Taggerung (Redwall Series #14)

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Overview

The Vermin Clan of Sawney Rath has long awaited their Taggerung-the chosenbeast who will lead them to victory against any foe. Now at last the seer Grissoul has foretold the Taggerung's birth: they will find him by the river, and know him by the birthmark on one paw.

But the marked beast that they discover is neither stoat nor fox nor rat, but an otterbabe! Nonetheless, the vermin take and raise him. It is only when the young otter steps into ...

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Overview

The Vermin Clan of Sawney Rath has long awaited their Taggerung-the chosenbeast who will lead them to victory against any foe. Now at last the seer Grissoul has foretold the Taggerung's birth: they will find him by the river, and know him by the birthmark on one paw.

But the marked beast that they discover is neither stoat nor fox nor rat, but an otterbabe! Nonetheless, the vermin take and raise him. It is only when the young otter steps into his famed and fearsome role that he senses something is wrong. Very wrong!

Is he the Taggerung after all? And if he is not, who is he?

In this, the fourteenth novel of the best-selling Redwall epic, Brian Jacques has created yet another unforgettable adventure tale, with a hero so surprising that even Redwall fans will come to expect the unexpected.

For ages 9 and above.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The 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)

Publishers Weekly
Redwall lovers, rejoice! The epic continues with Taggerung, the 14th book in Brian Jacques's popular series. An otter born in Redwall Abbey is kidnapped by members of an opposing clan who believe he is destined to be a great Taggerung, or warrior hero; Tagg later rebels against his adoptive tribe and goes in search of his true home. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"Redwall lovers, rejoice," said PW. An otter born in Redwall Abbey is kidnapped by members of an opposing clan who believe he is destined to be a great Taggerung, or warrior hero. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Another entry in the Redwall series, this novel follows a new character, an otter named Deyna who is kidnapped and later adopts the persona of the Taggerung, the chosen one of the vermin Juska clan. After the loss of her brother, Deyna's sister Mhera seeks diversion by following a series of clues, cast as riddles, which eventually lead her to accept the role as abbess of Redwall. Events continue to conspire to reunite the separated siblings in this tale of the nature of good and evil and the joy of redemption. The Taggerung is reunited with his family, and his tattoos identifying his adoptive clan are removed. For regular readers of the Redwall series, this is a quick-paced, enjoyable book despite its length. Since the main characters are all new to the series, readers who have not read previous books will also enjoy it. 2001, Philomel Books/Penguin Putnam,
— Peter von Marensdorff
VOYA
Things have been quiet around Redwall Abbey of late. Since the Abbess Song died many seasons ago, there has been no need for a replacement. Ruling through benign neglect as much as the force of her personality, the aging but still formidable Cregga Badgermum makes sure that all the chores get done on a daily basis. Moreover, there has been no need for a Champion, such as Martin the Warrior, although his sword still hangs in the Great Hall for use in time of need. It is a comfortable life for the creatures of the Abbey, secure behind their walls from the vermin that prowl the woods. Everyone is happy—at least until the otter Rillflag fails to return from introducing his newborn son, Deyna, to the nearby river. Unbeknownst to the Redwallers, the otter has been murdered and his son taken captive by Sawney Rath, a vicious ferret who leads one of the more dangerous vermin clans. Rath has decided that young Deyna is destined to become the Taggerung, or great leader of his clan, and he adopts the baby, hoping to turn the young otter into a monstrous copy of himself. This fourteenth Redwall novel is one of the longest, due in large part to the two separate and equally elaborate plot lines that Jacques must keep in motion. The Redwall plot features the author's trademark high good humor, scrumptious meals, and complex relationships, while the Taggerung plot line centers on Rath's increasing ferocity and Deyna's refusal to be corrupted by him. The two stories come together in the end in a satisfying if somewhat violent dénouement that should well please Jacques's legion of fans. Reviewer: Michael Levy
KLIATT
This is the 14th book in a much-loved fantasy/action series about a world of both brave and villainous animals. Here omens reveal that a Taggerung, a creature that is "a talisman of great power," has been born in Redwall Abbey. A band of vermin, "dry-land pirates," snatches this young otter. They raise him to be a warrior and a thief, but he takes off to seek his own adventures, with loyal friends at his side, and find his way back to Redwall Abbey. Lots of battle scenes, humor, British slang, and reversals of fortune here; as the prologue puts it, "Sadness and joy, comedy and tragedy, a good dose of rousing action." This volume can stand on its own, for those not yet acquainted with the series. For all libraries. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Here's book 14 in the Redwall dynasty, and Jacques shows no sign of flagging. As in the last book, the story is framed as a recounting of deeds of derring-do and high adventure. A baby otter is kidnapped by the vermin horde, whose leader believes him to be the epic hero Taggerung. As the otter grows, he runs away from his evil foster clan and, with the help of many good friends, particularly the harvest mouse Nimbalo, he finally makes his way home to Redwall. Supporting this plot are the two pillars of Redwall literature-food and those amazing accents. The English Public School hares, with their "laddie bucks" and "wots?" are of course fabulous, as are the nearly unintelligible moles and hedgehogs. Who can resist a story that is constantly carrying on about deeper'n'ever beet and hotroot pie, hot scones, and watershrimp soup? The fact that fans will devour this book is doubtless. As with all the other titles in the series, no prior knowledge of Redwall and its denizens is needed to ensure enjoyment. However, having read this one, new fans will undoubtedly be back for seconds and thirds.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Otters star in the 14th Redwall adventure (The Legend of Luke), holding the line against evil in their make-believe world. This time the wild vermin Juskarath believe a baby has been born that will become the "Taggerung," a legendary fighter who can empower their tribe. The baby belongs to domesticated otters at Redwall, so the Juskarath steal the cub. Raised as a savage, "Tagg" indeed becomes a fearsome warrior, but his virtuous nature triumphs over his barbarous nurturing and he refuses to kill. Tagg leaves the Juskarath and teams up with Nimbalo, a tough little fightin' mouse. The two trek about the land, making friends and battling evil. They're trailed by the menacing Juskarath until all meet at Redwall Abbey for the final showdown. Meanwhile, Tagg's sister Mhera and the old badgermum Cregga preside over the constant feasting at the Abbey, pondering puzzles until the otter family is reunited. Readers of all ages who enjoy fantasy can happily lose themselves in Redwall's cozy world, where they'll enjoy zestful fights, lengthy descriptions of scrumptious food, and endearing animals speaking in thick dialects. Jacques's characters vibrate with personality, and he clearly delineates the differences between a life of friendship and one of savagery. It's great fun, and not just for Redwall fans. (Fiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756911997
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: Redwall Series , #14
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,441,041
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian  Jacques
Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact. He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. His interest in adventure stories began at an early age with reading the books of: Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Kenneth Grahame. He attended St. John's School, an inner city school that had its playground on the roof. On his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. When given an assignment of writing a story about animals, he wrote about the bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth. The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten year old could write that well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then, that he realized that he had a talent for writing.

