Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Brian Jacques
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Philomel, 2007   ISBN: 978-0399242090

Gorath is a large, strong, and young badger who lives in the Northern Isles with his elderly grandparents. The trio were shipwrecked on these unfriendly and inhospitable shores when Gorath was very young and they have been struggling to survive here ever since. It is a hard life but it gets worse when Vizka Longtooth and his vermin shipmates arrive. The raiders kill Gorath's grandparents and take him prisoner, treating the badger with great cruelty as they try to break his spirit.

When they reach the shores of Mossflower Country the villainous raiders decide to travel up the River Moss towards Redwall Abbey which they hope to pillage and take over. On the way they capture a young hedgehog called Orkwil Prink who just happens to be a Redwall Abbey animal. Orkwil manages to help Gorath to escape from his chains and together the unlikely pair head for Redwall to warn the animals living there of the coming danger. Matters are made even worse when a dangerous horde of Brownrats makes their way to Redwall as well. They too want to take the famous Abbey over and rob it of his goods.

Shrews, otters, and a very skilled young boxing hare from Salamandastron join the Abbey animals to defend their home, but there are so many enemies and so few defenders.

In this story Brian Jacques once again tells a gripping story which readers will quickly become caught up in. The characters are colorful, often funny, and beautifully realistic even though they are badgers, weasels, foxes, squirrels, moles, hares, and other animals. In particular Maudie the hare is a true delight with her highfaluting way of speaking and her boundless courage and good humor. As with all of the Redwall books, good does prevail over evil though there are, alas, some casualties along the way. The mystical elements that run through the book are very interesting and add a special something to the story. Redwall fans will be delighted with this nineteenth Redwall adventure.