I read the original Duncton wood when it came out and the subsequent books as they came out.
Nothing can prepare you for the depth, complexity, and pure emotional attachment of these books. Ok, for some people the characters being moles may be offputting .. I know that when ever I enthuse to friend about this series their eyes glaze over when I get to that part. But dont be put off, these are very deep, emotional and spiritual books about love, obsession, corruption and community. When you have read these, books about Hobbits and Goblins will seem silly and shallow!
William Horwoods style is quite unique, I have never read any other book where you are never quite sure whether a character you have started to really relate to and enjoy, will suddenly meet a grizzley end.
Horwood also has the ability to create some of the most evil characters ever imaginable... for those of you know .. Mandrake!! and yet you understood why they had become how they were, and felt sympathy and understanding for them ... a unique talent.
I would say that these are not for children, I read the first at 15, which is about right.
These books have a rare beauty and special quality about them that cannot be put into words ... if you want a quick read to get you into Horwood, buy his biography ' the boy with no shoes ' this documents his austere, troubled childhood and illustrates his relationships with various people, his mother ( shades of Mandrake!!) Grandmother (love of life and caring nature) Mr Bubbles ( at one with nature ).. it is very remaniscent of the style of Duncton and obviously a factor in its existence