A Rustle In The Grass by Robin Hawdon
With the advent of the digital age, Robin Hawdon’s first novel, ‘A Rustle In The Grass’, written thirty years ago, has now attracted a list of remarkable 5 star reviews on Amazon. Consequently it has been republished by Thistle in a revised version.
“At a distance the countryside appears to stretch quietly and idyllically under the blue sky. Peaceful and untroubled, far from the wars and woes of man, nature moves through her timeless cycles. But look closer. For there in the secret world beneath the grasses lies an empire in turmoil.
A great leader has died and, as the enemy prepares its armies for war, rebellion is whispered through the undergrowth.
There, in the kingdom of the ants, hidden from the gaze of man, a young warrior searches for his identity and fulfilment as the old order collapses around him, and his turbulent community struggles to revive, whilst at the same time preparing to defend itself against obliteration by the forces of tyranny.”
Significance in Small Things – Mrs Marjorie Orr (Top Amazon Reviewer)
The Rustle turns out to be a hidden underfoot world worthy of a David Attenborough series – an epic allegorical tale of ants fighting for survival in a changing world. Their wonderfully evocative names – old Five Legs, Black Sting, Dew-Lover, Still One, Dreamer, Queen of Queens – bring them instantly to life and linger long after the book is finished.
The descriptions of nature in the raw are beautifully and poignantly drawn by Robin Hawdon.
The stresses on a tightly-knit community challenged by war make this an exciting story with a clear moral thread and a wider message about the human condition. Superb for older children and would make a gripping animated film.
Deserves classic status! – Phyllis Ann Karr (Top Amazon Reviewer)
I will never again deliberately kick in an anthill. (Nor should anyone who lives in tick-infested areas, because ants kill ticks.)
Anthropomorphism is perhaps all but unavoidable in storytelling about non-human creatures; but here it is limited to the ants’ thoughts and conversations; and how can we really prove they don’t think deep thoughts and hold conversations? Otherwise, while I admit I am no entomologist, their life patterns struck me as realistically convincing: I even found a rationale for the author’s applying the male pronoun to everyone but the queen(s).
At the same time, parables applicable to human society are going on here, with elitist vs. democratic forms of government and the menace of a ruthlessly totalitarian enemy. Above all, the main characters — all ants — become sympathetic individuals: These little creatures became very real to me, and I grew very concerned about who would survive, and how; saying more than once, “Oh, I didn’t want that one to die!”
It is one of the very few books that, as soon as I had finished, I began rereading at once.