Some teachers at St. John's proved to be good role models. As Mr. Jacques recalls:

"My favourite teacher was Mr. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big Man. A Captain in World War II. He came to school on a big bush bike with the haversack on back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature. (Because of him, I saved seven shillings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop.)"

This interest in poetry extended to Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith. It was also at St. John's that Brian met a teacher, Alan Durband (who also taught two Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison), who, more than thirty years later would bring about a major change in his life.

After Brian finished school at fifteen, he set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman. He travelled to many far away ports, including New York, Valparaiso, San Francisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he returned to Liverpool where he worked as a railway fireman, a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D), a postmaster, and a stand-up comic.

Biography

The drawings that open the chapters in a Redwall book may look sweet, but Brian Jacques' fantasies are not for the faint of heart. Adventure, peril, betrayal, and downright slaughter abound in these hefty novels about the creatures -- mice, hares, moles, badgers, and sparrows -- who inhabit Redwall Abbey in medieval England.

Brian Jacques has had a life nearly as exciting as that of some of his characters: After dropping out of school in his native Liverpool at the age of 15, he traveled the world as a merchant seaman, visiting ports from America to Asia. Upon returning to England, he held a wide variety of jobs, from railway fireman to boxer among them. In the 1960s, he and his two brothers formed the Liverpool Fishermen, a folksinging group. Jacques also tried his hand as a playwright, producing several stage plays -- Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies, Scouse – about native Liverpudlians.

