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The Bellmaker
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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 4 Up‘Fans of Jacques's books will be delighted to see this one hit the shelves. The story has four distinct settings: Castle Floret, where a fox dressed in a wolf skin rules as the Urgan Naguru, chief of the Horderats; Mossflower Abbey, where two infants befriend Blaggut, a surprisingly gentle Searat; Southsward, where a band of river otters and moles fight to protect the Squirellqueen Serena and her son Truffen; and the bounding main, where the title character, Joseph the Bellmaker, and his band of Redwall adventurers join forces with sea otter Finnbarr Galedeep, skipper of the Pearl Queen, to search for Joseph's daughter Mariel. With the exception of the Redwall Abbey folks, all points converge at Castle Floret for a grand battle, with fights to the finish for the bad guys, and a grand celebration feast for the victors. This is storytelling at its best. Adventures abound, and with them comes heartache. Not every beast survives to the end of this story, and Jacques is wise enough not to perform too many miracles. Characters are easily identified by their speech and the rabbits, with their ``toodle pip, wot?'' are a positive delight. It is not necessary to have read any other Redwall books to make sense of this one, though new readers will undoubtedly demand the other titles after finishing it.‘Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA

For the seventh volume of the Redwall series, Jacques sticks to the tried-and-true formula-action aplenty and a huge cast of woodland creatures-that has won him such a dedicated following. When the merciless Foxwolf Urgan Nagru and his mate, the scheming vixen Silvamord, oust good Gael Squirrelking from the throne of Southsward, Mariel the Warriormaid and her companion Dandin-two adventuresome wandering mice from Redwall Abbey-join forces with those forest denizens still loyal to their king. Meanwhile, back at the Abbey, a prophetic dream inspires Mariel's father to round up a party to search for his daughter. Comic relief-as well as a touch of tragedy-is provided by a pair of uncouth and piratical rats as a seemingly endless stream of cliff-hangers and dazzling combat winds its way through lovingly described forest feasts. The author must be commended for creating a world of equal-opportunity adventuring, in which female creatures can be just as courageous (or as diabolical) as their male counterparts, but the characterizations are broadly drawn. Despite their well-delineated quirks, foibles and quaint speech patterns (``Zurr, thurr'm a gurt 'ole in ee shipper 'ere''), ``nobeast'' really grows or changes much in this neck of the woods. Ages 9-up. Author tour. (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)

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