Books: Ursus Saves?

SHARDIK by RICHARD ADAMS 604 pages. Simon & Schuster. $9.95.

Richard Adams has written a second novel, and may the Great Bear God help him. It seems certain that he is in for a spell of heavyweight reviewing, the kind of borborygmic reappraisal the critical community indulges in when it feels slightly ill and foolish after a gorge of overpraise. What was overpraised, of course, was Watership Down, a bunny epic greeted last year as if it were a cross between Moby-Dick and The Wind in the Willows. The excessive praise was a critical phenomenon that occurs every year or so when...

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