The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin
This is Walter Wangerin’s first novel; I’ve just now gotten around to reading it, though I’ve read both his fiction and nonfiction in the past. In some time before humans, or world without humans, Chanticleer rules his farmyard and its animals; all is well until they rescue some refugee animals from another coop, including the beautiful Pertelote. Evil has come into the world through another rooster’s failing, and it is up to Chanticleer and his allies to save the world from dark evil. They have help from the mysterious Dun Cow, who comes and goes as she pleases.
Wangerin is a Christian writer, and there are definitely Christian allegorical overtones here, although it’s not nearly so straightforward an allegory as, for example, the Narnia books. One of Wangerin’s strengths is the ability to write about suffering in a way that is profound and wrenching, but not manipulative, and that strength is visible even here in this early work. This book is the first of a trilogy. 4/5*