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Mossflower (Redwall)
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About the Author

Brian Jacques was both a master storyteller and a jack-of-all-trades. He lived the life of a sailor, actor, stand-up comedian, radio host, bobby, even a bus driver. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Liverpool and a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books for younger readers, including the wildly popular Redwall series. Dr. Jacques was a lifelong resident of Liverpool, England.

Reviews

Gr 6 Up In this prequel to Redwall (Philomel, 1987), Jacques describes the epic adventures leading up to the foundation of Redwall Abbey. A band of weasels, stoats, and other unpleasant creatures from Kotir Castle, led by the evil wildcat Tsarmina, is making life unbearable for the animals of Mossflower Woods. Then Martin, a young warrior mouse with a rusty sword, appears and inspires them to resistance. Leaving the others to harass Tsarmina, Martin sets out with two companions on a quest to find the great badger, Boar, the true ruler of Mossflower. All of the characters, good and evil alike, come fully alive. Jacques has the true fantasy-writer's ability to create a wholly new and believable world, down to the last details of food, drink, and local dialect. He is not so skilled with his plot. Suspense does not arise from the situation itself, for the end is never really in doubt. Instead it is produced by rapid and often confusing cuts back and forth between groups of characters. The writing is smooth and swift-paced; scenes of violent battle take place so quickly that readers may have to go back to what has happened. Lacking the unifying device which the seige provides in Redwall, the narrative seems overly long and crowded with events. This will be enjoyed mainly by those whose reading of Redwall has already aroused their interest in Mossflower and its inhabitants. Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library

Right from the start of this rousingly old-fashioned prequel to Redwall , readers will submerge themselves in the culture of the woodlanders and their council, the Corim, against the wicked Kotir. Kotir is the name of the group holed up at the castle, led by Tsarmina, a wildcat who poisons her father and imprisons her good brother Gingivere so that she may rule in her own way. Into the woodlanders' midst comes Martin the Warrior, who becomes fast friends with Gonff the mousethief and others; they soon set off to find the only warrior who can lead them to victory. More important than the outcome of the story, where good triumphs over evil, are the characters: baby hedgehogs Ferdy and Coggs, doing their valiant best to become warriors; the kindly Gingivere, who finds his heart's joy as a farmer; Lady Amber, the squirrel Chief and her band of archers; Chibb, the robin who will spy for anyone as long as he is paid in candied chestnuts. Martin's heroics pale in comparison to the acts of his fellow-fighters, so colorful are their escapades. While Redwall fans will enjoy this, no prior knowledge of that book is necessary. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)

Praise for the Redwall series

"Brian Jacques has the true fantasy writer's ability to create a wholly new and believable world."--School Library Journal "The medieval world of Redwall Abbey--where gallant mouse warriors triumph over evil invaders--has truly become the stuff of legend."--Seattle Post-Intelligencer "A grand adventure story. Once the reader is hooked, there is no peace until the final page."--Chicago Sun-Times "Jacques's effortless, fast-paced narrative gets its readers quickly hooked. He clearly loves this other world he has created--there's a genius sense of involvement and care (lots of lovingly descriptive passages), as well as an overflowing, driving imagination."--Birmingham Post "Redwall is both an incredible and ingratiating place, one to which readers will doubtless cheerfully return."--New York Times Book Review "An excellent adventure with an enlightened conscience. Brilliantly complex. With vibrant and distinct animal characters, Jacques's classically inspired plot-weaving achieves virtuosity."--Publishers Weekly "Only a churl would reject this morality play in fur."--Kirkus Reviews "Filled with the kind of vibrant storytelling that fans of Jacques have come to expect. His dialogue is lively and delightful to read aloud...so rich in detail that the sights and sounds and smells of the adventure pull the reader in."--Grand Rapids Press (MI) "A richly imagined world in which bloody battles vie for attention with copious feasting and tender romancing. Where males and females are heroes and warriors. Where the young triumph and the old endure. Where intelligence is as valued as strength and wit is frequently more important than size...[Jacques] continues to surprise and delight with intriguing plots and fresh faces."--Cincinnati Enquirer "The Knights of the Round Table with paws."--The Sunday Times (London)

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