Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and Toad return, but they are mere shadows of their former selves. Horwood has a talent for mimicry, and he manages to reproduce Kenneth Grahame's phraseology and rhythms rather well. Unfortunately, this sorry sequel captures none of the magic of the original Willows. It is stodgy and doddering, like the ageing animals it features. Horwood writes the story of Mole, who goes out in a blizzard to save Rat and Otter and falls through the ice of the River and is swept away. Meanwhile, all his friends and even some weasels and stoats have formed a search party, but after a few days they give up and hold a memorial service that Mole himself attends. Toad, who was supposed to help look for Mole in his new plane, flies off and gets into trouble in the Wide World from which he narrowly escapes with Badger's help. Without Grahame's wit and artistry, this falls terribly flat. Horwood proves that it takes more than a good ear to write a sequel to a classic. This attempt is presumptuous.