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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Well before the Harry Potter phenomenon took flight, Brian Jacques solidified his place in the young adult fantasy canon with his wildly successful Redwall series. And like J. K. Rowling's Potter books, Redwall immediately found an a much wider audience -- legions of adult fans anxiously await each of Jacques's new releases.
Such broad appeal is a testament to Jacques's finely honed technique and hair-raising story lines, but also to his refusal to sugarcoat completely. While humor and cuteness are very much a part of his storytelling, Jacques's bad guys, always wonderfully evil, ensure that violence -- and with it, plenty of suspense -- are constants in his world.
Taggerung is the 14th novel to feature the woodland creatures of Redwall, and it's one of the master craftsman's finest. It tells the story of Deyna, an otter who, shortly following his birth, is kidnapped by a savage clan of vermin. The babe is taken from his loving Redwall home because the clan's leader -- the bloodthirsty ferret, Sawney Rath -- believes Deyna is their Taggerung, the chosen one destined to lead them to greater prosperity.
Fifteen seasons pass, and Deyna (now called Tagg) is a cunning hunter, but he has not adopted his "father's" lust for inflicting pain and torment on his fellow earth-dwellers. This unsettling "weakness" has not gone unnoticed by Sawney Rath. When Sawney commands Tagg to skin an old fox alive, Tagg refuses, decides he's had enough, and abandons the clan and the only family he's ever known. Outraged, Sawney bolts after Tagg, but his anger blinds him to other dangers. Orchestrated by the devious fox-Seer Grissoul and the power-hungry stoat Antigra, Antigra's son, Zann, becomes the clan's puppet leader and sets off with a vicious band of assassins to capture the crown, which Zann cannot officially own while Tagg lives. A sometimes bloody, often funny, and consistently engrossing story ensues.
Imaginative and exquisitely drawn, Taggerung is a tremendous addition to Jacques's series. Newcomers and seasoned fans alike will be thoroughly entertained. (Andrew LeCount)