The Redwall stories, which were to earn him legions of fans, were born out of his time as a volunteer storyteller at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool. Jacques maintains that his detailed writing style was developed here; he was forced to be as descriptive as possible, so his audience would be able to experience his stories as if they could see. He created the first Redwall story as a gift to the children of the school, but never intended to publish it commercially. Fortunately for his many fans on both sides of the Atlantic, a friend sent his first manuscript to a publisher, and the rousing series took off in England in 1986 and in the U.S. the following year with Redwall.

Jacques takes issue with the notion that his books are "fantasy" fiction, a description that he says "smacks of swords and sorcery and dungeons and dragons. . . . I like to think of my books as old-fashioned adventures that happened ‘Once upon a time, long ago and far away.'"

The novels appeal generally to an audience of nine- to fifteen-year-olds, but have admirers both younger and older. The tales pivot on the conflict between good and evil; good invariably triumphs. Indeed, morality issues are always clear in Jacques' books: cruelty, greed, and avarice are eradicated in all forms; bravery, loyalty, and resourcefulness reap rewards aplenty. When it comes to characters, though, Jacques is less simplistic: Martin the Warrior, who through his courage and cunning rose to become the noblest hero in the land, is given to impetuousness, and the miscreant Cluny has both good and bad sides, a la Long John Silver.

For female readers, the Redwall books can be extra satisfying. His female creatures are as adventurous as the males: they don't faint into their male counterparts' arms, but explore, swashbuckle, and rescue on their own. In Mariel of Redwall (1991), the courageous girl mousechild Mariel, thrown overboard by the Gabool, leader of the evil pirate Searats, exacts her own brand of revenge.

Jacques' usually swift pace sometimes comes to a slogging halt with extraordinarily detailed descriptions of the legendary Redwall feasts, right down to the last acorn and drop of buttercup and honey cordial. But the author is redeemed by his delicate interweaving of subplots, his memorable menagerie, his rollicking sense of adventure, and his ability to transport the reader into an entirely different world, a world that, as one critic for The New York Times put it, "is both an incredible and ingratiating place, one to which readers will doubtless cheerfully return."

Good To Know

Brian Jacques wrote his books in longhand or on a manual typewriter, or, if the weather permits, outdoors.

Despite his success as an author, Jacques continued to broadcast the weekly radio show, Jakestown, that he hosted before he wrote the Redwall books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      June 15, 1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Date of Death:
      February 5, 2011
    2. Place of Death:
      Liverpool, England
    1. Education:
      St. John’s School, Liverpool, England
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

Chapter One

The clan of Sawney Rath could feel their fortunes changing, much for the better. Grissoul had predicted it would be thus, and the vixen was seldom wrong. Only that day the clan foragers had caught a huge load of mackerel that had strayed into the shallows of the incoming tide. Fires blazed in the scrubland beyond the dunes that evening, as the fish, skewered on green withes, blistered and popped over the flames. Sawney was not as big as other ferrets, but he was faster, smarter and far more savage than any stoat, rat, weasel, fox or ferret among his followers. Anybeast could lay claim to the clan leadership, providing they could defeat Sawney in combat, but for a long time none had dared to. Sawney Rath could fight with a ferocity that was unequaled, and he never spared the vanquished challengers. Sawney's clan were nomads, sixty all told, thieves, vagrants, vagabonds and tricksters who would murder and plunder without hesitation. They were Juska.

Many bands of Juska roamed the coasts, woodlands and byways, but they never formed a united force, each choosing to go its own way under a strong Chieftain. This leader always tacked his name on to the Juska title, so that Sawney's clan came to be known as the Juskarath. Though they were little more than dry-land pirates, Juska vermin had quite a strict code of conduct, which was governed by seers, omens and superstition.

Sawney sat beneath the awning of his tent, sipping a vile-tasting medication that his seer Grissoul had concocted to ease the stomach pains that constantly dogged him. He watched the clan, noting their free and easy mood. Sawney smiled as some of the rats struck up a song. Rats were easily pleased; once they had a full stomach and a flagon of nettle beer they would either sing or sleep. Sawney was only half watching the rats, his real attention focused upon the stoat Antigra. She lay nursing her newborn, a son called Zann. Sawney could tell Antigra was feigning slumber from the hate-laden glances she threw his way when she thought he was not looking. Sawney Rath's eyes missed very little of what went on around him. He pulled a face of disgust as he sniffed the mixture of feverfew and treacle mustard in the cup he held, and, spitting into the fire, he muttered the newborn stoatbabe's name.

