The otters of Green Isle have long been enslaved to the Wildcat Riggu Felis and his catguards, who torture the otters at every opportunity. The otters trudge on, waiting for the day their savior will arrive--the prophesized High Rhulain, who will lead them in battle and a return to glory. Meanwhile, young Tiria Wildlough, an ottermaid at Redwall Abbey, pines for her chance to learn the ways of the warrior,much against the wishes of her father. But when an injured osprey arrives at the Abbey, seeking help for its wounds and carrying tales of an embattled clan of otters, young Tiria knows what she must do. . . .
The latest tale of Redwall from New York Times bestselling writer Brian Jacques is an empowering story of adventure and heroism sure to keep readers riveted through the final page.
Gr 6 Up-The "Redwall" saga continues with a book that can stand entirely on its own. Tiria is a young ottermaid with amazing skill with rock and sling. She lives in Redwall with her father and the entire cast of beloved characters from earlier novels. When she starts to dream of a place called Green Isle and Martin the Warrior, she realizes that she is destined to go on a quest and follow in the steps of the High Rhulain, an otter queen. The book alternates between Tiria's adventures, her friends working on word puzzles back home to help her, and the hardships of the otters who live on Green Isle where they are slaves to a group of cats. Jacques combines action, poetry, songs, courage, and vivid descriptions to create a unique style. His characterizations are complex and show multiple sides of both adult and younger personalities. The pacing is well handled, especially in a book with three story lines that entwine. As with the other volumes, there is sacrifice, death, and bloody battles galore. Readers familiar with the series will relish returning to the Abbey. Those new to the Redwall universe will be looking for the previous titles to learn more about Martin the Warrior and Salamandastron.-Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 26, 2007
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Excerpt from High Rhulain by Brian Jacques
In the woodlands south of Redwall Abbey, other young creatures were abroad that day: a small gang of water rats, eight in all, headed by one Groffgut. Leaving the larger vermin bands, they had wandered up country, seeking any opportunity to plunder, kill or cause terror. This was done in the hope of establishing themselves as a feared vermin band. Thus far they had made patchy progress, but Groffgut's confidence was growing daily.
Warm noontide sun slanted through the trees onto a quiet streambank. Some of the rats lay about by the shallows, fishing the limpid waters, whilst others foraged for nests with eggs in. Groffgut disdained such menial tasks, letting the others do all the chores. By virtue of his size, strength and quick temper, he was the chief. Stretched flat out, he gazed over the bump of his paunchy gut, idly watching the blue-grey campfire smoke blending amid sun shafts.
One of his minions, Hangpaw, limped up from the shallows, displaying a small perch dangling from a line. "Yeherr, Chief, lookit, I gorra fish!"
Groffgut was not impressed. "Yarr, s'only a likkle 'un. Stick it onna fire, an' go an' catcher some big 'uns."
An excited whoop rang out from farther up the bank. "Yaggoo! Cumm an' see dis, mates, I gorra h'eagle!"
Groffgut heaved his bulk up irately. "Wot's dat Frogeye shoutin' about now?"
Plugtail, another of the gang, came scurrying up. "Chief, Chief, Frogeye's catchered a h'eagle!"
Groffgut shoved him to one side. The rest followed him as he went to investigate, grumbling all the way. "Huh, shupid! Rats don't catcher h'eagles, don't dat ijjit know? It's h'eagles wot catchers rats!"
None of the gang had ever seen an eagle before, but there was no doubt that Frogeye had captured a big, fierce bird. It looked a lot like they imagined an eagle should look. Frogeye's lazy eye, the one that normally remained lidded over, was blinking up and down, exposing the milky-hued pupil, as the rat danced around, prodding and tripping his find with a crude, homemade spear. The wounded and exhausted bird stumbled forward, desperately trying to get at the life-sustaining streamwater.
Frogeye slammed his spearbutt into its body, toppling it backward, tail over crest. He laughed callously. "Yeeheehe! See, I told ya, didden't I? I catched a real live h'eagle all by meself!"
Groffgut drew his sword, which was in reality a broken scythe blade with a rope handle. Approaching the big bird, he stood on one of its half-spread wings, pinning the other with his blade as he inspected it. Had the bird not been injured or fatigued, any rat would have rushed for cover at the sight of it. Groffgut saw clearly that it was unable to resist. The bird's savage golden eyes were clouded and flickering shut, a stream of dried blood apparently having sealed its lethally hooked beak. The magnificent dark brown and white plumage stuck out willy-nilly after being battered for leagues across stormbound seas.
Groffgut gave the gang his verdict. "Aye, it's a h'eagle, shore enuff!"
Nobeast took the trouble to argue, though Hangpaw, a thin rat with a withered limb, ventured to enquire, "Wot's we s'posed ter do wid h'eagles?" Threetooth, who lacked all but three fangs, cackled. "Yer eats 'em, I think." His companion, Rashback, so named because of an unsightly mange, scratched vigourously at his scraggy tail. "I didden know ye could eat h'eagles!" Groffgut eyed him contemptuously. "Ye can eat anybeast once it's dead, turnep'ead!" Frogeye became huffy at not being consulted. "Hoi! Dis is my h'eagle, I catchered it. S'pose I duzzen't wanner eat it, eh?"
Groffgut pointed at Frogeye with his sword. "Tern around willyer, mate." Frogeye turned obediently, and Groffgut dealt him an enormous kick to the bottom, which knocked him flat.