by Brian Jacques

Paperback, 1998





Ace (1998), Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages


When the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.


Original publication date

1986 (Original)
2006 (Russian translation)

Physical description

352 p.; 4.2 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member JBD1
I've read this book at least twenty times, if not more. The first time must have been around 1990 or so; I remember getting it from the library and starting to read it each night with my mom, and then getting too impatient and reading it on my own. Naturally I got obsessed with the series, and read
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many of them (most multiple times).

One of the scenes here was probably the first time a book ever made me cry (the death of my favorite character), and Jacques' characters here became just as real as anything to me as I read and reread his masterpieces. As I've gotten older, they've become a staple of my recommendations to parents looking for stories to read with their children.

Simply brilliant.
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LibraryThing member bibliophyte
I love this book. I know it's a children's book and almost 25 years old and everyone but me has probably already read it. But I just have to say how much I love it anyway. This series is one I've been meaning to read since I first discovered it on the library's shelves at age 8. How has it taken me
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this long to get around to reading it?? Oh well, better late than never, right?

First of all, I adore the characters. Matthias is lovable and you can't help but pull out your "Go Matthias!" banner every time he gets into trouble (which is quite frequently); Abbott Mortimer is the gentle and wise counselor we all wish we had (who I also refer to as "the original Dumbledore"); Constance is the feisty badger with a big mouth who always has her friends' backs; and Brother Methuselah is the oldest inhabitant of Redwall, a scholar and keeper of records, who defies his age by helping Matthias in his quest to find the sword of Martin the Warrior. These are just a few of the charming characters from Redwall Abbey and surrounding Mossflower forest who it's inevitable you'll be quite attached to by the end of the book. There are quite a few definitely-not-charming characters in this book as well, who add dimension and contrast with the defenders of Redwall. I was honestly surprised by how truly evil Cluny the Scourge is, feeding off of the pain and misery he inflicts on those around him. Being most often classified as Children's Fiction, I expected a nasty rat but not one who is so blatantly cruel. I'm glad he isn't a namby-pamby villain, though, because that would have annoyed me to no end as well as potentially ruined the book's flavor and plot. Also, this book does not represent a simplistic world composed of "good" and "evil"; instead, it consists of many shades of grey, and characters do not always make choices consistent with their assumed status of "good" or "bad". In addition, there are multiple villains, each being a "villain" for different reasons; one of them is such simply because his perspective and way of life is different, in conflict with that of the rest of the woodlanders'. I appreciated these subtleties, especially since children's literature tends to be full of rather worn out, overly moralistic and cliched perspectives on good and evil. This was refreshing and one reason, I believe, that this book can be enjoyed by such a wide range of readers.

