe.
|From the inside cover of the hardback version of Duncton Wood|
Oh, and back onto Watership Down? If you haven't read it, please, please do. It is so much more complex and richer than the animated film.
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