Book Cover


This brilliantly inventive fantasy epic by the award-winning author of Watership Down immerses the reader in a medieval world complete with created languages, detailed maps and elaborate traditions and rituals. Centring on the long-awaited reincarnation of a giant bear among the half-barbaric Orelgan people, Shardik's appearance sets off a violent chain of events as faith in his divinity sweeps the land. Closest to the bear is the hunter Kelderek, a naturally pious, ignorant, well-meaning man who becomes - in his dedication to Shardik - a prophet, victorious soldier, corrupt priest-king and ruler of an empire.

A gripping tale of war, adventure, morality and slavery, horror and romance, Shardik is a remarkable exploration of mankind's universal desire for divine incarnation, and the corrosive influence of power. Recently ranked in the top 100 bestsellers over the past 40 years by the Sunday times, Shardik is a book for our age.

What critics have said:

Shardik is a powerful work, dipping deep into old forms – allegory, epic, myth – resonating in the caverns of the readers' unconscious... It is an exciting story, the adventures compelling.
Los Angeles Times
Grips with suspense, haunts with mystery... a memorable work, not to be read once only but to be reread as loved books are... a human saga.
Wall Street Journal
Shardik is my masterpiece
Richard Adams
Riveting reading.
Daily Mail
Striking enough to confirm Richard Adams as one of the most talented descriptive writers to emerge in this country for years.
The Times
Recalls the imaginative scale of Lord of the Rings.
Financial Times
‘A story told with conviction and creative zest’