Read Duncton Quest by William Horwood Online


As the glorious events of Duncton Wood ended, Tryfan, son of Bracken and Rebecca, was entrusted with a special task – to accompany the old scribemole Boswell back to the Holy Burrows of Uffington and take the seventh Stillstone to its rightful resting place. But a dark evil is spreading across moledom, whispering falseness to the weak and giving corrupt power to the cunninAs the glorious events of Duncton Wood ended, Tryfan, son of Bracken and Rebecca, was entrusted with a special task – to accompany the old scribemole Boswell back to the Holy Burrows of Uffington and take the seventh Stillstone to its rightful resting place. But a dark evil is spreading across moledom, whispering falseness to the weak and giving corrupt power to the cunning and faithless. When the two moles finally reach Uffington they discover only death and destruction. The sacred burrows are abandoned, the Holy Library desecrated and the sole survivor is a frail and timid mole called Spindle. For out the chilly of the chilly north have swarmed the Grikes – a bloodthirsty tribe of warrior moles under the leadership of their evil queen, Henbane. They are fanatical followers of the Word, a harsh creed which demands that they convert or kill all believers in the sacred Stone. Their tyranny extends far and wide and even mighty Duncton Wood is now threatened. Tryfan finds he has a new and terrible task…...

Title : Duncton Quest
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780712616957
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 717 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Duncton Quest Reviews

  • Amanda
    2019-01-18 13:38

    This is the sequel to the book Duncton Wood, where William Horwood first introduced the idea of moles and told us the tale of Rebecca and Bracken. Here we pick up the story with their son, Tryfan. We journey with him as he learns his task for the Stone; as he watches the rise of the Word and evil Henbane; and as he loves and loses the one mole he's destined for.As the title suggests, this novel concerns a quest - ultimately for the Stone Mole, who is prophesied to be coming to aid moledom and the Stone in their darkest hour. Tryfan is heavily involved in this coming of the Stone Mole, as he travels firstly to the Wen and meets sweet Feverfew, then goes north to Whern, the dark heart of the Word.Horwood's strength is the characters he introduces in this book. We have a large cast of extremely characterful and colourful moles, from the scribes Boswell and Tryfan to the ex-grikes Alder and Marram. I particularly love Mayweed - he, alone, grants this book an extra star above what it might have received from me. His loquacious language and wonderful vulnerability are lovely to read about. Considering the massive cast, each receives enough screentime to be well-developed and take their rightful place in the story.The same issues I had with Duncton Wood raise their heads here - there are some problems with pacing, mainly with the passage into the Wen which is both dreary in description and slow to read through. In this book a new side to this is added with the extremely loooooong monologues by Tryfan about the nature of faith and how to worship the Stone properly. I understand that his character is meant to preach the coming of the Stone Mole and lead moles to accept the Stone, but it is very dull - especially if you don't feel faith for a religion yourself.The internal consistency is all over the place, for a number of reasons. The first is that this book was clearly written when the first ended up being successful, since it seems tacked onto Duncton Wood by the most tenuous of links. The rise of the Word, the prophecies about the Stone Mole, the history of Scirpus, Rune's true nature - none of these were even hinted at in the first book, so here the information is rather thrown at the reader with large sections of exposition.I just do not get how moledays, molemonths and moleyears fit into human terms of time. Horwood had a brief go at explaining the way the moleyears are actually months for humans, but then trampled all over that logic by having Boswell and Rune survive for a ridiculous length of time.Thirdly, in the original book, it seemed very much as though Stone worship was a simple allegory for paganism, what with using standing stones as a focus and Avebury being an important system. The importance of Midsummer and Longest Night as the times that moles came out to worship in strength also lent impetus to this idea. However, in this book, I'm not entirely sure that the Stone is paganism, what with the coming of the Stone Mole, which has a huge parallel with the coming of Christ. The snoutings performed by the mole of the Word could be seen as similar to crucifictions. Basically, I'm confused! At least it is easy to tell that we need to be rooting for the moles of the Stone to succeed!Another couple of issues with the prose is that using terms such as 'somemole' and 'nomole' really jar you out of the flow of the words. Plus I had no appreciation for the simplistic and folksy rhymes that accompany healing and worship.Lastly, I had a terrible time reading some of the descriptions of the woundings done in the name of the Word, especially the graphic snoutings and the attack on Tryfan. Deeply uncomfortable. We avoided explicit sex scenes this time round, but the sighings and ecstacy and other choices of words Horwood used were just wrong!I enjoyed the book overall and will complete my read of the trilogy (the third book being Duncton Found), but I certainly don't agree with the review emblazoned on the back of my paperback copy that states this novel bears comparison with the Lord of the Rings. It most certainly doesn't, and isn't the enchanting read suggested, but it is just interesting enough.

