MATTIMEO by Brian Jacques


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A third action-packed adventure about the forest creatures of Mossflower (1988)--a sequel to Redwall(1986). Again, Jacques groups his characters by species: peace-loving squirrels, otters, and mice led by doughty badger ConStance and warrior mouse Matthias; evil weasels and rats, whose wicked genius here is a fox, Slagar the Cruel. As before, Jacques also cleverly juggles vignettes from several concurrent narratives: the young of Redwall, kidnapped by Slagar, travel toward a dread kingdom where he plans to sell them as slaves; Matthias and his companions follow on a rescue mission; the animals left at Redwall defeat a hostile takeover attempt by ravens. And, again, Jacques tells a story full of not-too-graphic violence, humor, and beguiling domestic detail--especially the scrumptious food concocted for feast days. But while Jacques' writing flows more easily with each book and there are fewer logical glitches here, there is no more depth to this story than to its predecessors. For all its surface charm, it is wholly simplistic: not only characters but species are totally good or bad. A mixed message also persists: the creatures of Mossflower may say that ""Violence is never the answer,"" but the plot revolves around the need for it: ""Sometimes violence can be fair."" And though the good creatures value each other, they live in a class society in which the moles are quaintly servile and the loyal but unruly sparrows speak a sort of pidgin English. Still, a treat for Redwall's fans. Gary Chalk provides 55 agreeable miniature drawings as chapter heads.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1990
Page count: 446pp
Publisher: Philomel/Putnam