It is...quite mystical...some passages are steeped in the kind of fuzzy, pantheistic spirituality that would usually make me wince ... And yet it rises effortlessly above these potential hazards; the quality of the writing and the depth and clarity of Carter’s imagination turning it into something almost inexpressibly beautiful. His vision of Dartmoor as a complex living ecosystem is extraordinary; he seems to be able to hold everything in his mind at once ... His prose slips subtly from lyrical description to earthy humor, its rhythms sunk deep into my DNA as something to aim for, if never achieve.
Carter's book is unapologetically brutal; creatures both vile and virtuous are always vulnerable to deaths that are described in vivid detail, and the cruel English winters of the late 1940s are equally violent. But underneath the vying savagery and sentimentality, Carter tells a lovely tale fit to stand alongside animal-world classics such as Watership Down and The Wind in the Willows.
First off, Carter has a strikingly visceral, gutsy and imaginative way of writing about the natural world and the animal’s 360 degree perception of it ... His use of language is virtuosic and playful ... The pages come to life; you could almost imagine a worm crawling out from between them. Carter’s world has a fullness to it, from the macro to the micro ... I felt transported to the natural world he describes, with all its infinite variety, its sounds, and smells. And he doesn’t shy away from the violence of the non-human world ... This lost classic is, quite simply, remarkable, and I’m so pleased...to bring it back into print for a new generation.
...even Anglophiles will find the rural dialect a bit thick underfoot, while some of the dialogue is decidedly un-foxy...and many readers may consider the body count—crunchy kills galore—a tad gratuitous. But, with drawings by the author, this seasonal fox-saga has a certain vigor. And those who don't mind some purple prose along with their tooth-and-claw gore may find this a tolerable exercise in anthropomorphism.