  • Chris
    2018-12-26 13:33

    Who doesn't love Mayweed?Story about faith, love, and discovery.

  • R. Lawrence
    2019-01-17 09:33

    Duncton Quest, is a far darker book than Duncton Wood . Instead of Bracken and Boswell as Main Characters there is Tryfan (son of Bracken and Rebecca) and Spindle. And in the evil department there is Henbrane Daugther of Mandrake. The book starts were Duncton Wood ends. (It is hard to beleive the books were written almost nine years apart.) Disease, death and hatered are a main part of the book as moles who follow the "Word" take over those who follow the "stone". As a Stone beleiver, Tryfan struggles to keep faith in a world going dark. A number of characters from Duncton Wood appear in Duncton Quest. Listed as a childrens book in a written for adults. The book is FANTASTIC and easy to follow, even through in most chapters, you are following different groups of moles at the same time.

  • Rebecca
    2018-12-22 11:39

    Very heavy on the Christian allegory. Can't say that I minded it much. Follows very much in the spirit of Watership Down in that it takes cute, fuzzy animals and makes a very, very serious and at times quite grim story about them. War! Torture! Incest! Religion! Not for children, really.

  • Leila
    2019-01-19 06:43

    This absorbing book is the second of a series that I am re-reading after many years and I am enjoying them all over again. There is a lot more depth in the books than just reading them on the surface level as animal stories. I am enjoying them very much.

  • Becky
    2018-12-24 13:22

    So here we have a continuation of my favourite series and this reread that I'm doing did not disappoint. I felt every emotion, every struggle and I could never stop loving this series.

  • Cameron
    2019-01-09 07:43

    Horwood effortlessly draws his readers into a world so entrenched in lore and magic that it is bittersweet to reach the finale. Truly an unheralded , masterpiece in the literary world.

  • David Meiklejohn
    2018-12-31 05:15

    The second of the mole books in the Duncton trilogy, we find the hero of the book, Tryfan, making a pilgrimage to the Uffington system with his scribemole mentor. When they get there they find the system overtaken by “grikes”, followers of the Word rather than the Stone. The grikes are systematically taking each system by force, so Tryfan heads back home to prepare Duncton for battle, then off into London (the Wen) to seek the Stone Mole.The story features moles but they’re written as people, in societies, with relationships and struggles in life. The battle scenes are really well done and we really find ourselves rooting for Tryfan as the story unfolds. It’s no fairy story either. There is bloodshed and death, but also religion and supernatural happenings.People (twofoots) and cars (roaring owls) are only background detail to this story, so wonderfully told, with great characters, even if they are moles.

  • Leaflet
    2019-01-11 13:34

    This is turning into quite an epic.

