Since The Call of the Wild, stories of animals forsaking civilization to seek the wilderness have held a fascination. In this case, a mongoose, born in a crowded neighborhood on St. Thomas, longs for his own roots and kind as he travels toward the primitive bush. Viggo's mother's best friend is a wise old goat. When his mother disappears, never to return, the goat points out that Viggo is plenty old enough to be self-sufficient, and outlines Viggo's alternatives. Dreaming of the bush (his mother used to tell wonderful stories about it), Viggo is nevertheless first drawn to town, where he's lulled by easy food given by a friendly market woman. But he's soon on his way again, evading enemies, learning such hard truths as where stew comes from, making friends with a dog and a second goat, till he finally makes his way through the dangerous farmland (a farmer shoots and wounds him) to the bush--probably no safer, but home of other mongooses in the wild. Though the animals speak (in beautifully cadenced, pungent island dialect), the story is unsentimental, the animals tree to animal nature and behavior. This is the author's first novel; it was first written in St. Thomas, as a TV drama. Well-paced, told with economy and grace, it is an unusual contribution to the list of animal stories.