Tuesday, October 15, 2019

74. The Silver Tide by Michael Tod

The Silver Tide has been on my hunting list for a long time and it is one more in the animal adventure sub-genre (though sub of what I am not sure).  I've done cats, foxes, moles and now squirrels.  This one takes place in Dorset, in southern England.  A community of red squirrels (native to England and once thriving across the entire island and now mainly gone) live around a lovely blue lake.  Their tranquil lives are upset when a pair of grey squirrels show up, not only a different colour, but larger and with very different attitudes about property.  They also have some understanding about numbers beyond 8 (the amount of claws on a squirrels two front paws) and can arrange rocks in a way to create a powerful force.

And these grey squirrels have no qualms about their aims, which is to drive the reds out and take over their territory for their own "leaping room".  The first two are a vanguard, to scout and soften resistance by intimidation.  The red squirrels, peaceful, communitarian (they don't believe in or even understand private property) are easily intimidated and when the wave of greys come in, they do leave and thus begins the adventure.

It's very fast-paced, a bit baldly told, but quite enjoyable.  A lot goes on and it develops in an unexpected way so that it didn't end up with the typical epic battle versus the evil oppressor. You get a nice sense of the setting as well.  Really makes me want to visit this area (in the afterword Tod actually gives the address of the Blue Lake and recommends checking out the museum there).  Now to hunt down books 2 and 3!

(Note: this is the 74th book for me this year, a new personal record.)

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