"Hah, Zann!"

Grissoul the Seer stole up out of the gathering darkness and placed a steaming plate of food by his side. He glanced up at the vixen. She was an odd-looking fox, even for a seer. She wore a barkcloth cloak that she had covered in red and black symbols, and her brow, neck and limbs were almost invisible under bracelets of coral, brass and silver. About her waist she wore a belt from which hung a broad pouch and bones of all kinds. One of her eyes was never still.

Sawney tipped the plate with his footpaw. "Am I supposed to eat this mess?"

She smiled coaxingly. "Yar, 'tis the mackerel without skin or bone, stewed in milkweed and dock. Thy stomach'll favor it!"

The ferret drew from his belt a lethally beautiful knife, straight-bladed, razor sharp, with a brilliant blue sapphire set into its amber handle. Delicately he picked up a morsel of fish on the knife point, and tasted it.

"This is good. I like it!"

Grissoul sat down beside him. "None can cook for thee like I." She watched him eating awhile before speaking again.

"Th'art going to ask me about the Taggerung, I feel it."

Sawney picked a sliver of fish from between his teeth. "Aye. Have there been any more signs of the Taggerung?"

Antigra interrupted by leaping up and thrusting her baby forward at them. "Fools!" she shouted defiantly. "Can't you see, my Zann is the Taggerung!"

The entire camp fell silent. Creatures turned away from their cooking fires to see what would happen. Sawney stood up, one paw holding his stomach, the other pointing the knife at Antigra.

"If you were not a mother nursing a babe you would be dead where you stand. Nobeast calls Sawney Rath a fool!"

Antigra was shaking with rage. The baby stoat had set up a thin wail, but her voice drowned it out.

"I demand you recognize my son as Taggerung!"

Sawney gritted his teeth. Thrusting the dagger back into his belt he turned aside, snarling at Grissoul. "Tell that stoat why her brat cannot be called Taggerung!"

Grissoul stood between them, facing Antigra, and took a starling's skull, threaded on thin twine, from her belt. She swung it in a figure of eight until the air rushing through the eye and beak sockets made a shrieking whistle.

"Hearken, Antigra, even a long-dead bird can mock thee. Shout all thou like, 'twill not make thine offspring grow to be the Taggerung. You it is who are a fool! Can thou not see the omens are all wrong? Even though you call him Zann, which means Mighty One, he will never be the chosenbeast. I see all. Grissoul knows, take thou my word now. Go back to your fire and nurse the babe, and be silent, both of ye!"

Antigra held the newborn stoat up high, shaking the babe until it wailed even more loudly. "Never!" she cried.

Sawney winced as his stomach gave a sharp twinge. He turned upon the stoat mother, roaring dangerously, "Enough! You have heard my Seer: the omens are wrong. Zann can never be called Taggerung. Unless you want to challenge me for the leadership of the clan and change the Juskarath law to suit yourself, I command you to silence your scolding tongue and speak no more of the matter!"

He turned and went into his tent, but Antigra was not prepared to let the matter lie. Everybeast heard her shout after him: "Then you are challenged, Sawney Rath!"

His stomach pains immediately forgotten, the ferret Chieftain emerged from the tent, a half-smile hovering around his slitted eyes. Vermin who had seen that look before turned away. Only Antigra faced him as he asked quietly, "So, who challenges me?"

He saw the creature, even before Antigra replied, "Gruven, the father of Zann!"

Gruven stepped forth from the shadows. In one hefty paw he carried a small round shield, in the other a tall slim spear, its point shining in the firelight. He struck a fighting stance, his voice loud and clear.

"I challenge you, Sawney Rath. Arm yourself and face me!"

Sawney had always liked Gruven. He was a valuable asset to the clan. Big, strong, but not too intelligent. Sawney shook his head and smiled patronizingly.

"Don't do it, Gruven. Don't listen to your mate. Put the spear and shield down; live to see your son grow up."

