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Extended Audio Sample Watership Down, by Richard Adams Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (149,052 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Adams Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Fiver may be small, but he has a powerful gift. Fiver, you see, is a seer. He is also a rabbit. And because of his powers, he has seen something that nobody else has; something that will change the course of history for his entire civilization. He has seen, to put it simply, a vision foretelling the complete destruction of the warren.

Along with his brother, Hazel, Fiver does his best to convince the chief rabbit that something evil is coming, and that they have to evacuate. But the chief turns a deaf ear to their warnings, refusing to listen, let alone act. Worried and dejected, Fiver and Hazel determine that their only course of action is to set out with a few of their friends in search of a new home.

The road is not without its perils, however. Their party has barely exited the warren before they face their first obstacle: The Owsla, a caste of military rabbits, are sent to stop them, and they barely escape with their lives. From there onward, it is a non-stop adventure. Fiver's visions lead the band to their final destination, and the various talents of the party members all come in handy as they face various obstacles on their journey to Watership Down. And even if they arrive safely, their adventure will have only just begun.

Richard Adams, born in 1920 is an English novelist, best known for writing Watership Down. He was a student of modern history before joining the British Army during World War II, and after the war he completed his studies and became a member of the British Civil Service. Watership Down, his first book, was published in 1972, and by 1974 he was a full-time author. Having written over 20 books in his decades long career, Adams is now semi-retired, and lives with his wife in Whitchurch, Hampshire.

Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos. Fiver’s vision finally leads them to Watership Down, an upland meadow. But here they face their most difficult challenges of all.

A stirring epic of courage and survival against the odds, Watership Down has become a beloved classic for all ages. Both an exciting adventure story and an involving allegory about freedom, ethics, and human nature, it has delighted generations with its unique and charming world, winning many awards and being adapted to film, television, and theater.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Quite marvelous…A powerful new vision of the great chain of being.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A classic…A great book.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Spellbinding…A taut tale of suspense, hot pursuit, and derring-do.”

    Chicago Tribune


  • “Adams handles his suspenseful narrative more dexterously than most authors who claim to write adventure novels, but his true achievement lies in the consistent, comprehensible and altogether enchanting civilization that he has created.”


  • “I announce, with trembling pleasure, the appearance of a great story.”

    Times (London)

  • “If there is no place for Watership Down in children’s bookshops, then children’s literature is dead.”

    Economist (London)

  • “Hairbreadth escapes…Adams is a master of menace and suspense. I read the last hundred pages at a gulp, heart thumping.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Mr. Adams…has bravely and successfully resurrected the big picaresque adventure story, with moments of such tension that the helplessly involved reader finds himself checking whether things are going to work out all right on the next page before daring to finish the preceding one.”

    New Statesman

  • “As in the real world, the rabbit world is inhabited by good guys and bad, and the good guys prevail in this adventurous tale of a small band of rabbits searching for a place to live in peace. Adventure, suspense, menace, and great chase scenes abound, and, of course, the listener learns a few words of Lapin as the story progresses. Cosham is…absolutely brilliant, voicing each rabbit and the other animals as well. His Scandinavian gull and Italian mouse are sure to amuse the listener. This reading does this modern classic complete justice. Adults, teens, and older children will enjoy stepping into this enchanted land.”

    SoundCommentary.com (starred review)

  • Watership Down is both a children’s classic and a favorite of adults. Whether this is just a simple tale about rabbits or a complex political allegory depends upon the listener, but Ralph Cosham’s narration fits both. He is a calm and steady storyteller whose intimate, understated style draws the listener in. As the rabbits embark on a journey of survival, Cosham communicates their fear and uneasiness. He’s sensitive to their personalities and moods as they travel together and meet a number of challenges. For the other animals, Cosham uses various accents that differentiate them from the rabbits. In the introduction Adams says that one of the novel’s bird characters was based on a Norwegian freedom fighter.”


  • Finalist for the 2011 Audie Award for Classics
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • Winner of the 1972 Carnegie Medal for Literature
  • Winner of the 1973 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
  • Winner of the 1977 California Young Reader Medal
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Naching Kassa | 2/18/2014

    " One of the best books I've ever read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marie Gregory | 2/16/2014

    " This is one of my most dearly loved memories of my childhood. Hidding under the covers as Grandma Libby read aloud from Watership down. I was so scared of that kingdom of rabbits, I never looked at my backyard the same.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nantz | 2/14/2014

    " wonderful allegory "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Diane Murray | 2/3/2014

    " An incredibly engaging and unique story. The adult themes of leadership and survival somehow co-mingle with incredibly sweet and innocent moments of bunny-hood. It's no wonder this one's a classic. "

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