The Legend Behind the Legend
Master storyteller Brian Jacques has been holding kids of all ages spellbound for years with his delightful Redwall tales. This anthropomorphic fantasy series follows the adventures of the woodland creatures inhabiting Redwall Abbey and its surrounding lands, a mythical place where the forces of good and evil often battle. Now, for the 12th book in the series, Jacques takes his readers back in time to the very beginnings of Redwall.
The Legend of Luke is the prequel, the story that precedes all the others and details the exploits of the first and most noble of all the Redwall warriors -- Luke, the father of that heroic and plucky warrior mouse, Martin.
The story opens with Martin deciding to make a journey to the dangerous northland. It was here that Martin was born and his mother slain. Martin's father, Luke, survived that long-ago attack, but shortly thereafter he left his young son and took off for the high seas. Martin never saw his father again, though he occasionally heard stories about him. He travels now to search for answers, hoping to uncover the man behind the myth.
Martin's journey is fraught with peril but also provides him with a ragtag group of fellow travelers he meets along the way. Eventually the group takes to the sea, and when they reach the shores of the northland, they come across an odd sight: the remains of a broken ship wedged high in the air between two towering monoliths of rock that rise from the sea. Inside this ship, the travelers discover an elderly rabbit named Beau, who knew Martin's father well.
From this point on, the book is devoted to Luke's story. Martin learns how his father made the difficult decision to leave his young son behind and seek revenge against the evil pirate stoat, Vilu Daskar. It was Daskar who slew Martin's mother and a host of others camped out along the northland coast. It was through a mere quirk of circumstance that both Luke and Martin survived. But the cold-blooded killings and the death of his wife left Luke embittered and angry, enough so that he left Martin behind so he could hunt down the evil Vilu and seek retribution.
The story of how Luke finds the evil pirate and ultimately seeks his revenge is laden with heroic gestures and touching bonds of friendship. The bad guys are so blatantly bad they are easy to loathe, so even the small victories achieved by Luke and his band of warriors are occasions for cheering. The good guys, in standard Redwall fashion, prove to be a colorful and eclectic bunch, their dedication and valor unimpeachable. There are standout heroes, to be sure, but the story makes it clear that each of the good characters is a hero in his or her own right.
Jacques's language and dialects can make the reading difficult at times, which tends to make the ideal audience ages nine and up. But the story itself will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure and a vivid imagination. There's violence to be had and a goodly share of shed blood and gore, but there is also an abundance of good humor and a strong sense of camaraderie. For longtime Redwall fans,
The Legend of Luke adds a fascinating layer to the overall mythology. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of the Redwall experience, this 12th book in the series is a great place to start.
Swashbuckling adventures told with great gusto.
The Medieval world of Redwall Abbey-where gallant mouse warriors triumph over evil invaders-has truly become the stuff of legend.
Author Jacques reads his latest work with an assured and enthusiastic tone that demonstrates his familiarity with and passion for his subject matter. In this 12th story about the woodland creatures who inhabit and defend Redwall Abbey, listeners are treated to a prequel of sorts. In the early days of Redwall, Martin the warrior leaves the still-growing abbey and travels to the Northland shore where his father, the warrior Luke, had abandoned him as a child. Along the way, Martin and his companions must fight off weasels and other evil vermin. But once Martin reaches his destination, the answers to many of his lifelong questions are answered. He discovers the real reason his father was forced to leave him behind. As always, Jacques peppers his storytelling with humor, sumptuous descriptions and abundant adventure. Some listeners may find that Jacques's heavy Liverpool accent takes a bit of getting used to, but once acclimated, will be captivated by this colorful tale. Ages 9-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this twelfth book in the wonderful Redwall epic, Jacques deftly portrays mouse warrior Martin's dramatic search into his past. Martin never has understood why his father, Luke, abandoned him as a young boy. But as he listens to a young hedgehog maid, who sings a song recounting the adventures of a young warrior named Luke, Martin begins to solve the mystery of his father's death. Accompanied by some dedicated companions, Martin fights many battles, internal and external, as he attempts to learn more about his father. Luke's journal provides some valuable information about his battle against the evil Pirate Vilu Daskar. This fast-paced novel will delight new or returning readers to the Redwall series. 2000, Philomel Books, Ages 9 up, $22.95. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Martin of Redwall, the warrior mouse, sets out in Brian Jacque's twelfth installment of the Tales from Redwall to find out what happened to his father, Luke the Warrior. Along the way he makes new beast friends that help in his quest, and he slays beast foes that threaten him and his traveling companion. Jacques writes another marvelous tale of engaging and honorable heroes and vile and treacherous villains, from mice and moles and hedgehogs, to the evil and seagoing stoat, Vilu Daskar. For fans of the series, The Legend of Luke falls chronologically between Mossflower and Redwall. For readers new to the series, the book stands alone as an exciting adventure into Martin the Warrior's heritage of courage and integrity. Young readers should be cautioned about vengeful violence. This book is likely to appeal to adolescent readers who have found a friend in the Harry Potter stories. Genre: Fantasy/Friendship. 1999, Philomel, Ages 9 to 12, $22.95. Reviewer: Susanne L. Johnston
To quote KLIATT's May 2000 review of the hardcover edition: In this 12th book in the Redwall series, the brave mouse Martin the Warrior leaves Redwall Abbey to undertake a dangerous journey back to his birthplace on the northland shore, accompanied by Trimp the Hedgehog, Dinny Foremole, and Goff, the Prince of Mousethieves. Marin finds a huge red ship wedged high up between two great rocks (nicely depicted on the cover) and learns about the legend of his father Luke, a Warrior Chieftain who hunted the evil pirate stoat Vilu Daskar across the seas. Full of daring deeds, this tale will appeal to fans of the series as well as readers who enjoy animal fantasies and adventure stories. Like the other Redwall books, it can stand on its own. British author Jacques started writing the tales to entertain children at Liverpool's School for the Blind; they are full of lively animal characters and exciting scenes of battle and adventure. Characters often speak in dialect (e.g., "Gurr, 'ome, marm, bain't et a wunnerful word!") that may take a bit of getting used to for American readers. KLIATT Codes: JSARecommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley/Ace, 342p, illus, maps, 18cm, $6.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Praise for The Legend of Luke...
"Swashbuckling adventures told with great gusto."—Chicago Tribune
"This fast-paced novel will delight new or returning readers to the Redwall series."—Children's Literature
"The Medieval world of Redwall Abbey—where gallant mouse warriors triumph over evil invaders—has truly become the stuff of legend."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"As always, Jacques peppers his storytelling with humor, sumptuous descriptions and abundant adventure. "—Publishers Weekly
"For readers new to the series, the book stands alone as an exciting adventure into Martin the Warrior's heritage of courage and integrity . . . This book is likely to appeal to adolescent readers who have found a friend in the Harry Potter stories."—The ALAN Review "Full of daring deeds, this tale will appeal to fans of the series as well as readers who enjoy animal fantasies and adventure stories."—KLIATT
Praise for Brian Jacques' Redwall series...
"Energetic fantasy!"The New York Times Book Review
"Rousing adventure!"Publishers Weekly
"Old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure."Locus
"Jacques's realistically drawn characters are full of personality."Publishers Weekly