Animal warriors band together against innovative corsairs in this 22nd novel set in the richly detailed world of Redwall.
Scarred and psychotic Razzid Wearat and his mutinous crew wreak havoc along the coast, but when they head inland and overland on the Greenshroud—having equipped the ship with wheels—the Long Patrol hares, the ruthless Rogue Crew otters and the Guosim shrews must race to save Redwall Abbey. Grim warriors outnumber peaceful Abbey beasts, and there is far more fighting than feasting. The many battle scenes and deaths—of disposable pirates and high-spirited heroes—are graphic but not gratuitous, and the action sequences are carefully choreographed. In contrast to earlier books, the villain faces an ensemble rather than a strong protagonist, which might account for the narrative’s rapid scene changes. Despite their species-typical behavior, the characters are distinctive; the squabbling shrew Queen Dukwina and her lizard husband Empraking Dibby, well-shod Dandy Clogs and the gluttonous Wiltuds are particularly memorable. Though the plot, characters and setting resembles those of the previous 21 books, the multi-stranded plot demands attentive reading. The mouthwatering descriptions of food, the various dialects and the detailed settings also make for an immersive experience.
Familiar, perhaps formulaic, but a nonetheless rousing read from the late Jacques. (Animal fantasy. 9-12)