  • aza
    2018-12-31 07:30

    Oh my, have the Duncton moles changed since Duncton Wood which was clearly intended as a stand-alone work. But since I enjoyed it so much, reading the rest of the chronicles was a given.The reader is introduced to a whole organized group of villains which call themselves followers of The Word. The graphic violence increases a whole chunk, there are many twisted nasty villains to chose from now. This is the beginning of a religious conflict between Stone followers and moles from The Word. We get oppression, persecution and genocide in graphic detail. They battle, torture, fight and kill each other a whole lot. If you do not like violence, you surely will not enjoy this book. Please to not hand it out to your children because it features cute moles or something.The rather subtle religious allegories from the first book are becoming increasingly direct. A very "human" seeming Word versus the Stone and its Silence, not quite accidentally total opposites, I might assume. I interpreted it as a more nature-drawn, primitive pagan belief as represented by the Stone VS a highly organized, preachy belief such as pretty much any monotheism represented by The Word. Well for God's sake, they SNOUT their opponents by hanging them up on barbed wire on their snouts - we even get to read a whole chapter of two characters being snouted in disturbing detail. The Christian allegory is high in this one. However, the Stone followers start talking about the coming of the ominous Stone Mole, which basically translates into Mole Jesus, and all theories collapse. I am still not sure what Horwood intended. It seemed all very inconsistent. Or maybe I am just missing his lesson in religious tolerance?Still, although these premises made me raise my eyebrow more than once, I really enjoyed this book as a great adventure tale, and less as a great allegory. Although main character Tryfan suffers from the same Mary Sue-syndrome that seems to be a passed down trait from his mother Rebecca in part one, there are Boswell, Spindle and especially Mayweed, which are interesting, flawed(!) characters.The part about evacuating the Duncton system seemed to drag along forever even for my patience with Horwood's intricate writing style, but exploring dreadful Wen, a human city from the underground mole view, was my favourite part of the book. The Slopeside labor camp was nasty and in parts sickening, but at least it gave us Mayweed, the best character of the whole trilogy. Plus, I can tell you out of reading experience, if it's a Horwood, there will be at least one character forced to cross some kind of big pile of bodies. It is as sure as the villain being involved in some kind of incest. Seems to be some kind of Horwoodian writing rule.Alas the ending is not as subtle and beautiful as in part one. Instead it features (view spoiler)[an uncomfortable sex scene whose whole point wasn't convincing to me at all. (hide spoiler)] Okay, so Whern was really cool and all - we can all count on Horwood to make the environment really vivid and cool - but was that neccessary? Did it make sense? Then of course there is the whole coming of the Stone Mole which is just too close to be a simple MOLE JESUS!-thing to me. I can't decide if this was good or bad. But it's simply not after my tastes. Just... too literal.All in all I still enjoyed this as a masterful adventure book from a skilled writer, another must read for any fan of talking animals. However, the religious allegory was too plump for me, in that case I absolutely prefer Duncton Wood.

  • Ben
    2018-12-27 05:22

    My dad bought me the Duncton books when I was in my early teens, and though I read and loved Duncton Wood straight away, even re-reading it last year, I never could get into this, the sequel. I tried a number of times but always put it down very quickly, even before Boswell and Tryffan reach Uffington. This time I managed to continue, and I really don't know why I found it so hard before: it's an easy book to read.But that's not to say it's anywhere near as good as Duncton Wood. Duncton Wood is a well told, solid tale about the redemption of a community that has lost touch with its own past. Duncton Quest, on the other hand, is a sprawling, muddled tale that, like its central character, doesn't seem to know where it's going. The moles wander aimlessly from Duncton Wood, to Uffington, to Wales, to Primrose Hill in London (!!), to the Peak District. Lots of things let it down: firstly, its strong religious theme, dealt with quite delicately in the first book, here expanded to become nonsensical and pretentious. Next, its cast of mainly dislikeable and not very charismatic main characters, especially Tryffan. This cast pales in comparison to the first book's Bracken, Rebecca, Mandrake and Rune - and others. One or two from Quest do shine: verbose Mayweed is one .Another problem with the book is its bagginess. It could have been condensed a great deal and would benefit by being stripped of its waffle. Though there are more descriptions than ever, they are less evocative and beautiful - one of the strengths of the first book. Horwood could learn something by rereading (or reading) Williamson's Taka the otter - perhaps it would help him to get back to basics. These characters just don't seem like moles.

  • Matthew Hodge
    2019-01-17 08:42

    As always, with Horwood, a tad too long but I'm sure he gets lost in his worlds as much as his readers do.This rather epic sequel to Duncton Wood puts the religious element of the Duncton stories even more to the fore as it sets up a large sprawling conflict between the moles of the Stone and the moles of the Word (a rather bloodthirsty cult that has arisen from the north). Sadly, this subplot has a bit of resonance as I write this in 2015.The story primarily tells of Tryfan, the son of Bracken and Rebecca from the first book but as the chapters roll on, an ever-increasing list of memorable characters arrive. It's hard to explain why a book about anthropomorphic moles works so well but I can only put it down to the majesty of Horwood's prose.He writes as if he were a wise old mole scribing the events for future generations. And it is the gravitas of the narration that lifts the story. I can't think of a recent (secular) book where religious faith plays such a major role.But then again, this was written back in the 80s and all six Duncton books are now long out of print. Perhaps this would be much less successful today?I can't guarantee anyone else would like this story but by the time the book reached it's extremely Messianic conclusion (the whole second half of the book essentially deals with the coming of the Stone Mole, who will lead all moles into Silence), the moles of Duncton felt like old friends.

