Today for Terri Bruce's This and That Thursday meme, the topic is epic fantasy. Although epic fantasy seems to be making a comeback today among indie writers, I'm going to discuss two older books, The Book of the Dun Cow and Watership Down. It's been a long time since I've read these books, so bear with me if I'm fuzzy on the details. If you're not familiar with these books, both of them feature animals as characters.
The Book of the Dun Cow is set in a farmyard. Some of the main characters include a rooster and his main wife, a dog, and of course, the dun cow. (If I remember correctly, the cow is almost like a spiritual or religious figure for the animals). Although the setting may be small, the stakes are epic, as the animals must prevent an evil creature from escaping his prison. There are fights and moving sacrifices, and the heart of this story is the relationship between the rooster and the dog. I always thought this was a standalone novel; however, two more books in this series came out last year.
Watership Down is more quest-like, as a group of rabbits set out to establish a new home. Although they encounter other types of animals, the focus is on the rabbits. The setting and culture of the rabbits is richly established. They not only have their own language but their own stories, which are related at key points in the book. I remember Fivver is one of the most important characters in the story, but I can't remember the other characters' names. The stakes in this book are more about survival than good and evil, but the rabbits must also find ways to protect themselves from their enemies--and even other rabbits.
Which epic fantasies have you loved? If you want to discuss them, feel free to do so here, or post about it on your own blog and sign up on the linky list at Terri's blog.