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Duncton Wood (The Duncton Chronicles) [Paperback]

William Horwood
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (July 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099443007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099443001
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Duncton Wood is the title of the first novel by author William Horwood, as well as a six-volume fantasy series to which it was later extended.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little known masterpiece 8 Mar 2010
Duncton Wood is a novel that verges on perfection. This harrowing and beautiful work tells an epic tale of the nature of good and evil and enduring love. Duncton Wood is one of those rare books that can make you both laugh and cry. It's superbly plotted and the twists and turns of the narrative are shocking and heart rending. The descriptions of the landscape are evocative and the characters are truly memorable. Even the minor players will stay with you for years to come.

So why such a fine book currently out of print? Presumably because the main characters are moles. If Horwood had only set his story in some ancient or post-apocalyptic human subterranean community, Duncton Wood would be one of the most critically acclaimed books today.

But that doesn't change the brilliance of this novel. Suffice to say there can't be many out-of-print novels which have so many positive reviews as this one.

Duncton Wood is much, much more than an obscure cult classic and is undoubtedly one of the best novels I've ever read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfair description! 13 Jan 2009
Everything I could say about this book has already been said; I think it is a lovely read and I was sad to finish it. Then I was pleased to look on here and discover that there are more!
My main reason for reviewing here is to complain that the "product description" for this book is grossly unfair. It's not a description of the story for the benefit of a new reader, it's a hatchet job review by somebody who clearly disliked the book for whatever reason. All of the subsequent reviews show that the reading public love this book, so why is the author stuck with such a nasty, biased review serving as the Amazon introduction to this great book?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible moving story 20 Oct 2003
A wonderful beginning to the first Duncton trilogy, The Duncton Chronicles, Duncton Wood tells the moving story of a system under threat from a new and dangerous religion, of the courage and love between moles, and of the fight between right and wrong. A book to be read, a type of Watership Down with moles, but better, and more gripping. Don't miss it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great imagination and gripping journey 31 Dec 2009
Every creature, understandably, has their own community like human beings. William Horwood carefully researched the lives of moles existing in Europe and created their own sacred world near the border between England and Wales i.e. Duncton Wood and describes their epic journey for the Seventh Stillstone. All of the moles of different types are given the unique names, each of them possesses distinctive characters. The author analyses their spoken language and hymn book, which are akin to Welsh. His descriptions include the colourful background of the middle of the woodlands with a wide variety of species of trees, shrubs, insects, and flowers during the four seasons. The journey for Seventh Stillstone isn't very easy. Moles come across the natural disasters, e.g. fires, avalanches, flood, and worst of all, they have to deal with plague disease, which does not only prevent from their progress but makes it pretty impossible for them to escape. The author conveys moles determination to reach the destination coupled with strong wills and fascination to see the mysterious stone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definatly recommended! 27 Jan 2014
First read this book as i was around 18 years old and loved it.
Knowing not everything you like as a teenager still seems as good when you are older i was not sure if it would be worth re-reading now 30 years later.
I should not have worried.It is still one of the best books i have ever read and i have read alot of books in my life.
Don't be put off that it is a book about moles. It is by no means a childrens book and although it is often compared to Lord of the Rings, the only similarity is that Horwood and Tolkien are both great storytellers.
Everything in life is a matter if taste so recommending anything to someone else is always difficult but if you have at least a little imagination and are open to the idea that moles could have a society, then you will love this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A good "fairy tale" ? Yes,it is.
A masterpiece ? Not by far.
The comparison to "Watership Down" is devastating for this book.The introduction of a lot of "metaphysical" or "supernatural" bits and pieces weakens the real story.The involvement of "scribes" and books(,libraries !)in a "mole" world is so impossible that becomes ludicrous.Mole "characters"are introduced ,create "great expectations"to the reader,and then they are summarily and unceremoniously disposed of.Or,at least,never "complete" their part in the "great mole scheme of things".Too much description of the "environment",too little "dialogue".
Like I said.Had I not read "Watership Down" (many times)first,I might have enjoyed this book a lot more.But as is the case, I almost had to struggle through it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life changing book 17 Jan 2007
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
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good service
delivered fast. as described.
Published 14 days ago by Jean P
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 26 days ago by affeni
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable
Very different to read a book from the eyes of a mole, I found it sad, happy, spiritual and maybe a little repetitive.
Published 4 months ago by S. E. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy meets sociology
This is a fantasy story with a twist since it brings up ancient belief systems and makes us more aware of our disconnectedness to nature at this time, and maybe our estrangement to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by gordon davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving best book sets
I bought duncton wood when I was in my early twentys, being an average man I drunk beer and was I think a regular bloke. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tbone
5.0 out of 5 stars A mole in a hole
Why is this book not better known, it's a brilliant allegory. A great adventure story, good and evil. Wonderfully written.
Published 11 months ago by openminded
4.0 out of 5 stars Good service,good book
Fair condition for a second hand book ,arrived promptly and granddaughter now enjoying it as I did many years ago but no longer in print.
Published 14 months ago by R. Horwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!
Recommended to me by a friend and I must admit was rather hesitant as a book about moles did not rate highly on my reading list. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Patrick Dalby
5.0 out of 5 stars Moles-the chronicles begin.
An extremely interesting and courageous piece of fiction. Who would ever have thought that moles could be so strong and adventureous. Well written.
Published 19 months ago by Clive
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book of a gripping tale for "Tolken" readers
Those that like Tolken and have a love of reading great long tales should try reading these books, they won't be disappointed.
Published 23 months ago by Robbie
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