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.
In this hybrid mystery/adventure, the latest Redwall saga, six beautiful pearls are hidden in Redwall Abbey. A marauding mob of corsairs seeking the jewels kidnaps the Abbot as a bargaining chip, thereby setting the plot off in two distinct directions. In one, the denizens of the Abbey, led by the young hedgehog Tansy, must solve a series of riddles to find the pearls; theirs is a fun- and food-laden search that harks back to a similar hunt in the series opener, Redwall. Chapters of this quest alternate with a more epic tale, as the warrior mouse Martin leads a small band on a great chase across the open sea to rescue the Abbot. After an intriguing meeting with "sealfolk," the rescuers snatch the Abbot off an island in a bloody-and implausible-battle with the corsairs. The triumphant return of Martin and his cohorts diminishes the importance of the hunt for the pearls, a disappointing loose end; in Redwall, Matthias puts the sword he has quested after to good use. The pearls do allow Tansy, one of a number of strong female characters in key roles, the chance to prove that she is fit to be the first Abbess-but only by throwing them away. The incomplete meshing of the two story lines, and the recycling of a plot from a previous installment, suggest that even though there is plenty of adventure left, this well-loved series may finally be running out of steam. Ages 6-up. (Jan.)
Gr 4 Up‘Devoted fans of Jacques's "Redwall Tales" will snap this off the shelf without any prompting. And those readers who have not yet discovered the delights of Redwall Abbey will likely be converted by the time they have finished reading this rollicking adventure set within the abbey walls, around Mossflower Woods, and on the tropical Island of Samptera, populated by vermin corsairs; Trident-rats; and the evil Emperor Ublaz Mad Eyes, a pine martin. The Pearls of Lutra, a set of six pink pearls known as the Tears of All Oceans plundered from the Otters of Holt Lutra, have slipped through the malevolent Ublaz's paws. He sends a crew of rough Wave Brethern and creepy monitor lizards to recover them from Redwall Abbey, where they have ended up by chance. In the course of events, the beloved Abbot Durral is kidnapped, and Martin the Warrior and a group of charming, valiant, and ravenous beasts from Redwall and Mossflower sail off to save him. In the meantime, the determined hogmaid Tansy and her friends must use the riddlelike clues to recover the pearls from the six spots where they were hidden by the now-deceased Fermaid the Ancient. Although good triumphs over evil as always, readers will experience heartache and some scary moments, as well as encounter quite a bit of bloodshed along the way. A welcome addition to the Redwall canon and a good, solid recommendation for filling adventure- book assignments.‘Carrie Schadle, New York Public Library
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)