Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Long Patrol

The Long Patrol

Brian Jacques
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 1998   ISBN: 039923165X

More than anything Tamello, a hare of the very well respected Tussock family, wishes to be a member of the famous hare Long Patrol of Salamandastron. It is his mother who decides that the time has come for her son to leave home and hearth and set out for Salamandastron, hopefully to begin training for the patrol. Tammo’s mother puts her son in the care of a wily and very wise squirrel called Russa Nodrey and the two set out on a journey which leads them down many paths and through many adventures.

It is not long before they find themselves in the middle of a very serious and somewhat terrifying conflict. A group of fierce and terrible vermin, the Rapscallion horde led by Damug Warfang the rat, are moving inland seeking settlements to plunder. This horde and the hares of Salamandastron, sent and led by the great badger Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, are fated to meet. Tammo is eager to be a Long Patrol Hare but he soon discovers that being a warrior is much harder than he imagined it would be.

Added to this already complicated situation is the fact that Redwall Abbey is also threatened by the Rapscallion horde. The south wall of the great abbey is collapsing and without that fortification to protect it the Abbey will be very vulnerable should the horde attack.

With his usual skill and obvious love of storytelling Brian Jacques weaves a delightful story full of all the elements that we have come to expect in his books; there is love, hate, revenge, war, peace, friendship, betrayal, and much more. Perhaps best of all, we are able to watch the loveable hare Tammo grow up. We see him learn that battle and fighting is a terrible thing, that seeing and inflicting death is terrible. We can rejoice that he does what has to be done but at the same time that he wishes it were not necessary. Tammo grows to appreciate that there is more to life than being a hero and that there is much to be said for living in peace with those that you love.