Podkin One Ear
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A bard trudges through the snow on Bramblemas Eve hoping to trade stories for supper. For the eager group of waiting rabbits there is only one tale they want to hear – that of Podkin One Ear.
Podkin, a chieftan’s son, has lived happily all his life in Munbury longbarrow until one night the fearsome Gorm – zombie like iron-clad rabbits - and their leader Scramashank storm the warren, killing his father and taking all the rabbits prisoner. The Gorm are in thrall to strange underground iron structures that exert influence over the rabbits changing them into brutal warmongers intent on destroying the natural balance of the world. Urging them to flee, Podkin’s aunt thrusts a package into his arms and along with his big sister Paz and little brother Pook tells them to make for the Redwater warren. The package contains a magical sword Starclaw plus a message from their mother explaining that the sword is one of the twelve gifts handed down from their ancestors and that Podkin must at all costs prevent the Gorm getting hold of it. The sword has the ability to cut through anything except iron.
They discover Redwater has also been overtaken by the Gorm and in escaping Podkin loses part of his ear. The youngsters almost give up hope of finding refuge but a kind and friendly witch, Brigid takes them in. In true epic fashion Podkin faces many more trials and dangers along the way and together with his siblings, a blind mercenary rabbit, and two dwarf rabbit acrobats they outwit the Gorm and Scramashank in a final battle at Camp Gorm.
This modern day successor to Brian Jacques is a classic tale of David against Goliath where the tenacity and wit of Podkin and his siblings wins through and gives a strong message that heroes are made and not born and that might does not always prevail. The atmospheric adventure is told in an engaging way with plenty of detail and a good pinch of magic enriched with some excellent artwork from David Wyatt. Above all it is a warm family story of love and loyalty and standing up for what you believe in. Watchful young readers will enjoy the satisfying twist at the end too. I hope Podkin’s feisty and clever older sister Paz has a chance to shine in further titles.