It is now many years since the first volume of the Animals of Farthing Wood and once more White Dear park is under threat. This time Colin Dan has taken a darker path and made this book for a children’s story rather terrifying. Starting with a few deaths amongst the rabbit population it becomes clear that the nature reserve has a new predator on its hands but no one has yet to see it and live. At first the animals assume it Is nothing more than astray cat or dog or even possibly a rogue fox but as the new predator becomes more and more confident and the death count rises it is clear they are in fact dealing with something unimaginable. When the invincible great white deer heard start to suffer losses as well terror grips the park. Nothing anyone has ever seen has been capable of bringing down a member of the deer herd. The population of the park are forced into a siege where they must hide underground all night for fear of this ruthless predator.
The young fox population are proud and eager to prove themselves against this new foe and group together to hunt down this elusive predator, feeling safety in numbers they feel 6 adult male foxes would be more than a match for anything the British food chain cold throw at them. Alas they are mistaken, for the creature easily eludes the foxes and the hunters become the hunted as the great monster reveals itself as none other than a great cat like a leopard or a panther. This concept of a super predator lurking in the wilderness is not an alien concept and legends of such creatures have existed throughout history, the most famous being the so-called beast of Bodmin Moor.
The death of one of the young foxes sparks a wave of anger throughout the predator community of the park and the old fox himself declares a state of war against the beast. As the deer herd continues to be picked off one by one and the human wardens efforts are fruitless in catching the beast the old fox summons all the predators in the park to unite against the creature and force it too leave.
But after finding the creatures lair and forcing it into the open daylight the animals realise how hopelessly outmatched they really are against such a foe. The great cat doesn’t even waste his time to dispatch the host of foxes, badgers, weasels and owls and takes off to across the river to a more secret lair.
Desperation sets in as the animals realise there is nothing they can do to stop the beast and they resort to tracking it down to try and catch it in its sleep. In a great cavern a young mole discovers the creature but he is trapped, only an old badger knows where he is and it is too late to warn the others. Badger races to the rescue hoping to sacrifice himself to save the mole but the creature is not interested and sets about to murder both animals.
Salvation is answered by a deafening roar of answered by the beasts own roar and it takes of immediately bolting strait out of the park and into a field where another cat emerges, things are looking bleaker than ever until they realise that the cats roar was a mating call and the female leads the beast away. So the park was saved by the spring season although the casualties will be hard to replace. The story puts across a powerful sense of hopelessness and fear even at the end, for while the park may be saved there is no preventing the creature returning in the future and the whole slaughter beginning again.