Brian Jacques - English author best known for his Redwall series of novels, as well as the Tribes of Redwall and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. He also completed two collections of short stories entitled The Ribbajack & Other Curious Yarns and Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales.
A young mouse named Matthias dreams of times of adventure rather than a life of quiet servitude, but he is counseled to patience by his elders. Redwall is a fixture in the local community, set in the heart of Mossflower Woods, and was designed to be a place of refuge for the beasts of the forest in times of trouble.
Trouble arrives in the form of Cluny the Scourge, in the Summer of the Late Rose. Cluny is an evil, infamous rat, owning an extra-long tail with a poisoned barb on the end, and commander of a horde of vermin. He has only one eye, having lost the other in a battle with a pike. The foebeasts arrive at the beginning of the book and make their headquarters at the Church of St. Ninian, to the south of Redwall, with the intention of taking the Abbey for themselves.They conduct some conscription amongst the vermin in the woodlands. The Abbey inhabitants, who refuse to back down, make ready to defend themselves if necessary, especially since most of the inhabitants of the surrounding area are now within its walls. None of them are particularly martial, but Redwall folk, and indeed much of the Mossflower population, are generally described as slow to anger but fierce fighters when roused, and they are able to make an effective defense. Matthias, fearing that Cluny will still overrun them, begins a quest to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior, which is supposedly hidden somewhere within the Abbey, stored away for a time of need. He is helped particularly by Methuselah, an old and grizzled librarian mouse. Matthias is a brave-hearted young mouse, if small in stature, and as the story continues, his natural leadership abilities begin to emerge. Clues to the location of Martin's sword, as well as his shield and the sword's scabbard, have been built into the Abbey. Matthias recovers the latter two, and with Methuselah's help eventually divines where the sword is hidden. Unfortunately, it isn't there any longer, having been stolen by a wild sparrow tribe that dwells on the Abbey roof and then by an adder (snake) named Asmodeus, who appears throughout the novel to pick off wandering creatures. After killing the crazed Sparrow King, Matthias continues to the lair of the gigantic snake Asmodeus, acquiring several allies: Log-a-Log, the leader of a local band of shrews; Basil Stag Hare, wandering do-gooder and general cad, and Warbeak Sparra, the princess of the aforementioned sparrow tribe. He also befriends Captain Snow, an owl, and Squire Julian Gingivere, a cat. Matthias and Log-a-Log succeed in retrieving the sword from Asmodeus's cave (in the process killing the snake) and Matthias rushes back to Redwall to save his friends after being tipped off by the sparrows about the fall of the abbey.
Cluny, in the meanwhile, has been attempting a number of unsuccessful strategies to gain entrance to the Abbey. He has had to deal with traitors such as Sela the vixen and her son Chickenhound, who kills Methusaleh, and had also been seriously injured from a fall. When all else fails,such as a tunneling attempt, a siege tower, and a battering ram, he captures a family of dormice and forces Plumpen, the head of that family, to open one of the gates or his family will be killed. Plumpen complies but he is knocked unconscious by Cluny. However, his victory is short-lived; soon after he takes over the Abbey, Matthias returns. Matthias, his new allies, and the assembled Redwall population turn on their captors; Matthias himself takes on Cluny, and defeats him by crushing him under the Abbey's bell, called the Joseph bell. However, a great deal of damage is done and there are many casualties. Abbot Mortimer, who was inflicted by Cluny's poisoned barb, dies after proclaiming Matthias Warrior of Redwall and Brother Alf the new Abbot of Redwall.
Words- adventurous, tasty, mystery, clues, heroic, leadership, history, courage, a sense of home and safety.
The protagonist seeks to find the sword of the hero Martin so he may be able to save the Abby.
The antagonist wishes to control all of Mossflower and enslave all other animals.
"By the moonlight, on the hour,
In my threshold space lay me.
Watch the beam reflect my power,
Unite once more my sword with me.
I -- am that is, stand true for all.
O warrior mouse, protect Redwall." The Rhyme on the Back of the Door
"Fur and whisker, tooth and claw,
All who enter by our door.
Nuts and herbs, leaves and fruits,
Berries, tubers, plants and roots,
Silver fish whose life we take
Only for a meal to make." Grace, said by Abbot Mortimer at his Jubilee Feast
This book is from my childhood and has continued to capture my imagination.