Watership Down is a heroic fantasy novel about a small group of rabbits, written by British author Richard Adams. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel recounts the rabbits' odyssey as they escape the destruction of their warren to seek a place in which to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way. The novel takes its name from the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, England, near the area where Adams grew up. The story is based on a collection of tales that Adams told to his young children to pass the time on trips to the countryside. Published in 1972, Watership Down was Richard Adams' first novel, and is by far his most successful to date. Though it was initially rejected by thirteen publishers before eventually being accepted by Rex Collings Ltd, Watership Down has never been out of print, and was the recipient of several prestigious awards. Adapted into an acclaimed classic film and a television series, it is Penguin Books' best-selling novel of all time. In 1996, Adams published Tales from Watership Down, a follow-up collection of 19 short stories about El-ahrairah and the rabbits of the Watership Down warren.
After hearing of Richard Adams' death, I turned once again to a book I have long considered to be a best friend. This adventure story pulls you into a world unseen by humans. The characters are human enough to relate to but animal enough to remain rabbits. The story is captivating and relevant. No matter how many times I read it, I can never put it down while reading the last quarter, it's so suspenseful and exciting.
The characters have been beloved of me for many years and I only hope that I have Fiver's insight, Hazel's authority, Bigwig's strength, and Blackberry's wits."