Antigra whispered something to Gruven that seemed to embolden him. He circled away from her, jabbing the spear in Sawney's direction. "I'll live to see my son become Taggerung. Now fight like a Juska, or die like a coward!"

Sawney shrugged off the insult. "As you wish." He turned, as if to fetch his weapons from the tent, then half swung back, as though he had forgotten to say something to the challenger. "Oh, er, Gruven . . ."

There was a deadly whirr as the knife left Sawney's paw. Gruven coughed slightly, a puzzled look on his face, then fell backward, the blade buried in his throat up to its decorative handle. Sawney finished what he had been saying. "Don't ever hold your shield low like that, it's a fatal mistake. Grissoul, I'll see you in my tent."

Ignoring Antigra's wails, Sawney beckoned the vixen to sit beside him. "What have you seen?"

Grissoul emptied her bag of stones, shells and bones on the ground, nodding sagely. "See thou, my omens have fallen the same since the end of the last rain. Our Taggerung is born at last. There are other Juska clans abroad in the land, and any of these would deem it a great honor to count him as one of them. Such a beast is a talisman of great power. The Taggerung can change the fortunes of a clan. Nobeast is mightier; none can stand before a Taggerung. Long seasons have passed since such a warrior lived. Who would know this better than thee, Sawney, for was not thine own father the chosen one? Ah, those were glorious days. Our clan was the largest and most feared then. Everybeast had to bow their heads to your father. Zann Juskarath Taggerung! Can you not remember the respect he commanded wherever we went-"...

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Table of Contents

Book 1 The Babe at the Ford 1
Book 2 Fifteen Seasons On 65
Book 3 Deyna 275
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First Chapter

Chapter One

The clan of Sawney Rath could feel their fortunes changing, much for the better. Grissoul had predicted it would be thus, and the vixen was seldom wrong. Only that day the clan foragers had caught a huge load of mackerel that had strayed into the shallows of the incoming tide. Fires blazed in the scrubland beyond the dunes that evening, as the fish, skewered on green withes, blistered and popped over the flames. Sawney was not as big as other ferrets, but he was faster, smarter and far more savage than any stoat, rat, weasel, fox or ferret among his followers. Anybeast could lay claim to the clan leadership, providing they could defeat Sawney in combat, but for a long time none had dared to. Sawney Rath could fight with a ferocity that was unequaled, and he never spared the vanquished challengers. Sawney's clan were nomads, sixty all told, thieves, vagrants, vagabonds and tricksters who would murder and plunder without hesitation. They were Juska.

Many bands of Juska roamed the coasts, woodlands and byways, but they never formed a united force, each choosing to go its own way under a strong Chieftain. This leader always tacked his name on to the Juska title, so that Sawney's clan came to be known as the Juskarath. Though they were little more than dry-land pirates, Juska vermin had quite a strict code of conduct, which was governed by seers, omens and superstition.

Sawney sat beneath the awning of his tent, sipping a vile-tasting medication that his seer Grissoul had concocted to ease the stomach pains that constantly dogged him. He watched the clan, noting their free and easy mood. Sawney smiled as some of the rats struck up a song. Rats were easily pleased; once they had a full stomach and a flagon of nettle beer they would either sing or sleep. Sawney was only half watching the rats, his real attention focused upon the stoat Antigra. She lay nursing her newborn, a son called Zann. Sawney could tell Antigra was feigning slumber from the hate-laden glances she threw his way when she thought he was not looking. Sawney Rath's eyes missed very little of what went on around him. He pulled a face of disgust as he sniffed the mixture of feverfew and treacle mustard in the cup he held, and, spitting into the fire, he muttered the newborn stoatbabe's name.

"Hah, Zann!"

Grissoul the Seer stole up out of the gathering darkness and placed a steaming plate of food by his side. He glanced up at the vixen. She was an odd-looking fox, even for a seer. She wore a barkcloth cloak that she had covered in red and black symbols, and her brow, neck and limbs were almost invisible under bracelets of coral, brass and silver. About her waist she wore a belt from which hung a broad pouch and bones of all kinds. One of her eyes was never still.

Sawney tipped the plate with his footpaw. "Am I supposed to eat this mess?"

She smiled coaxingly. "Yar, 'tis the mackerel without skin or bone, stewed in milkweed and dock. Thy stomach'll favor it!"

