Duncton Wood

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Duncton Wood
WilliamHorwood DunctonWood.jpg
Author William Horwood
Cover artist John Barber
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Duncton Wood Fantasy Series
Genre Fantasy
Publisher McGraw-Hill
Publication date
March 1980
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 736 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN 0-07-030434-3 (hardback edition) & ISBN 0-600-20434-0 (paperback edition)
OCLC 5674643
LC Class PZ4.H8246 Du 1980 PR6058.O719
Followed by Duncton Quest

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.


Duncton Wood and the subsequent novels in the series revolve around the moles living in Great Britain. 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 eponymous 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[edit]

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[edit]

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)


External links[edit]