One of those sterling-hearted English nature epics, rich in natural detail and ringing with sentiments dear to the hearts of Anglophilic preservationists, in which humans speak in clumps of thick rural idiom and animals articulate in heroic brass: "" 'Die Lut,' the giant [otter] slavered, 'Die savaged and broken!'"" Lut, the young otter and last of his kind in the river, fulfills one boy's dream: to see the beginning of a new otter world. From the river, which runs by the Hall where an ancient, impoverished squire grumbles in isolation, Lut heads for the nesting place of the herons to find a mate. Meanwhile, the boy, a semi-aquatic waif as yet unnetted by the Child Care Department, follows Lut's progress and nearly dies during one wintry attempt. Lut faces unfriendlies, including the old otter Lord of the Marshes (""Look and quake for Fingertaker confronts you!""). But there's the penultimate moment when the bitch otter, Bugle, nips into view. Ah, the days of mud slides and elvers! As always, though, the deadliest enemy is man. Not the Hunter of the Hall, nor the boatman sympathetic to the boy, but black-hat poachers after otter. At the close, the Hunter, boatman, and boy join forces to route the rotters and save the otters. There's a dash and dart of beast, and a shot seems to have ended a life. . .otter or boy? An otter odyssey rigid with epic-titis, but Lloyd sluices his otter and boy and a wealth of flora and fauna through a fine, watery performance by England's channel and mere, creek and bay.