This novel is about the trees of Southcrop Forest, a forest in crisis. Reduced to little more than a forest fragment, they are hemmed in on all sides by human sprawl. There is a great feeling of despair, for the trees know that the end is inevitable.
Auja, a young oak tree, finds a unique being within its branches. Fur is not your average caterpillar. It is a kind of group-mind being consisting of over 240 separate entities, not seen in Southcrop Forest for the past thousand years. Auja persuades a reluctant Fur to undertake a harrowing journey.
The trees of Southcrop Forest have made an earth-shattering discovery for their kind. Fur is to carry that treasure to a mysterious place called Riverside Farm. It involves crossing the Oak River to the Deep Sky forests. The trees talk to Fur through a form of telepathy, and help Fur as much as possible.
At one point, Fur is attacked by birds and bugs who use caterpillars as hosts for their eggs. Fur survives, but loses a number of its members. Trying to cross a human road, more members of Fur are flattened by car tires. Fur also encounters patches of crawler plague, a disease that is absolutely fatal to caterpillars. Fur is under a huge time constraint of its own. Being a caterpillar, the compulsion is growing to find an appropriate spot, spin a cocoon, turn into a moth and fly to the sun.
Almost at its goal, the few members of Fur who have survived the journey are caught by a human child, and left in an airtight jar in the hot sun. Fur is eventually released, and has lost even more of itself. Along the way, Fur learns about ecology, the threat from mankind and about its own existence.
Perhaps it is time to consider starting a new genre of fiction, "stories written from a non-human perspective." This is a first-rate story that will get the reader looking at their local forest or stand of trees in a whole new way.
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