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.
The beastly names have changed but the epic struggle between good and evil rages on in this continuation of the acclaimed Redwall series. Leading the fight is the badger maid, Mara; a dashing hare named Pikkle; and Dumble, a baby vole all aptly named in the colorful tradition of Jacques's animal characterizations. At stake are the lives of all the good beasts of Redwall Abbey who are stricken with a terrible plague. A bittersweet relationship between Mara and her guardian, the Badger Lord of Salamandastron, provides an emotional thread that cleverly joins far-flung bands of swashbuckling beasts, on various quests and fighting sorties, in its moving ceremonial conclusion. Against the backdrop of a seemingly endless parade of heroes and villains, danger and daring rescues, Jacques has created over the years a loyalty between his readers and the creatures of Redwall Abbey: the reader feels included in the Abbey's history as it is being written, and Jacques encourages that empathy by creating animal characters that respond to extraordinary circumstances with compellingly human-like humility and strength. Chalk's black-and-white illustrations above each chapter number are small marvels of nuance and personality. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
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)