Jacques' first book in the popular Redwall series is a sweeping fantastical adventure, taking the reader on a whirlwind of a ride through the animal world of Mossflower Country. Redwall itself is an abbey that was constructed and populated by mice and their friends, and the story takes place within the abbey as well as the surrounding areas. From members of the woodland animal kingdom such as mice, moles, and rats to foxes, badgers, sparrows, and snakes, each character is given their own personality and voice in this epic adventure of good versus evil. The main character's name is Matthias. Matthias is a small mouse constantly tripping over his one size too-large sandals, aching for an adventure that will make him a hero. He is transfixed by the historical figure of Martin, a warrior mouse who is credited as having founded Redwall. Fulfillment of Matthias' dreams is found in a rat named Cluny the Scourge, a hideous and vengeful creature whose goal in life is to conquer every land he comes to at the head of his rat army. With his single eye and whip-like tail capped by a poisoned barb, Cluny comes to conquer Redwall and to kill and enslave its citizens while pillaging the abbey and countryside for all its wealth. Battles ensue which test the bravery of each and every animal in the woodland, especially Matthias.
Redwall is now a many-volumed series that has been translated into 10 languages. The series is so popular that there is a British television series based on the first novel. Redwall has won the Western Australian Young Readers' Award, the Lancashire Libraries Children's Book of the Year Award, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Though written for an audience between the ages of 9 and 15, adults who enjoy fantasy that features animals will be thrilled with this book.
Reviewed by aw, 11/01. Other reviews by aw.