Mattimeo is third in Brian Jacques’ series but a direct sequel to Redwall. Slagar the crazed fox has long held a grudge against Matthias the Warrior and the creatures of Redwall, and has planned a devious revenge. After the seasonal feast, when they are sated on elderberry wine and nutbrown ale, he and his band trick their way into the Abbey and steal away several of the young ones, including Mathias’s son Mattimeo. Slagar is by trade a cruel slaver, stealing young woodland creatures and turning them into a walking chain gang, to be eventually sold to the highest bidder. Mathias, Basil Stag Hare, and Jess Squirrel set out to try and follow the trail. Along the way they meet up with others whose children have been taken, and eventually learn that their destination is the old abandoned Loamhedge Abbey.

As in the previous books, there are multiple plot lines. The narrative switches between Mattimeo and his captive friends, the harrowing journey of the rescue party, and those still at the abbey, who are distracted from their waiting vigil by the threat of rooks trying to invade. This last part has the most humor, as baby Rollo continues to sing drinking songs learned from Basil, Cornflower masquerades as a ghost, and Sister May earns the respect and gratitude of a bird of prey.

I enjoyed getting to read about so many characters from the first book again. Time is measured in seasons rather than in years, and I get the feeling that lifespans are like those of the actual animals, maturing quickly and taking into account the differences between species. I hope that they will turn up in future books as well. (I think I only ever read Marlfox before besides these three.)

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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