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. An old scar faced fox called Scarface takes an interest in the cubs and loiters near the earth to spy on them, but is confronted by Badger and Tawny Owl who warn him off. 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. Scarface reteats but Dreamer has gone missing and is found dead nearby by Fox, her body having been brutally savaged. The animals have no doubt in their minds that Scarface is the culprit.
Despite this tragedy the cubs are 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. Soon Scarface arrives and tries to attack Bold again, but the young cub is too quick and makes his escape. However several members of Scarface's family 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 surmise that he is responsible for alerting the Great Stag of the situation.
The following day Scarface pursues Hare in Farthing Wood territory, before killing Mrs Hare. In response Fox employs his sons Bold and Friendly to convince Adder to kill Scarface, but they are not clear enough in their message and Adder kills another fox 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 immediately take a liking to each other 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, but Adder is able to escape into an empty burrow and Scarface is forced to leave him there.
The encounter with Adder frustrates Scarface and he decides to launch an attack on the Farthing Wood creatures during daylight, when the sentries are not on duty. Kestrel sees the foxes arriving and warns the animals to go into hiding, but they are soon discovered in Badger's set. Ranger enters first and intends to report the set as empty, but Scarface realises the animals are all inside and has the exits surrounded. Fox leaves the set and challenges Scarface to single combat, which Scarface accepts and the two foxes battle. Though Scarface is more experienced and ferocious, Fox is nimbler and faster and eventually gets the upper hand. Fox injures Scarface and manages to grab him by the throat, but lets him go free when The Warden arrives. Scarface and his pack then retreat back to their land.
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. Meanwhile Adder is waiting for him in the stream and as Scarface crosses over to get home, Adder ambushes him and sinks his teeth into the old fox, releasing 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, Friendly and Mole. 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.