The ferret drew from his belt a lethally beautiful knife, straight-bladed, razor sharp, with a brilliant blue sapphire set into its amber handle. Delicately he picked up a morsel of fish on the knife point, and tasted it.

"This is good. I like it!"

Grissoul sat down beside him. "None can cook for thee like I." She watched him eating awhile before speaking again.

"Th'art going to ask me about the Taggerung, I feel it."

Sawney picked a sliver of fish from between his teeth. "Aye. Have there been any more signs of the Taggerung?"

Antigra interrupted by leaping up and thrusting her baby forward at them. "Fools!" she shouted defiantly. "Can't you see, my Zann is the Taggerung!"

The entire camp fell silent. Creatures turned away from their cooking fires to see what would happen. Sawney stood up, one paw holding his stomach, the other pointing the knife at Antigra.

"If you were not a mother nursing a babe you would be dead where you stand. Nobeast calls Sawney Rath a fool!"

Antigra was shaking with rage. The baby stoat had set up a thin wail, but her voice drowned it out.

"I demand you recognize my son as Taggerung!"

Sawney gritted his teeth. Thrusting the dagger back into his belt he turned aside, snarling at Grissoul. "Tell that stoat why her brat cannot be called Taggerung!"

Grissoul stood between them, facing Antigra, and took a starling's skull, threaded on thin twine, from her belt. She swung it in a figure of eight until the air rushing through the eye and beak sockets made a shrieking whistle.

"Hearken, Antigra, even a long-dead bird can mock thee. Shout all thou like, 'twill not make thine offspring grow to be the Taggerung. You it is who are a fool! Can thou not see the omens are all wrong? Even though you call him Zann, which means Mighty One, he will never be the chosenbeast. I see all. Grissoul knows, take thou my word now. Go back to your fire and nurse the babe, and be silent, both of ye!"

Antigra held the newborn stoat up high, shaking the babe until it wailed even more loudly. "Never!" she cried.

Sawney winced as his stomach gave a sharp twinge. He turned upon the stoat mother, roaring dangerously, "Enough! You have heard my Seer: the omens are wrong. Zann can never be called Taggerung. Unless you want to challenge me for the leadership of the clan and change the Juskarath law to suit yourself, I command you to silence your scolding tongue and speak no more of the matter!"

He turned and went into his tent, but Antigra was not prepared to let the matter lie. Everybeast heard her shout after him: "Then you are challenged, Sawney Rath!"

His stomach pains immediately forgotten, the ferret Chieftain emerged from the tent, a half-smile hovering around his slitted eyes. Vermin who had seen that look before turned away. Only Antigra faced him as he asked quietly, "So, who challenges me?"

He saw the creature, even before Antigra replied, "Gruven, the father of Zann!"

Gruven stepped forth from the shadows. In one hefty paw he carried a small round shield, in the other a tall slim spear, its point shining in the firelight. He struck a fighting stance, his voice loud and clear.

"I challenge you, Sawney Rath. Arm yourself and face me!"

Sawney had always liked Gruven. He was a valuable asset to the clan. Big, strong, but not too intelligent. Sawney shook his head and smiled patronizingly.

"Don't do it, Gruven. Don't listen to your mate. Put the spear and shield down; live to see your son grow up."

Antigra whispered something to Gruven that seemed to embolden him. He circled away from her, jabbing the spear in Sawney's direction. "I'll live to see my son become Taggerung. Now fight like a Juska, or die like a coward!"

Sawney shrugged off the insult. "As you wish." He turned, as if to fetch his weapons from the tent, then half swung back, as though he had forgotten to say something to the challenger. "Oh, er, Gruven . . ."

There was a deadly whirr as the knife left Sawney's paw. Gruven coughed slightly, a puzzled look on his face, then fell backward, the blade buried in his throat up to its decorative handle. Sawney finished what he had been saying. "Don't ever hold your shield low like that, it's a fatal mistake. Grissoul, I'll see you in my tent."

Ignoring Antigra's wails, Sawney beckoned the vixen to sit beside him. "What have you seen?"

