Another classic Redwall tale, continuing the fantastic 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.
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.)
Not since Roald Dahl have children filled their shelves so
compulsively * The Times *
He is a wonderful storyteller, immersed in his own kingdom * Guardian *