The Redwall Talesby Brian Jacques
With the publication of his first book in 1987, Redwall, Brian Jacques gave us an exciting swashbuckling fantasy in which the forces of good and those of evil came into conflict. He also brought us memorable characters with idealistic heroes and dastardly villains and a place of sanctuary for all that was good: the abbey of Redwall. The book was long and challenging but, as word spread among students in the upper elementary and middle schools, many previously reluctant readers devoured the book and became Redwall fans and demanded more. Fortunately new books were coming; first a trilogy and then the Redwall tales were born. Many websites on the Internet were developed which are devoted to Redwall clubs and activities. There are now twelve Redwall tales with more to come. Audiocassette versions have been made of many books in the series making it accessible for all levels of reading competence.
Because of the enthusiasm with which many readers greet the Redwall books, it is possible to use them as the basis of many worthwhile activities in the classroom. The books were not published in the same order of Redwall's history. This makes the tales even more useful in the literature program because it is not necessary that the books be read in any particularly order. Many of the suggested activities listed here can be used with any of the Redwall volumes. These activities bring in many areas of the curriculum.SYNOPSES
We have arranged the books below in chronological order according to the history of Redwall rather than in the order in which they were published. Although some characters appear in more than one book and Martin the Warrior appears either as an active character or in visions in all of them, the real sustaining character is Redwall Abbey itself. Redwall is a fortress and haven for small, peaceful creatures with a series of abbots and abbesses as spiritual leaders and warrior mice as defenders. The abbey stands at the edge of Mossflower woods and is often under attack by a series of dastardly villains and their hordes.
Martin the Warrior, Philomel, 1994 ISBN 0-399-22670-2; ACE, 1995 ISBN 0-441-00186-6
Martin, the mouse warrior, becomes the founder of the Abbey. Both his sword and his image in a tapestry become symbols and objects of various quests and battles throughout the Redwall tales. In this volume, we find that Martin is the son of Luke and is captured by a gang of vermin lead by Badrang the Tyrant. Badrang ties Martin on the beach to be devoured by vicious and hungry seagulls but Martin is rescued by Laterose the mousemaid and Grumm the mole. Later, the same pair rescues Martin again when he is cast into a pit by the evil Badrang. Martin organizes an army to defeat Badrang and survives to become the founder of Redwall Abbey.
Mossflower, Philomel, 1988 ISBN 0 399 21549 2; ACE, 1989 ISBN 0-441-00576-4
Mossflower was the second book published in the Redwall tales and is a prequel to the book Redwall. It is set in the time before Redwall was built and Mossflower was ruled by the warlord, Verdauga Greensleeves, a wildcat. Many weaker animals withdrew into the woods of Mossflower to escape his tyranny. A guerrilla group, the Corim, did its best to keep the wildcat forces contained. Verdauga grows ill and, in his final days, Martin the Warrior is brought before him. Verdauga's children, Gingivere and Tsarmina, offer conflicting advice as to what to do with Martin and compromise by casting him into a dungeon - but not before Tsarmina breaks Martin's sword. Tsarmina becomes Queen of Mossflower and Martin is rescued by the CORIM and goes in search of Boar the Fighter, a badger Lord, who will reclaim Mossflower.
Outcast of Redwall, Philomel, 1996 ISBN 0-399-22914-0; ACE, 1997 ISBN 0-441-00416-4
Young Veil, the ferret son of the evil warlord Swartt Sixclaw, has been abandoned as an infant and raised within the walls of Redwall Abbey by the kind-hearted Byrony. Despite concerns from every beast at Redwall, Byrony is convinced that the goodness within Veil will triumph. But when Veil commits an unforgivable crime, he is banished from the abbey forever. Now, when Swartt Sixclaw and his evil hordes attack Redwall, Veil is left with a difficult decision: Should he join Swart in a battle against Redwall and Byrony, the only creature who has ever loved him? Or should he turn his back on his true father?
Mariel of Redwall, Philomel, 1992 ISBN 0-399-22144-1
The fourth book to be published features Gabool the Wild, king of the sea rats as villain. Gabool has become king of all the sea ways with a vast fleet of captured ships. Then he captures the Periwinkle, a ship bearing Joseph the Bellmaker and his daughter Mariel who are on their way to Salamandastron to deliver a great bell to the badger lord. The two are taken prisoner and made to serve as slaves in Fort Bladegirt, Gabool's fortress. Later, after a failed attempt to kill Gabool, Mariel is cast into the sea to drown. Washed up on shore, Mariel is alive but has lost her memory. Rescued by the hares of the Long Patrol, an outland guard group, from a horde of toads, Mariel is brought to Redwall. There she recuperates and regains her memory. A sea rat crew led by Graypatch attacks Redwall, and Mariel sets out to rescue her father and slay Gabool the Wild.