This book is most certainly an adventure story with the reader frequently switching perspectives between Cluny and his army, Matthias and his quest, and the Abbey's defenders. I greatly enjoyed the style of narration; it keeps things moving, though doesn't switch perspectives too quickly, and gives enough detail to really be absorbed into the story and its environment, though not so much that a young reader will feel overwhelmed. Some people have remarked that they don't like the slightly meandering story line, but for me, it is reminiscent of The Hobbit and quite delicious. I love the little side adventures and details that are not strictly "relevant" to the plot because I feel they add to the overall mythology of Redwall, which is very important if you're going to go on and read the rest of the series. This is a book that can truly be enjoyed by readers of all ages, as well as the perfect selection for reading aloud. I hope to acquire these books sometime soon and enjoy them again in future, perhaps with my son, who I will make sure is acquainted with Redwall Abbey and the many adventures that concern it at a somewhat younger age than I am now.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
I tried. Got as far as the end of "Book One" at page 97 before deciding this one wasn't for me. I think for two reasons. The first being the style seemed clunky to me and the dialogue cheesy. It's an omniscient narrative but without personality, humor or charm. Granted, this novel was written to be
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a children's book. But so was The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Watership Down, Narnia, The Last Unicorn and The Sword in the Stone and that doesn't keep them from being compelling reads for an adult. The other reason is this is one of those books where the characters are animals. The kind where animals wear clothing and pretty much act like people. The rabbits of Adams, the unicorn of Beagle and the dragons of McCaffrey, Lackey and Novik feel just alien enough to not strike me as humans in different clothing. The mice, badgers and otters of Redwall Abbey and their rat foes are a different matter. Moreover, in Redwall the scale isn't clear enough or the reader oriented well enough to know if the characters are animal-shaped people or talking animals in a human world. I found what I read of the book tedious, slow-moving, and lacking in striking lines, original ideas or memorable characters. I suspect I might have loved this book when I was ten years old. Problem is that was decades ago...
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LibraryThing member elahrairah
So many questions. Like, why are some species just bad and others are good? Why are some of their things human sized but others animal sized - wny do they use human sized dishclothes but animal sized clothes, or animal sized crockery and pots but acorn-cups. What is the relgion of the animals that
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makes the abbey so important? What are they monks of? Why isn't it mentioned? Why is the abbey human-sized on the outside but animal sized inside? Where are the humans? Why are all the bad animals foreign even though they're native? Why are all the good helper animals working class but the good leader animals well-spoken? Sometimes you read a book and have questions and you think, I must read the next one to find out... this one I dread reading the next one because I guess that the author didn't intend for any of these questions to happen, he just didn't think about it and all his prejudices fell out in the text. Nonsense on stilts. At least it was well plotted, but I wouldn't let my kids read this in case they absorbed all the nonsense. Gary Chalk's illustrations the best bit!
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LibraryThing member kristilabrie
My all-time favorite series in elementary school. Jacques paints such a clear picture, and I loved all of the different dialects for the animals; the classic battles between good and evil where good always prevails. Great childhood reading.
LibraryThing member elahrairah
Honestly, I hated this. When the mouses were eating apples, were these tiny mouse-sized apples or normal sized apples? Why do some wear clothes but not others? Why are some anthropomorphic but not others? Why are some human-created things human-sized but some are mouse-sized? Why are some predator
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and prey species happy to hang out together, but not others? Is this set in our world or a complete different reality?
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LibraryThing member Mtnpersei
Cluny the Scourge, is mean, evil, vicious, a real rat and he has come to Redwall Abbey. Matthias knows if he can just find Martin the Warrior's sword, and a tiny bit of courage, he can rescue the abbey from the terrors of Cluny
LibraryThing member Eric420blaze
It's an amazing book about a small mouse named Matthias who admires an old past warrior named Martin.
LibraryThing member pbandy
A perfect book and series to enthrall a young reader. Does not offer the depth of symbolism or the allegorical complexity of other fantasy novels written for similar audiences. However, comparing the Redwall series to the His Dark Materials series is unfair as each have their own goals. Redwall
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isn't meant to expose some greater truth or dive into debate over some greater cause, it is an adventure with heroes and villains. The heroes are just mice and badgers, while the villains are rats and foxes. The story is fun and enthralling and a perfect introduction to a massive fantasy world. If you are looking to get a young person reading then this novel will most assuredly spark the interest of the youngster and hook them into a series with many sequels.
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LibraryThing member highlyelven
This book is about mice, moles, voles, hares, otters and badgers the main charecter is mouse named Mathias. This takes place when a evil rat named Cluny the scourge tries to invade their home redwall abbey
LibraryThing member virgo16
I loved this book. The first time I came asross it was when my fifth grade teacher read it to the class. By the time she finished reading the first few chapters it had me hooked. I came across it agian a few years later and decided to reread it. It still had me enchanted. All the characters have
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left huge impression on me. I don't think it really maters how old you are you'll find this book and all its other sequals an enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
This is the first book in the Redwall series. Although it was a DNF for me, it was beautifully written and I can understand how it is a beloved classic for many people...which is why I gave it 4 stars despite not finishing it. I read the first 100 pages of the book and just could not get into the
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I’ll state right off the bat that I am not a huge fan of animals as humans (anthropomorphism) types of fantasy novels. While this book is beautifully written, I just didn’t enjoy the fact that all the characters are animals of different types.

