|Cover artist||John Barber|
|Series||Dunction Wood Fantasy Series|
|Publication date||March 1980|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||736 pp (paperback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-07-030434-3 (hardback edition) & ISBN 0-600-20434-0 (paperback edition)|
|LC Classification||PZ4.H8246 Du 1980 PR6058.O719|
|Followed by||Duncton Quest|
Duncton Wood and the subsequent novels in the series revolve around the moles that inhabit the United Kingdom. The mole communities (referred to as "Moledom") are anthropomorphically portrayed as intelligent societies with their own social organization, history and written form of communication. The moles are limited to the physical behaviours of their real-world burrow-dwelling counterparts, and neither wear clothing nor exhibit any special technological aptitude.
The central focus of the Duncton series is the Stone, a fictitious mole religion based on the standing stones and stone circles of Britain. As such, the novels are predominantly set in and around locales known for their megaliths, such as Avebury and Rollright. The titular wood itself is fictional, inspired by Wittenham Clumps and Wytham Woods (both near Oxford where the author was living when he wrote the first book) and borrowing its name from a village in West Sussex.
In the course of the books, individual moles travel great distances quite quickly (Duncton Wood in Oxfordshire to Siabod in Wales and back again for example).
The Duncton Chronicles
The first volume, originally written as a standalone novel, tells the story of the romance between the Duncton moles Bracken and Rebecca as the long-held traditions surrounding the Duncton Stone recede under the rule of Rebecca's tyrannical father Mandrake and the evil and manipulative Rune.
Almost a decade later, Horwood completed two directly related sequels that follow the events of the first, in which the central character is Bracken and Rebecca's son Tryfan. The second and third entries in the first trilogy (entitled "The Duncton Chronicles") depict a religious conflict between The Stone and an opposing crusading order known as The Word. In the midst of these events is the birth and martyrdom of the Stone Mole, a focal messianic Christ figure named Beechen.
The first trilogy consists of:
- Duncton Wood (1980)
- Duncton Quest (1988)
- Duncton Found (1989)
The Book of Silence
After the publication of Duncton Found, Horwood proceeded to write a single-volume sequel to the Duncton Chronicles trilogy set generations in the future, where the inhabitants of the now-flourishing Duncton system look upon the events of the past with reverence. By its completion, Duncton Tales evolved into the first volume of a second trilogy, entitled "The Book of Silence". The story tells of the archival librarian mole Privet and her adopted son Whillan as they face the rise of an inquisitorial cult that fashions itself the Newborns.
The second trilogy consists of:
- Duncton Tales (1991)
- Duncton Rising (1992)
- Duncton Stone (1993)
- 1980 Country Life Books ISBN 0600367940
- 1980 Book Club Associates (London)
- 1980 McGraw-Hill ISBN 0070304343
- 1981 (September) Hamlyn ISBN 0600204340
- 1981 (January) Ballantine Books ISBN 0345291131
- 1983 (December) Ballantine Books ISBN 034531770X
- 1985 (July) Arrow Books
- 1986 (July) Ballantine Books ISBN 0345341899
- 1989 (July) Arrow Books ISBN 0099443007
- 1990 (June) Arrow Books ISBN 0099443007