Grissoul emptied her bag of stones, shells and bones on the ground, nodding sagely. "See thou, my omens have fallen the same since the end of the last rain. Our Taggerung is born at last. There are other Juska clans abroad in the land, and any of these would deem it a great honor to count him as one of them. Such a beast is a talisman of great power. The Taggerung can change the fortunes of a clan. Nobeast is mightier; none can stand before a Taggerung. Long seasons have passed since such a warrior lived. Who would know this better than thee, Sawney, for was not thine own father the chosen one? Ah, those were glorious days. Our clan was the largest and most feared then. Everybeast had to bow their heads to your father. Zann Juskarath Taggerung! Can you not remember the respect he commanded wherever we went-"

Sawney cut the Seer off impatiently. "Cease your prattle about my father. I know how great he was, but he's long dead and gone. Tell me more of this new Taggerung. How do you know he's born, and where do we find him?"

The vixen studied a single speedwell flower, which she had picked earlier that day. It was pale pink, with three fat petals and one thinner than the others. She smiled slyly.

"My visions tell me a mark shaped like this little blossom will be upon him, or maybe her, for who can tell if Taggerung be male or female?"

Just then a weasel called Eefera entered and gave Sawney his knife back, cleaned of blood traces. Sawney dismissed Eefera and placed the blade lightly against the Seer's nose.

"You said any clan would deem it an honor to count him as one of them. The Taggerung will be a male creature. Stop playing your little games and get on with it!"

Grissoul turned the knifeblade aside with one paw. "He will have the speedwell mark on him, where I know not. See thou these two bones, fallen next to each other, with this shell across the ends of both? That means a river, or a stream, and the shell is for a place where those who dwell not in the waters may cross the stream. Do thou see it also?"

Sawney nodded. "That means a ford. The long path from north to south has such a ford, where the stream crosses it in Mossflower country, a good five-day march from here."

Grissoul closed her eyes, swaying back and forth. "Today I saw a hawk strike a dove in the air. Their cries mingled, and they gave out together a bell-like sound."

Sawney gave a start. "You mean the old Abbey of Redwall! That's the only place that gives out bell sounds in all that region!"

The Seer kept her eyes shut. "Methinks that would be it."

Sawney grabbed Grissoul's shoulder so tightly that her eyes popped open. He pulled her close, his voice like a rasp. "Speak not to me of Redwall. I would not go within a mile of it. I have listened to the talk around the campfires since I was nought but a whelp. The place is accursed!"

He released the quivering vixen and gestured dramatically. "I am not stupid. The history of Redwall Abbey has taught me a lesson. I know how many warlords and conquerors, with vast hordes and mighty armies to back them, have been defeated by the woodlanders who dwell behind those walls. Even in the seasons long before our great-grandsires' ancestors were born. You've heard their names, everybeast has. Cluny the Scourge, Slagar the Cruel, Ferahgo the Assassin, and many others. All of them defeated and slain. But I'll tell you one name that won't be added to the list. Sawney Rath, Chieftain of the Juskarath!"

Grissoul spoke soothingly to calm Sawney's rising ire. "Nay, fret thou not. The bell sound omen is a warning, telling thee not to go near yon red Abbey. Beware the sound of the bell!"

Sawney spat neatly into the fire. "Hah! I already knew that. I'm as wise as any omen. Just tell me what part Redwall Abbey plays in all this?"

Grissoul gathered up her paraphernalia and cast them a second time. She stared at them, then pointed. "See thou those bones that fell foursquare with that red piece of stone at their center? Watch!" She lifted the red stone slightly, and an ant crawled from beneath it and ran over the bones. The Seer smiled triumphantly. "It means that the Taggerung will be a creature from the Abbey!"

Sawney placed a paw on the ground, and the ant ran onto it. The ferret held the paw close to his eyes, watching the insect circling a claw. "What manner of creature will it be?"

Grissoul pursed her lips. "Who can tell?" She inspected the pawprint Sawney had left in the sandy ground. "Five days from here, at the ford where waters cross the path. Then will thou see what sort of beast the Taggerung will be."

Sawney stood up and patted his stomach. "I feel better. Tell them to break camp; we travel tonight. To have a Taggerung in my clan will be the greatest of honors. My Juskarath will make the journey in four days. I want to be there early, in case other clan Seers have had visions. I'll slay anybeast who comes near that ford. Tell the clan to hasten or I'll leave them behind . . . aye, the same way I'm leaving Gruven here."

