Duncton Tales - William Horwood I have a thing for animal stories. It is no doubt due to the fact that I read Watership Down at a very young age; I read the cover off that book. Most writers that get advertised as heirs to Richard Adams in the genre tend not to live up to the hype. Those that do, like Brian Jacques, tend to tell animal tales in a different way.William Horwood does and does not do this.This was the first Duncton book I ever read, even though it is the start of the second Duncton series. I brought when I was in Rotterdam, read it, loved it, and got everything I could find by Horwood before I left.While Watership Down is a quest tale with rabbits; the Duncton books tend to be more philospoic and religious (though it is hard to say what religion. Horwood, at least in the books, seems to be against forced conversion. There is a Buddist feeling, yet there are Christian overtones. Yet, the reader is not told to BELIEVE OR ELSE! It is more of this is what the moles believe, let's see how it plays out). Despite this thoughtful aspect of the book, there is plently of action.This book deals with belief and how belief can lead to censorship and control of infromation (can anyone else say South Park). Horwood really examines the agruments on both sides of the issue, and while he comes down on the side of freedom, his moles are aware of just points on the other side (for instance, why does the Duncton System get to keep the Holy Books of Moledom?). Because the moles are diggers, writers, and readers in some ways parts of the story feel like the debate over the Bible when it was first translated.At the heart of the story are two moles, neither of Duncton, though one, Privet, travels there. Privet and Rooster make an unlikely pair; he is a beast, but she is no beauty. Yet, despite the fact they are fiction and animals, the relationship, all of the relationships, are wonderfully drawn.Many adults wonder why they should read animal tales, believing that such stories are only for children. Take a look at Chaucer and his chickens, who had sex. Many adults have it wrong. In an adventure story about moles, Horwood gives a thoughtful look at faith and freedom without being preachy or annoying. He lets the characters do it, instead of speaking though the characters.