Another classic Redwall tale in the fantastic new repackage of the series.
Brian Jacques was born and bred in Liverpool. At the age of fifteen he went to sea and travelled the world. He worked as a stand-up comedian and playwright and hosted his own programme, Jakestown, on Radio Merseyside. His bestselling Redwall books have captured readers all over the world and won universal praise. He died in 2011.
Brian's writing career began in earnest with playwriting. His three plays, Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies and Scouse have all been performed at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. Brian wrote his first book, Redwall, for the children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind. He first came into contact with the children through delivering milk to the school. He started reading books to them but saw that the stories were not sufficiently firing the kids' imaginations. He decided to try a story of his own. "I didn't have a typewriter and I was skint, so I went and bought dozens of 30p pads and sat up all night. Brian was signed up on the spot for the first five Redwall adventures. The series has proved phenomenally successful throughout the world. There are over seven million copies of the 14 Redwall books in print. They are published in 19 countries and 16 languages. In the year 2000, The Legend of Luke remained on the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks, while Lord Brocktree was there for over 17 weeks. A TV animation of Redwall has been created by Nelvana Productions. There has even been an opera version! Brian's first book for Puffin marks an exciting new direction for this compelling author. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman is every bit as gripping as a Redwall. In 1620, a young mute boy named Neb is "shanghied to sail on The Flying Dutchman". The ship's captain is an evil, godless man with the power of life and death over everyone on board. The Flying Dutchman is not a ship for the faint of heart! Although most of the characters in the novel are human, there are two particularly strong animal heroes; Den, Neb's talking black Labrador; and Horatio, the ship's sardine-obsessed cat.
Dishing out neither surprises nor disappointments, Jacques's latest Redwall installment (after The Bellmaker) is likely to satisfy his considerable fans even if it doesn't win him any converts. This lengthy story rumbles into life when Sunflash, a badger, prisoner of the cruel ferret Swartt Sixclaw, escapes and swears revenge. Sunflash is destined to get not only his revenge but much else besides, for he is a Badger Lord, fated to rule the mountain Salamandastron. Drawn there by dreams, after an epic journey he takes command of the resident regiments of fighting hares and various serving beasts, and soon defends the mountain from a horde raised by Swartt. Though strongly plotted and spiced with a variety of secondary characters, Jacques's new concoction, like the vegetarian feasts he describes often and in detail, will not appeal to all tastes: the repasts are not the only parts of the story that go on too long, and the characteristics of all the animals in the story are fixed by their species. Moles, for example, are all rural bumpkins, with a "quaint mole dialect" that requires some study. Such ingredients, of course, may be just what makes the Redwall recipe so consistently popular. Ages 8-up. (Feb.)
"Epic" * Daily Mail *
"Not since Roald Dahl have children filled their shelves so compulsively" * The Times *
"He is a wonderful storyteller, immersed in his own kingdom" * Guardian *
Gr 4 Up‘Another surefire hit for "Redwall" fans. The bulk of this story concerns an orphan badger named Sunflash the Mace who, with his buddy Skarlath the kestrel, rights the wrongs of the world. He eventually becomes Badger Lord of Salamandastron, which is populated by very English Public School hares. The bad guys in this story are ferret Swartt Sixclaw and Nightshade the vixen. They spend most of the book poisoning other bad guys and looking for a chance to even an old score with Sunflash. One last ferret of note is Swartt's son Veil, who is raised at Redwall Abbey by Briony the mouse. He spends his time in the literary limelight being a sociopath only a (foster) mother could love. Briony's faith in him eventually doing good remains unshakable, even after he is caught thieving and murdering. Besides strong plotting and good writing, there are two constants in this series: food and distinct accents for each group of animals. This title is no different. Though faithful readers should have a good idea by now what deeper'n'ever pie, dandelion and burdock cordial, and oatfarls taste like, talking about food is always a nice break from mourning the death of good friends who have fallen in battle. While the accents may pose problems for some, the hurdle is not insurmountable, and the characters are strong enough to engage even the most indifferent reader.‘Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA