by Brain Jacques

Conditional Recommendation: A group of woodland creatures defend their abbey from a notorious rat warlord while one apprentice mouse quests to recover a legendary lost weapon.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Redwall, Book 1 of 22
Pages: 352
Published: 1987

Genre: Fantasy

This book has everything you could want in an adventure: mystery, danger, wonder, quests, heroes and villains, successes and failures, peril, victory, friendship, humor, teamwork, ingenuity, loyalty, and on and on I could go! Along with light-hearted, loving descriptions of food, this book doesn’t shy away from the grim realities of warfare, but neither does it wallow in despair. On the contrary, the story is full of hopeful characters who strive doggedly on in the war against evil to achieve victory.

Summary from the Publisher

Welcome to Mossflower Wood, where the gentle mice have gathered to celebrate a year of peace and abundance. All is well…until a sinister shadow falls across the ancient stone abbey of Redwall. It is rumored that Cluny is coming—Cluny, the terrible one-eyed rat and his savage horde—Cluny, who has vowed to conquer Redwall Abbey! The only hope for the besieged mice lies in the lost sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior. And so begins the epic quest of a bumbling young apprentice—a courageous mouse who would rise up, fight back…and become a legend himself.

Enduring Themes

Unity – A variety of creatures with varying abilities, cultures, and personalities band together to fight a common enemy. Reading such displays bolsters the soul.

Goodness and Truth

The common “good vs. evil” trope lives large in this book, but it should be called “good triumphing over evil” because that would be more accurate to the story and to the real-world story of God’s plot to redeem His creation from the bondage of evil and to put Satan in his place. Evil is unmistakably evil in this book—you know who the enemy is and there’s no deception about it unlike Satan and his wily ways. There’s something encouraging and deeply satisfying about seeing true evil defeated. This is how the Christian’s story will end: God defeating all evil and putting everything to rights. Hallelujah!

Memorable Characters

There are SO many characters in this book and it’s only the first out of twenty-two! The main hero, mouse Matthias, is a great role model. The fire in his heart and his determination cause him to rise from humble beginnings to fill the call of encourager and hero. He bravely takes on enormous tasks and courageously faces terrifying foes to achieve his goals. What’s even better is his goals and the journey they take him on are never for himself, but for the good of his abbey and every creature he meets along the way. There’s much to admire about Matthias.  

Well-Conceived Plot

Every time I read this book I’m amazed at how many twists and turns occur and how consistently new characters come into and play major roles in the story. Jacques weaves a captivating adventure!

Recommendation Note

There’s quite a bit of gruesome violence in this book and creatures die left and right—like I said, this book doesn’t shy away from the grim realities of warfare—but I will say it’s necessary and raises the stakes of the conflict and peril the creatures face.

Publication Order

Though you could read this series chronologically, reading in publication order is recommended because many books contain character and storyline references from previously published books.

  1. Redwall
  2. Mossflower
  3. Mattimeo
  4. Mariel of Redwall
  5. Salamandastron
  6. Martin the Warrior
  7. The Bellmaker
  8. Outcast of Redwall
  9. Pearls of Lutra
  10. The Long Patrol
  11. Marlfox
  12. The Legend of Luke
  13. Lord Brocktree
  14. Taggerung
  15. Triss
  16. Loamhedge
  17. Rakkety Tam
  18. High Rhulain
  19. Eulalia!
  20. Doomwyte
  21. The Sable Quean
  22. The Rogue Crew
Where to Find this Book: Amazon* or your local library!

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