Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Rogue Crew

The Rogue Crew

Brian Jacques
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2011   ISBN: 978-0399254161

Most creatures have good qualities as well as qualities that are, shall we say, less desirable. This is not the case with Razzid Wearat the corsair, who is evil and cruel from the tips of his ears to the end of his tail. Razzid sails on seas and oceans with his vermin crew, robbing and killing any poor beasts that he encounters.

Though he is warned that it such a trip could be very dangerous, Razzid sails to the High North Coast to raid and plunder. Instead of finding defenseless creatures who cannot fight back, Razzid encounters Skor Axehound and his Rogue Crew, and the sea otter warriors demonstrate to great effect that it does not pay to underestimate them. Razzid and his ship the Greenshroud are badly injured and they barely get away.

While Razzid recovers from his wounds, his vermin crew rebuild the Greenshroud, and this time they equip the ship with wheels as well as sails. The Greenshroud will be able to roll across the land as well as sail upon water.

This is exactly what the ship does when Razzid sails up to Salamandastron, the mountain where the hares of the Long Patrol live with their leader, Lady Violet Wildstripe. In the dead of night, Razzid’s crew members attack a small group of young hares who are keeping watch on the beach. From the deck of the Greenshroud they fire arrows at the young hares, and then run them over with their huge wheels. Infuriated by this cowardly act, Lady Violet sends a group of her Long Patrol hares to meet with Skor Axehound and to ask for his help in defeating Razzid.

After attacking Salamandastron, Razzid is determined to avenge himself on Skor Axehound and his warriors until he is persuaded, via devious means, to turn his attention to a softer target. He is told that a place called Redwall Abbey would make a perfect base of operations because it is well built and full of “loot.”

Meanwhile, at Redwall Abbey, a greedy young hedgehog called Uggo has a terrifying dream, and in it he sees a ship sailing towards Redwall Abbey. The ship has a

green sail that is marked with a “black fork” and two eyes. One of the Redwall creatures recognizes the description, and as a result Jum Gurdy the Cellardog decides to visit his Uncle Wullow to ask him if it could be possible that Razzid the Wearat might still be a threat to peaceful creatures. Did Skor Axehound kill the vermin captain, or is he still on the prowl?

It is not long before Jum, the Long Patrol hares, and Skor Axehound himself find out that Razzid is still very much alive, and that he plans on attacking Redwall Abbey. Somehow they have to do something to save Redwall, and the creatures who live there, before it is too late.

In this final Redwall book, Brian Jacques gives his readers yet another adventure that it peppered with evil vermin creatures, brave (and always hungry) hares, and loveable young animals who are called upon to serve their community in ways that tests their courage and determination. Readers who have followed the adventures of Brian Jacques’ characters through the years will be glad that they can share one last hurrah with his delightful mice, moles, hares, hedgehogs, and other creatures.