The Bellmaker, Philomel, 1995 ISBN 0-399-22805-5; ACE, 1996 ISBN 0-441-00315-X
An elder of Redwall tells of a time when Castle Floret, a fortress far to the south of Redwall, had been overtaken by a band of foxes lead by Urgan Nagru, who wears a wolf skin, and his mate Silvamord. Mariel and her friend Dandin are off on an adventure and haven't been heard of for several seasons. At Redwall, Martin the Warrior appears in a dream to Joseph the Bellmaker, Mariel's father, telling him that he and four others will be going off on a quest but only four will return. Soon Joseph is off to defeat the diabolic foxwolf Nagru who has imprisoned Mariel and Dandin.
Salamandastron, Philomel, 1993 ISBN 0-399-21992-7; ACE, 1994 ISBN 0-441-00031-2
In this title, Urthstripe, the badger lord of Salamandastron, worries about two vermin, a ferret and a weasel, brought into the fortress by Mara, his youthful charge. When he sends them away, Mara runs away with them. They assure her that a life on her own is the most free but they lead Mara and her friend Pikkle into the clutches of Ferahgo the Assassin, who seeks the treasure of Salamandastron. Meanwhile, in Redwall Abbey, two stoats accidentally kill one of the order, Brother Hal, and steal the sword of Martin the Warrior.
Redwall, Putnam, 1987 ISBN 0-399-21424-0; ACE, 1998 ISBN 0-441-00848-9
This was the first book in the Redwall tales to be published and it remains the pivotal volume. The peaceful animals inside Redwall have vowed never to harm another creature except those who seek to destroy them. They are attacked by Cluny the Scourge, his horde of rats and other vermin. Cluny's cruelty extends to members of his own group as well as to his enemies. Matthias is a small and awkward mouse who is inspired by the image of Martin on an abbey tapestry. Matthias becomes leader of the defenders of Redwall, aided by Constance the Badger. It becomes important for Matthias to find the sword of Martin the Warrior and this involves a conflict with the sparrows who live on the roof of the abbey. There Matthias does battle with King Bull Sparra only to find that the sparrows no longer have Martin's sword. It is being kept by Asmodeus, an adder, and Matthias must do battle with him in order to get the sword. He does so and returns to Redwall to find that the rats are now inside the Abbey. There the climactic battle occurs.
Mattimeo, Philomel, 1990 ISBN 0-399-21741-X; ACE 1999 ISBN 0-441-00610-8
Mattimeo is the son of Matthias. Always in trouble, Mattimeo fights with Vitch, thought to be a friend of the abbey but in reality part of the army of Slagar the Cruel. Slagar, a fox, was exiled from Redwall after killing one of their number. Slagar and his army kidnap the dibbuns (the young) including Mattimeo of Redwall to hold for ransom. An enraged Matthias leads the army of Redwall to rescue them in the Realm of Malkariss. While they are off on that quest, Redwall is attacked by a group of vicious birds lead by Ironbeak.
Pearls of Lutra, Putnam, 1997 ISBN 0-399-22946-9; ACE 1998 0-441-00508-X
More of a treasure hunt than the other volumes in the tales, this volume offers several riddles for solving as well as the quest for treasure. Six pearls of unparalleled beauty, called the Tears of All Oceans, have been hidden by Fernald the Ancient before her death. Originally the property of a group of otters, all but one of whom were slain by Ublaz Mad Eyes, the pearls are hidden but each pearl bears a clue to the next one. Ublaz Mad Eyes is after the pearls and so are the inhabitants of Redwall. Meanwhile the Abbot of Redwall and the young mouse Viola are captured by the vermin and held to ransom for the pearls. Martin the second goes to rescue the Abbot and Viola as the search within Redwall is intensified.
The Long Patrol, Philomel, 1998 ISBN 0-399-23165-X; ACE 1999 ISBN 0-441-00599-3
The tenth book to be published, The Long Patrol gives us Tammo, a young hare determined to become part of the Long Patrol of Salamandastron from which his father is retired. Tammo becomes the captive of a group of the Rapscallions from which he is rescued by the Long Patrol. Allowed to join the group temporarily, Tammo becomes involved in their attempt to defeat the vermin lead by Greatrat. Greatrat is killed and succeeded by his son Damug who casts his father's sword into the air to determine where the group will fight next. The sword is two sided with the wavy side representing the sea and the smooth side, the land. When it indicates that they should attack by land, Damug leads the group to attack Redwall. At Redwall, the south wall is sinking and the animals there are trying to determine the cause as Damug and his horde attack.
Marlfox, Philomel, 1999 ISBN 0-399-23307-5
A villainous new presence is aprowl in Mossflower Woods - the Marlfoxes. Stealthy, mysterious, they can disappear at any time, in any place, and they are out to plunder and destroy everything in their path. And when they reach Redwall Abbey? They ruthlessly steal the most precious treasure of all - the tapestry of Martin the Warrior. It takes Dann Reguba and Song Swifteye, children of warrior squirrels, to follow in their fathers' heroic footsteps, and together with the young shrew Dippler, and Burble the brave watervole, they embark on the seemingly impossible quest to recover the famous tapestry. Enemies and danger greet their every move as they make their way to the ominous island domain of the evil Marlfox leader, Queen Silth, and her children. They prove their own courage and worth and discover the hero's spirit that lives within each one of them.