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Cover of the 1983 publication
|Publication date||6 September 1982|
|Preceded by||In the Grip of Winter|
|Succeeded by||The Fox Cub Bold|
Fox's Feud is the third book of The Animals of Farthing Wood book series by Colin Dann. The book was illustrated by Terry Riley and first published on 6 September 1982. It was also released as part of The Animals of Farthing Wood Omnibus in 1994.
Spring has arrived in White Deer Park, and Vixen gives birth to four cubs, who are named Bold, Charmer, Dreamer and Friendly. Afterwards, an old scar faced fox called Scarface takes an interest in the cubs and prowls near the earth to spy on them. He later tries to sneak into the earth while Fox is out hunting, but is confronted by Badger and Tawny Owl. Before leaving, Scarface tells them that his ancestors have lived on this land since before it became a nature reserve and that he doesn't like foxes from the outside. The animals suspect that their presence in the park is no longer welcome, so they have a meeting and they decide to stick to their corner of the reserve for the time being.
The cubs grow bigger and Vixen takes them on their first hunting trip. Scarface continues to watch the cubs and fears that one day they will become the dominant foxes in the park, so he tries to attack Bold, but the young cub is able to fight him off with the aid of Vixen, so Scarface is forced to retreat. However, Dreamer has gone missing and is found dead nearby by Fox, her body having been brutally savaged. The animals have no doubt that Scarface was the culprit.
After this tragedy, Fox and Vixen accompany their cubs at all times while they hunt. However, the cubs are eventually given more independence and Bold decides to explore beyond the Farthing Wood corner of the park. After a conversation with Adder, he heads into Scarface's territory and meets the old fox's son Ranger. Scarface suddenly arrives and tries to attack Bold again, but the young cub is too quick and makes his escape. However, several members of Scarface's tribe appear and trap Bold, before keeping him hostage in a nearby earth.
Meanwhile, Adder informs the other animals that Bold has gone missing and his family heads off to look for him, followed by several of the other animals who go to see what is happening. Fox and his family head into Scarface's territory, but Bold has managed to escape and meets up with the other animals who are following behind. Badger heads into Scarface's territory to help Fox, but The Great Stag is already there and convinces Scarface to let Fox go unharmed. On their way home, Fox and Badger meet Adder and realize that he is responsible for alerting the Great Stag of the situation.
The next day, Scarface pursues Hare in Farthing Wood territory, but Hare escapes and Scarface kills Mrs Hare instead. Upon learning of this, Fox realizes that Scarface has to be stopped. As Scarface is the main threat and has no successor, Fox is confident that killing Scarface will put their problems to an end and employs Bold and Friendly to convince Adder to kill Scarface. However, they are not clear enough in their message and Adder kills a relative of Scarface instead. Fox fears that Scarface will suspect them and attack, so he employs sentries to guard their territory every night.
One night while hunting Charmer meets Ranger, and they go hunting together. They quickly fall in love, and start to meet reguarly after this first meeting. When Charmer is on sentry duty she is unable to meet Ranger and he comes to look for her, but Bold catches them and threatens him. Fox and Vixen arrive and allow Ranger to leave while Charmer explains the story to them from the beginning. Meanwhile, Scarface has been informed of Adder's whereabouts by Ranger and attacks him, biting off the end of his tail. However, Adder is able to escape into an empty burrow and Scarface is eventually forced to leave him there. Adder remains in hiding, secretly plotting to kill Scarface.
The encounter with Adder frustrates Scarface, and he decides to launch an attack on the Farthing Wood creatures with a dozen foxes during daylight, when the sentries are not on duty. Kestrel sees the foxes coming and warns the animals to go into hiding. However, they are eventually discovered in Badger's set. Ranger enters first and intends to report the set as empty, but Scarface realizes the animals are all inside and has the exits surrounded. Fox leaves the set and challenges Scarface to single combat, which Scarface accepts. Though Scarface puts up a ferocious fight, Fox eventually gets the upper hand; he manages to injure Scarface and grab hold of his throat, but lets him go when the Warden arrives. Scarface and his tribe then retreat back to their land. As a result of his defeat, the other foxes will no longer follow Scarface.
Due to Ranger attempting to forestall Scarface's aggressive intentions, Fox and the other animals realize that he is not on Scarface's side and Fox allows Ranger to remain with Charmer. However, Bold still refuses to accept Ranger because he regards all of Scarface's relations as enemies of the Farthing Wood animals.
When Scarface has regained his strength, he hunts the more defenceless Farthing Wood animals, killing most of the voles and fieldmice, four rabbits, and one squirrel. In the morning, Fox regrets not killing Scarface and another meeting is called. Whistler points out that because the animals have tried to build a new Farthing Wood in the park this has caused them to be isolated from the other animals, and Fox ultimately decides to tell the Great Stag what Scarface has done. Meanwhile, Scarface starts crossing the stream to get home, but he is ambushed by Adder, who sinks his fangs into the old fox and releases all of his venom. Scarface struggles clear of the stream, but is unable to move further and slowly dies as Adder watches on. Adder reports his triumph to the other animals and they celebrate Scarface's death.
Scarface's family discovers his dead body, but they do not suspect the Farthing Wood animals of killing him and the feud is brought to an end. Several of the animals decide to integrate themselves within the White Deer Park community and find mates within the park, including Hare, Leveret, Weasel, Kestrel, and Mole. Friendly meets Russet, a young vixen and one of Ranger's cousins. They instantly become smitten with each other. However, Bold shows no interest in mating within in the park and decides that he wants to explore beyond White Deer Park, so after informing Friendly of his plan, he leaves the boundaries of the reserve to explore the outside world. Meanwhile, Ranger and Charmer settle down together.