Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book #68

Pearls of Lutra, by Brian Jacques. Hardcover.

I love juvenile/YA fiction that makes no pretense of being anything else. There is no subtext in the Redwall stories, nothing sly or subversive, just a rollicking adventure story. Talking animals, sword fights, bows and arrows, pirates, battle strategy, humor. This book contains all of that and more.

Six rose-colored pearls are the heritage of Holt Lutra. Grath Longflecth the otter is seeking them out, to restore her family heritage. Ublaz, a ruthless pine marten who rules the island of Sampetra, has created a new crown for himself to house the pearls.

The pearls themselves found their way to Redwall Abbey, and clues have been left as to their location. Tansy the hedgehog has taken on the mission of following the clues to find the pearls, and is helped on her quest by many of the Redwall animals. Ublaz sends a raiding party to Redwall, the Father Abbot is kidnapped and held for ransom in exchange for the pearls.

And that is where the adventure begins. Martin the warriormouse, Clecky the hare, and an army of shrews set off to rescue the Abbot, and they join forces with Grath the archer to storm Sampetra and recover their Abbot.

Jacques’ strengths lie both in plotting and character. Each animal type has distinct characteristics, and within each group there are individuals with their own unique aspects. And the story makes sense – there is no skimping in the narrative, no gaping plot holes, and no “writing down” to young readers.

Very good stuff.

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