  • Mark
    2019-01-10 11:23

    Overall I enjoyed this book s much as the first one; it had the same feel to it, magical and enchanting yet dark and serious, with a healthy touch of comedy (mostly from the magnificent Mayweed, who is one of my favourite characters of any book). I very much look forward to getting my hands on Duncton Found.Whilst I disagree with some of the criticism on here regarding the graphic nature of some scenes, which I think helps establish the series, I do agree that there were parts where the philosophy/teachings felt a bit long-winded and perhaps could have been cut down a little bit. I also agree that it was hard to believe that two certain moles went on to live to an incredibly old age when another much younger apparently passed away from old age beforehand. I just told myself to go along with it and think that they had to hold on to life until their purpose was fulfilled or something like that!Anyway, all in all I continue to love this series that I only discovered a year or so ago and look forward to the next one. I'd give this 4.5 stars if they did halves on here.

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-01-18 12:37

    This is an excellent follow-on from the first book. I'm trying to analyse why I find it so "successful", and I'm thinking that it wouldn't work if the characters were humans. The story would then be too obvious - which of course it is anyway, so I'm not making sense there. Try again. The storyline is obvious. Saviour is born to save molekind. There are so many tests and trials and temptations and dangers and .... Basically, it's a standard epic. All cultures have had epics like this. But, the thing is, that this is anthropomorphism really well done. The moles are so believably molish (hmm - mole-ish ... perhaps molelike, but no. They're not LIKE moles because they ARE moles). I don't really know anything about moles, but their mole characteristics, as opposed to their humantype characteristics, make sense. It's that, and the meld between moledom and anthropomorphism (what fun that word is to type) is really well done.

  • Jennifer (the_pumpkin_reads)
    2018-12-30 13:43

    Where Horwood left off with Bracken and Rebecca we pick up with Tryfan and Spindle. Mayweed may be my favorite character ever. I don't want to write much for my review, it's a slow story but ever engaging and I truly, truly loved it. I think Horwood trips himself up though when he discusses mole months and mole years, some of his moles live ridiculously long lives while others age at a more reasonable pace. However, that aside (Rune and Boswell seem to live three times as long as anyone else?) the book is terrific, the moles are full of character and love and life. The only thing I would have changed would have been some of the carrying on in the Wen. There was a lot to that part of the book that could have been done away with, unless it somehow comes back in the third book, because it wasn't necessary in the second book.

  • Mike Williams
    2019-01-03 05:19

    An inspiring book that was issued 9 years after Duncton Wood and contains powerful themes of genocide, torture and passion which are written with such power and description that the reader forgets that the characters are moles at regular intervals.

  • Stephanie Holt
    2018-12-19 10:38

    I am loving this series, just as much as I thought I would. Totally excited to get into the third and final in this series. It is taking me a long time to read them but it is well worth it for these incredible books.

  • Cindy
    2018-12-20 08:13

    Horwood strains to maintain the magic he created in Duncton Wood. I found myself wishing his editor had removed vast portions where he wanders aimlessly. Still, the underlying story was enjoyable and I was excited to hunt down a copy of the third book.

  • Ruby
    2018-12-20 12:41

    I remember crying several times. It's slow reading, but it's well worth it. I blame these books for bringing my mysticism to the surface.

  • Sue
    2018-12-25 09:25

    really enjoyed this series.

  • Patrik Sahlstrøm
    2019-01-10 08:19

    Wonderfull molefantasy if a little bit longwinded. If you love fantasy but are fed up with warfare and dragons this is the series for you. Definately recommended!

  • bluetyson
    2018-12-20 12:21


  • Jayne Mcnulty
    2019-01-11 06:36

    Couldn't put this down, read it very spare moment it really is a an epic that keeps your wanting more. I have asked for the rest of the Duncton books for Christmas

  • Claire
    2019-01-13 13:40

    Clever. Entertaining.

  • Diane
    2019-01-05 07:35

    Not as good as the first book but a very good story

  • Simon
    2019-01-12 07:18

    A bit too long, but overall good.