The Long Patrol Links Interviews Forums Brian Jacques Releases The Bookshelf Editorials Features

Total Surprise
May 2nd, 2002

What a news packed few days! I am still reeling with shock.

My point of shock was that of the information now displayed at 'The Redwall Encyclopedia'. If you have not yet been there, go with all haste. But, beware, it is a slight spoiler, but only in terms of the character names.

Done that? Good! Now, my first reaction upon seeing there was a list of names was to scan it to try and find Russano, his wife and children. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed when I found that they were not there. This means that there is no fourth time round for Russano, which I think is a shame; because, though he was calm and collected, he added to the dynamics of the other characters by being that way. Aside from that, we do have a badger couple (I assume they are a couple) of Salamandastron, which I think is a good thing, as it adds a new dynamic and, in the case of a siege, a new situation would be created quite unlike any we have witnessed before. I would assume that they are the parents of Sagaxus (the other badger). I am actually a little unsure on his or her gender, but I think his name is more masculine than feminine.

I must say that I was quite impressed by the variety of species, especially the mouse Abbot. Out of those stated by Snowfur, one is a squirrel (guess whom), one is a hedgehog, two are otters (one of the sea variety), one is a mouse (a welcome return), one is a hare, and three are badgers (all, I guess, are of Salamandastron). It is possible to split them into four main groups: 'Triss & co' (Triss, Welfo, and Shogg), 'Lord and Lady of Salamandastron' (Lord Hightor and Lady Merola), 'Abbot' (Abbot Apodemus, and the rest of the Abbey), and 'Three go boating' (Bescarum, Sagaxus, and Kroova). The first group I assume to be slaves (or former slaves) of Riftguard. These three get me a little excited. We know that Triss and Welfo are both female, which means this little band is predominately female, though I would guess Shogg is male. This carries the thread of feminism that was clear from the start. If the cover is to be believed (please bear in mind that they are not always, take the current British 'Mariel of Redwall' cover), it would suggest that they will escape Riftguard by boat.

The Lord and Lady of Salamandastron provide the link to fire mountain, and a welcome one at that; I sometimes feel a bit disappointed when it is not featured. On why Sagaxus is running away from home, I am unsure. But, I would guess it is probably just adolescent rebellion. Though it is important to consider that he (if he at all) may have another motive and that we should not jump to conclusions because of what has happened in previous books. It would be my guess that something more is going to happen to Hightor and Merola, though I could not even begin to guess what.

We are not given any real clues as to Abbot Apodemus's significance, but, obviously, there will be a storyline concerning Redwall. The main clue we have to the storyline is that of the handwritten note. Here is the part that refers to Redwall and the possible storyline:
"Terror lurks in Mossflower Wood, the creatures of Redwall find their way of life endangered by a nameless horror. "
I am quite mystified by this sentence and I find it hard to even begin to guess what on earth he is talking about or suggesting. I suppose we will have to wait and see. Though it is important to remember that the 'Dibbuns Against Bedtime' is likely to feature and that Sarabando and Bragoon should appear as dibbuns, if they are to be 'ex-dibbuns' in 'Loamhedge', as they have not featured in any other book before.

I would guess that Bescarum is simply going along with Sagaxus because they are friends. I find it hard to say much about Kroova, except that he is a sea otter and that, according to the handwritten note, he has a boat. If you have not read Kroova's song yet, here it is:
"Were days that long, was grass so green,
In seasons of youthful desire,
Roaming o'er seas of aquamarine,
Where westering suns drown in fire?
'Cross mountain, forest and river,
I'd wander, carefree and bold,
Never heeding the days to come,
When I'd wake up, slow and old.
Oh, how the silent summer noon,
Warms dusty memories,
In an orchard, midst my dreams,
'Neath verdant, shadeful trees.
Come visit me, you little ones,
Hear stories, songs, and rhymes,
A roving warrior's saga,
Of far-gone golden times."
I think it is great, possibly the best Redwall poetry yet. I would guess that it is the little poem that comes just before the story. If this is true, it would suggest, to me, that the tale is being told by Kroova himslf, when he is older.

I am now really psyched up about 'Triss' and I just cannot wait for September. I hope those lucky enough to be getting sneak peeks will be kind enough to keep us all informed as I, and many others, will hang on every word.


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