February 10th, 2011 by Nancy
That’s the war cry of Redwall Abbey, and the way I hear it in my head whenever I see the book on a shelf.
Sadly, the author of the Redwall series, Brian Jacques, passed away of a sudden heart attack on February 5th. He was 71 years old, and in his lifetime had written over 35 books for kids and teens.
Along with the Redwall series, he also wrote the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series, the Urso Brunov picture books, Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales, and The Ribbajack & Other Curious Yarns.
Mr. Jacques grew up in Liverpool, England, a young child during World War II. When he was 10, he wrote a story about a bird that cleaned a crocodile’s teeth for a school assignment. It was so good that his teacher became suspicious and accused young Mr. Jacques of plagiarism. But that didn’t deter him! He continued to write for children all his life, and even modeled some of his characters on his own family members. Mariel (of Mariel of Redwall) is based on his granddaughter, Constance the Badgermum is based on his grandmother, and guess who Gonff the Mousethief (best friend of Martin the Warrior) is based on — Brian Jacques himself!
Does that mean he admitted to being a thief? Hm…
Mr. Jacques wasn’t just a writer, though. He was a father, husband, and grandfather. And a merchant seaman. And a railroad worker and truck driver. And a singer in a folk band, The Liverpool Fisherman. (I’m guessing he was an avid fisherman, also). And for two decades, he hosted a radio show called “Jakestown” — that’s how his last name is pronounced, by the way.
This May, the 22nd novel of the Redwall series, The Rogue Crew will be released. From the book description, it sounds like Mr. Jacques’ former sea life helped inspire this novel. Here’s the official description:
“From Salamandastron’s Western Shores, to the High North Coast, here they come. Captain Rake Nightfur, and his Long Patrol Hares, with Skor Axehound and the Rogue Crew Sea Otters. Marching boldly into a thrilling saga, singing, feasting, swashbuckling, and battling. Questing for the infamous ship Greenshroud, crewed by Searats and Corsairs, Captained by the murderous Razzid Wearat, terror of both sea and land. His aim, the conquest of an Abbey! Was there ever such a blood and thunder chase? The fate of Abbot Thibb and his Redwallers hangs in the balance. Who will be first to the gates, who can save the legendary Abbey from the clutches of a Wearat? On, on, to victory or death!”
To find out more about Mr. Jacques, check out his official Redwall website.
Redwall was Nancy’s pick for our Fantasy Series theme, and she was very afraid of pikes when she was little. Don’t get it? What’s a pike? Pick up Redwall.