Grissoul stared at him, almost fondly. "Th'art a wise Chieftain, and ruthless too!"

Sawney checked her as she went. "One other thing. Once we have the Taggerung we travel back this way fast, to the sea and shores. Nobeast at Redwall must know 'twas my clan that took him. If the tales about them are true, they must be fearsome warriors, with a long paw for vengeance. I need to avoid a conflict with such beasts."

He waved a paw, dismissing his Seer. As he did so, the ant was hurled from its perch and fell into a basin of water. Sawney failed to notice it, but the ant swam!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 105 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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(6)

2 Star

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 105 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The best in the Redwall Series!

    Taggerung is by far the best book in the Redwall series. Disagree with me if you want, but the action, mystique, and plot make this for a great read.

    Basic plot in five sentences: A band of thieves and vagabonds receives a prophecy about the birth of the Taggerung, a strong and invunerable beast that will fight with the band. When they get to the place where the Taggerung should be, they're surprised to find that an otter babe has the signs of the warrior! The babe is kidnapped, taken back to the band, and named Tagg. Yet even though Tagg is raised among evil, he never allows it to consume his heart and balances violence with mercy. He later journeys to find his true home and deals with jealousy and treachery along the way.

    An absolute must-read for Redwall fans! Tagg is dynamic, the story moves at a fast-pace, and the mystery surrounding the Taggerung keeps the reader interested until the last page!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    This is one of his best books

    This book is awsome! i very highly recommend it its one of my favorites. so many twists and turns that you cant put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2007

    Great Reading

    I absolutely love this book. Tagg is such a great character...This is a book and character to fall in love with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2007

    Best Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I've read alot of Redwall books, but Taggerung by far is my favorite so far!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The next one on my want list is Rakkety Tam.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Best Bloody Book : )

    I loved the book over all of the other books he's written, well exept maybe outcast of Redwall. I geuss I just like conflict within characters. As far as good and Evil go Taggarung changed good. But in Outcast of Redwall The Ferret stayed evil. both were great. I like in marlfox how at the end the Rats on the Island are having fun and not being evil like apparently all Vermin are. Still Brian, You should've had a huge battle instead of The badgers save the day, I mean don't Taggarungs Match the power of 100 other warriors?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2006

    Zann Juskarath Taggerung

    I loved this book and believe that it's the best in the series. I hoped Swaney Rath would live a little longer than that since he was the better bad guy. Still, that and the fact that the Taggerung wanted to remove the face paint were the only things that I found uninteresting. Personally, I thought the paint was pretty cool.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    A reviewer

    Best & favorite book of Brian. Filled with adventure, and the excitment when Tagg(Deyna) travels home.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    The Review

    Ive read almost all of the books and they all are so cool.But this one was realy diffrent and i think all of the redwall books are like that because if they werent diffret you would be reading the same book 18 times(theres 18 books about redwall.i reccomend this book to friends family and teachers.These are the books i read when im not doing a book report unless it was about the redwall series.That would be great but alot of teachers think its a hard to read book i read a bunch in 2 grade.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2006

    THE BEST EVER! (so far)

    I liked this book because Jacques really went to the heart of the characters like Deyna and Nimbalo. The only thing it needed in my opinion was a battle at the end, but the characters' emotions were very very good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2006

    This book was awsome

    This one was filled with adventure, worry, love, and kindness. I love how Jaques creates his storys with so much detail and they are always garenteed to have excitement!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    The best book that Jacques has ever made

    This book is filled to the brim with adventure, excitement, fun loving times, and brave heroes.It's the most estounding book I have ever read, and is my favorite book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    GREAT

    Very good book, maybe one of the best redwall books (i have read 17 of them) a great book about an otter raised in a vermin band unlike other redwall books he is raised as one of them.... and as him and that amazing abbey meet some cool things happen

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    Katie

    ...you could have...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    Nightleaf

    Emberstream?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Matty

    Nothing

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    TO ALL

    Tagg is locked out!!! Go to Marlfox result one! -Wintermint

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    Flare

    I am

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Lily

    "Starr?" Lily

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Blaze

    Won't be on, holidays!-Blaze

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    King

    o.O

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 105 Customer Reviews

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