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Tales from Watership Down Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1998

155 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Watership Down Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

The original Watership Down is one of those wonderful works that appeals to readers both young and old. The story of a group of rabbits on an adventure into unfamiliar yards, farms, and fields made for an imaginative, captivating journey. This latest work follows the aftermath of the original's climactic ending and includes the rabbits' retelling of various myths associated with their rabbit-hood, plus some new twists and developments. This is a captivating introduction to Adams's warren for first-time visitors, and those who loved the original Watership Down won't be disappointed. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Publishers Weekly

As readers of Watership Down (1974) will recall, Adams reached classic heights of inspired storytelling in that fable of the animal kingdom, performing a finely calibrated juggling act between the real and the imagined. These 19 interrelated tales continue the adventures of the rabbits met in the earlier book, after their defeat of General Woundwart and the Efrafans. The deeds of the hero El-ahrairah are celebrated in the seven stories of Part One (of three). El-ahrairah's stalwart companion Rabscuttle joins him for four tales in Part Two, while the remaining stories, which are devoted to Hazel and his rabbits, have the continuity of a novel. Mystical, occasionally allegorical, full of whimsy, rich in vivid descriptions of the rabbits' society and of the natural world, the tales are often suspenseful, frequently amusing and invariably clever. The rabbits exhibit a wide range of behavior, showing themselves to be manipulative, defiant, ignorant and self-satisfied, along with noble, loving and brave. There is a brief summation of what happened in the initial passages of the first tale, but from there on, the book stands on its own. El-ahrairah's heroic exploits include his perilous journey to obtain a sense of smell for all rabbits and his search for eternal youth, while his adventures with Rabscuttle find them both leading another group of rabbits across a dangerous marsh as they attempt to evade an army of rapacious, savage rats. Eventually, a new warren is founded and various other ones reconfigure and recombine. The collection comes to a satisfying close by ending, as it began, with an account of the bold deeds of another heroic rabbit, formerly an enemy, now a valued member of the new warren. Illustrations not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380729342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380729340
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard George Adams (born 9 May, 1920) is an English novelist, author of Watership Down, Shardik, Maia, The Plague Dogs, Traveller, Tales from Watership Down and many other books.

He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters during a long car journey, and they insisted he write it down. When Watership Down was finally published, after many rejections, it sold over a million copies in record time in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Watership Down has become a modern classic and won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1972. To date it has sold over 8 million copies and been translated into many languages, including Finnish, Hebrew and Chinese.

Richard's goal is to tell a good story, ideally one so good you can't put it down! Three of his novels have been filmed so far, and he has just completed a story about a new character for very young children. Watch this space!

Richard currently lives in Hampshire, England. He has six grandchildren. He has written about his childhood and youth, including the time he served in the army in World War II, in 'The Day Gone By'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Karns on April 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just been reading some reviews of this, which go from excellent to awful in terms of how it is. I first would say that I have never encountered an author with the imagination of Mr. Adams. He is brilliant. Read WD. Read "Shardik". Read "The Plague Dogs". Read "Maia". I found the stories here wonderful and fascinating. El-ahrairah does not come off as a begger as some reviewers have said, but more of an epic hero than in WD. His journeys after the encounter with the Black Rabbit of Inle are indeed epic in scope and content. The "Rabbit's Ghost Story" was chilling and the tale of El-ahrairah's journey to the Kingdom of Yesterday, where a bison rules over all the animals and plants that were ever extinct is true genius. Enchanting writing. I found part III of the book a welcome return to much loved characters. Yes, this is not "Watership Down". Mr. Adams could never write something like that again. No one could. Trying to write a sequel to it is like someone writing a sequel to Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" (which someone did a few years back: it was awful!) or writing a sequel to Tolstoy's "War And Peace". It just can't be done. What this book is is a wonderful companion and extension to the original story. I am further enriched by it and shall continue to look at those rabbits in the grassy meadow near my house with perpetual wonder and respect.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. H. Sweet on June 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is not very similar to the original novel, which is what I think makes it so interesting and worthwhile to read. I definitely prefer the original, but I believe this work has something important to say. Each of the tales is worthy of the telling and the reading.

I probably will not re-read this as I have the original work, but I don't think I should be comparing this novel to the original one in this review. This is good storytelling in-and-of itself and does not need to be put side-by-side with Watership Down.

The shorter tales are excellent quick reading, and make this an easier book to pick up and put down in our busy lives. Much of what the author is saying in these tales is incredibly fascinating. I was particularly drawn to the paradox that the man-smell, which the rabbits would generally use as a reason to outcast one of their own, is actually what saves the warren. The wisdom of the characters to recognize this is nicely woven into the tale. As with his other works, Richard Adams shows incredible insight into our natural world, especially that of community living animals. It is nice to see humanity in these creatures; or rather, theirs reflected in us. (I am not sure which is more accurate.)

This is a nice collection of touching tales that definitely have something significant to say. As long as readers are not expecting a repeat of the original book, I believe this will be an enjoyable experience. Just don't expect it to read like a sequel.

J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always maintained that the stories told about El-ahrairah in "Watership Down" could stand on their own, even though they obviously related to what was happening or about to happen in the novel. This collection of short stories amply evidences the point and Adams explores a wider variety of tales than he did in his classic novel. However, I have to admit that this book also underscores how well those original stories fit into the plot of "Watership Down."
This collection is a pleasant return to the world of Watership Down. My advice is to read one a day. You do not want to sit down and go through all of them at once. You want to savor each one. We are lucky to be allowed back into this world, let's not make gluttons of ourselves.
Of course I had to go back and reread my favorite parts of the novel. You really have to think of this book as dessert. Adams could not return to the lives of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the others without dispelling the magical charm of his original effort. Certainly none of us would want that and he is smart enough not to make the effort.
I am serious about the dessert metaphor. This is not "The Hobbit," and it should not serve as an introduction to the novel. It is to be enjoyed after the novel. This is important and you should not violate this rule in passing on your love of "Watership Down" to others.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JulieS on September 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those who loved Watership Down for all its well-plotted adventures of Hazel and his friends who leave their home warren and journey out into the world, this book will probably pale in comparison. Tales from Watership Down is more a book of short stories, some loosely connected together, some not even related to one another. All the stories in this book are as fun to read as the short stories of El-ahrairha in the original book, but while those stories served mostly to further the plot and personify the rabbits by showing their mythology, these stories are just entertaining. I could understand how some readers would be dissapointed if they thought this book was a true sequel, but it does work nicely as a companion piece to the original.
I didn't quite find the stories at the end that continued the life of Hazel and the rabbits at Watership Down quite on par with what I remembered from the original. One of the great things about the original was how he characterized the different rabbits personalities, but they didn't seem quite as lifelike in this book. Still, if you loved Watership Down, how could you not want to read this book?
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