This book also moves very slowly; it is written in an old school fantasy style and creeps along. The story itself is also a very typical fantasy story: peaceful society gets attacked by an evil person and one unlikely person/animal stands up to help the situation. Given the pace and the typical plot I had trouble staying engaged and kept finding a million other things to do rather than read this book...which is how I knew it just wasn’t for me.

As I said this story does have its good points. The world is beautifully created and the writing is very lyrical. Many of the characters are incredibly lovable and cute.

Overall this just wasn’t for me. I think younger readers might enjoy it more. The plot was just too predictable, the pace too slow, and I struggled to stay engaged in the story and kept finding other things to do rather than read this story. I am not a big fan of anthropomorphism types of stories so that was part of the issue as well.
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LibraryThing member feeroberts64
Redwall by Brian Jacques is the first installment of the series Redwall. Redwall Abbey is home to peaceful mice, and other woodland creatures. When their abbey is threatened by Cluny the Scourge, the peaceful residents of Redwall Abbey have to defend, and fight for what they hold dear.

I absolutely
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adored this story! The creatures came to life on the pages, and the world building is quite beautiful. This story grabbed me, and wouldn't let go. There were moments when I laughed out loud, and there were moments when my heart was broken. There were a few grammatical errors, but did not hinder my flow of reading at all. This is a wonderful middle grade fantasy story; I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member debnance
It’s the rare book that my sons have recommended to me...the rare book whose author I have actually met and heard speak and adored...the rare book that is on hundreds of Must-Read lists...the rare book that has all these things going for it and yet remains on my TBR heap.

I was finally motivated
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to pull it out of the pile and give it a thorough read when my 1001 Children’s Books list chose it for a group read in February.

Why, why, why, I thought as I finished the last page, why didn’t I read this one with my sons? And is it too late to propose a readaloud with them at ages 27 and 30?

Don’t make the same mistake I did. It’s a story that will be fabulous as a readaloud with your children, even if they are too old to actually sit in your lap. Do it now. I urge you. You will not regret it.
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LibraryThing member gavin10
The novel, Redwall, encompasses that the good will always prevail. In the beginning, Mathias, the protagonist, struggles with the fact that he is a born warrior in a time of peace and he has trouble holding his warrior self back. Throughout the middle, he perseveres in becoming a warrior of honor
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and justice through the new war that has just occurred when his home, Redwall, is attacked by the terrible Cluny the Scourge.
(117/352 pages)
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LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
Chronically Book 9 of 18 published in The Redwall Series. For someone like myself who has a minor phobia of mice, rats and snakes this was perhaps, not the best choice of reading material. The master villain is Cluny the Scourge, a thoroughly evil, one eyed, warlord. ‘His long ragged black cloak
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was made of batwings, fastened at the throat with a mole skull’ (Jacques, 1990, p.57). He arrives in the tranquil woods with his wagonful of five hundred rats and proceeds to lay siege to the peaceful inhabitants of Redwall Abbey. The names of his captains amused me ‘With the tip of his standard Cluny signalled his captains. Darkclaw, Frogblood, Fangburn, Cheesethief, Scumnose, and Mangefur scrambled into their positions (Jacques, 1990, p. 285).

Matthias the mouse is a clumsy young novice at the medieval Abbey which is dedicated to peace. He learns that he must help to defend the Abbey against the onslaught or all of his friends will be slaughtered and the Abbey occupied by hordes of rats. ‘Matthias gradually learns that, sometimes, it is virtuous to defend oneself and those one loves’ (Kilpatrick, W., et al., 1994, p. 227). His friend Methuselah and Constance the Badger are key figures who help all they can along with the compassionate and courageous Cornflower who tells Matthias ‘Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep’ (Jacques, 1990, p. 71). Matthias sets out on a quest to recover a sword that belonged to the ancient defender of Redwall, Martin the Warrior. On this quest he battles the insane sparra King Bull, the evil poisontooth snake Asmodeuss, and teams up with the Guerrilla Union of Shrews.

