Brian Jacques (redwallabbey.com) was born in Liverpool in 1939. He left school at age fifteen and found work as a docker, a truck driver, a policeman and a stand-up comic, all before turning his attention to writing. He wrote his first novel, Redwall, for the children at a school for the blind in Liverpool. Since 1986, his descriptive style of writing has captivated readers from age 8 to 80. His books have won international awards and acclaim and have been made into a TV series.
Gr 6-8‘In this latest "Redwall" entry, Tammo, a young hare, becomes a member of a contingent of fighting forest folk who seek to defend the imperiled Redwall Abbey, led by the badger Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. Tammo and his comrades do battle against the Rapscallion foe, whose leader is the evil greatrat, Damug Warfang. Eventually the forces of good meet and clash with their evil enemies in a battle of legendary proportions. Good triumphs, of course, but not before several noble warriors have met their deaths. There is a tremendous amount of violence in this book. The characters maintain some of their animal characteristics, but it is their human qualities that make them either appealing or repugnant. The bad Rapscallions are thoroughly dishonest, traitorous, and cruel. The badgers, mice, hedgehogs, moles, and other assorted creatures that represent goodness may have foibles but they are unremittingly kind and generous. Pen-and-ink thumbnail sketches appear at the head of each chapter and strongly communicate the sense of drama. Some of the creatures, most notably the laboring class of moles, speak in an impossible, jaw-breaking dialect that may slow some readers down a bit; nevertheless, this is a worthy addition to a series that has found a definite niche among fantasy lovers. It breaks no new ground, but it is a satisfying adventure with a comforting, predictable conclusion. Its closing lines pave the way for yet another sequel.‘Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Jacques sticks to the tried-and-true in the latest installment of the Redwall series. In the declining years of the characters previously featured in Pearls of Lutra, a menacing band of raiders again threatens Redwall Abbey. And once again the good animals of Redwall and Mossflower must join together to fight the invader. A new protagonist, the young hare Tammo, joins the Long Patrol, an outfit charged with the protection of all the animals in Mossflower Wood and fabled for its soldiering; he does well in battle but wants no more of it: "No, I'm not all right, sah. I've seen death!" Love, sparked by an attractive female hare, is more important to him. Meanwhile, at the Abbey, excavations lead to a treasure hunt, like the one found in Lutra though not as integral to the plot. These familiar story lines are seasoned with a few other new characters and groups of animals, notably a wandering female squirrel (who, unfortunately, survives only halfway through). The Painted Ones and the Waterhogs, based on what appear to be popular perceptions of African tribesmen and Native American warriors, also make guest appearances. And of course, there is the familiar roster of animal types‘royal badgers, officer-class hares, greedy but cowardly rats and the country bumpkin moles, who can always be relied upon for a funny "gem of mole logic." The formula, in other words, still works, and the narrative, as usual, is tightly plotted and‘except for the difficult-to-decipher dialects and lengthy descriptions of food‘briskly paced. A feast for the faithful. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
Jacques reads his own fanciful story about an adolescent hare who wishes to join the Long Patrol, a militant band of hare soldiers who strive against the evil rat Rapscallion. With complex names, such as Tamello De Formelo Tussock, and unusual animal characters, Jacques tells a story of battle, friendship, and leadership. This imaginative story will appeal principally to those who like animal personages in adult fairy tales. While Jacques's solid male voice gives variety and individuality to his characters' voices, he is not always easily understood. As the narrator, his broad Lancashire accent predominates. Overall, it does not make for easy listening. To follow the story and understand the text requires very active listening. Unfortunately, most audiences will tire of the effort.‘Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Salinas, CA
Praise for The Long Patrol
"[Jacques is] a masterful storyteller . . . As in the other Redwall books, the combination of an absorbing plot, robust characterization, and detailed description make the novel a page-turner."--The Horn Book Praise for Brian Jacques' Redwall series... "Astonishing!"--Kirkus Reviews "Energetic fantasy!"--The New York Times Book Review "Rousing adventure!"--Publishers Weekly "Old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure."--Locus "Jacques's realistically drawn characters are full of personality."--Publishers Weekly