Tag Archives: Duncton Wood

An Interview with William Horwood

19 Feb

I’m delighted to post today an exclusive interview I recently conducted with William Horwood, author of the Duncton Wood series. Dedicated followers of this blog will be well aware of the high regard in which I hold William and his Duncton novels in particular, so it was a real pleasure to chat with him about a range of topics, including what got him into writing in the first place, inspirations for his work, the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of being a writer and, perhaps most interestingly, the potential forthcoming re-publication of the Duncton novels with Unbound, an award-winning crowdfunding publishing company. As you’ll see from the interview William was very open and incredibly generous with his time, giving answers that were sincere, full, interesting and, often, quite amusing! Read on for more…

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Duncton Wood

11 Oct

There have been many great fantasy sagas that have had animals rather than humans as their central characters. Perhaps the most famous example of ‘anthropomorphic fantasy’ is Richard Adams’ tale of the rabbit kingdom of Watership Down but there are many other distinguished entries in this sub-genre. The Silver Tide and the other books in Michael Tod’s Dorset Squirrels series tell of the struggles of England’s indigenous Red Squirrels against invaders from overseas. Tod has also written fantasy novels with other animal characters – including elephants and dolphins – as his main protagonists. The hallmark of Tod’s books is his ability to make readers sympathise fully with the animals despite (or perhaps because of) their non-human nature. Of older vintage are the novels in the Kine saga by A R Lloyd, an heroic fantasy trilogy that charts the struggles of a wild weasel from youth to old age. Lloyd’s anti-hero Kine (which is an old English word for weasel) is presented realistically – there is no ‘magic’ as such in his world – but his ‘kingdom’ in the form of the English countryside is every bit as fully realised as Middle Earth, Narnia, Earthsea or any other fantasy world which you might care to mention, thanks to Lloyd’s lovingly descriptive prose. Martin Hocke’s The Ancient Solitary Reign tells of the struggle of a community of barn owls against a ‘monster’ eagle owl that encroaches on their territory, forcing them into an uneasy alliance with their traditional rivals, the tawny owls. Tod, Lloyd and Hocke all portray nature unflinchingly as ‘red in tooth and claw’ – there is nothing ‘cute’ about the squirrels, weasels and owls that feature in their novels, any more than the rabbits of Watership Down resemble fluffy cartoon bunnies. In all of these animal fantasy sagas, each author’s serious approach, coupled with their obvious immersion in the world which they are striving to depict and their devotion to realising their protagonists as fully-developed characters rather than animals with human characteristics, is what makes their work so unforgettable. William Horwood’s Duncton Chronicles are a worthy addition to the creature fantasy sub-genre, as well as a superb illustration of everything that is great about these types of books.

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