This was the first book that Brian Jacques ever wrote. He has since written more in the series that are chronologically older than this book, hence this book being number nine in the sequential order. His writing is very witty, humorous and insightful, a true good verses evil adventure with much fighting and plotting. There are many ghastly deaths in this book and it can be quite violent at times so squeamish readers should be aware of this before beginning.
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LibraryThing member emilycsims
This was the first fantasy novel I ever read, and I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It was so easy to accept animals as the main characters, I hardly noticed it. It's a traditional adventure tale, cloaked in fur. Redwall is a great read for middle schoolers or teens who think they don't
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like books!
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LibraryThing member citygirl
This is the first in a children’s fantasy series starring rodents: some are just too adorable and some--well, one in particular--are quite terrifying. An order of mice live peacefully and productively in Redwall Abbey. At one time they were an order of warriors, but long peace has rendered the
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art of war obsolete, so they just help people, I mean woodland creatures. Until. One vicious, power-hungry, rage-filled, carnage-minded rat threatens them. I really like it so far. I think I will continue with the series.
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LibraryThing member harpua
This was an enjoyable read. Typical fantasy fare with a twist. Most everyone probably already knows the premise of this one. World filled where animals are the main characters. Here we have an abbey filled with mice and other woodland characters that come under siege by a army of rats. Multiple
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standard fantasy themes all wrapped up into one novel. We have a coming of age story, finding the lost artifact story as well as plenty of battle scenes. It is interesting how Jacques picks his heroes and villains, they fit the stereotype that at least I have, of a lot of animals. While this isn't classic literature, it was a fun read and I think most adults and teens would enjoy, though there is quite a bit of death that I suspect that this may not have been targeted at the younger audience like it seems to typically be labeled. Good stuff, looking forward to further books in the series.
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LibraryThing member slarsoncollins
I got this book, thinking it might be good for my 7 year old to read. Not quite yet. It's a little bit violent, I think, for him. Maybe in a year or so. Loved the story. Great character development, the plot was fantastic and the descriptions were marvelous. Though geared toward the younger crowd,
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this is certainly a book that the young at heart will enjoy as well. I look forward to continuing the series.
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
Matthias, a mouse who is a novice at Redwall Abbey, embarks on a quest to find the ancient sword of the Order's founder, Martin the Warrior, when Redwall is attacked by an evil army of rats, weasels, stoats, and other vermin.

This is a childhood favorite. My parents gave it to me for Christmas, wow,
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over 15 years ago, and I was totally uninterested in it (what? I'd never even heard of it!) until they started reading it to me in the evenings before I went to sleep. Then I became slightly addicted for some time and bought every book in the series until recently. The most recent one I have is Triss, I believe, and all but the last two(ish) are in hardback.

I haven't read Redwall in probably about 8 years. Now that I can look beyond the adventure and pay attention to other aspects of the book, there are many flaws - for instance, are the animals the size of animals, or are they the size of people? It seems to go back and forth, depending on the situation.

Regardless of the flaws, I still enjoyed reading it, both for nostalgia and as a fun and exciting story.
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LibraryThing member Louise_Waugh
not sure about this one. More death and gore than I expect in modern juvenile fiction. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, though.
LibraryThing member Ameliaiif
I had a giant-size crush on Matthias when I was little. He is one hot little mouse!!What am I talking about?! I *STILL* have a giant-size crush on Matthias!
LibraryThing member 06nwingert
Redwall was the series. It came along before Harry Potter. I liked the idea: using mice and other animals in a fantasy series that parallels most generic fantasy series, however, I couldn't get into it.
LibraryThing member Yehudit
This wonderful tale of a bumbling youngmouse who throughout the book matures and becomes a hero is not only an excellent story but has heavenly descriptions of food. I get hungry every time I read this book...

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