Mossflower – Brian Jacques

Mossflower is one of the Redwall series of children’s novels about anthropomorphic woodland creatures. This was a series I read when I was much younger, and seeing it on the shelf at my brother and his fiancé’s house I had to re-read it. There is always a colourful cast of mice, badgers, hedgehogs, squirrels, otters, weasels, stoats 220px-MossflowerUKCoverand many more species. Each species is normally a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ species with a couple of rare examples when a member of a ‘bad’ species performs good acts. The series can be rather simplistic in their plot, however I remember always being excited to read them and often borrowed them from the library when new ones came out.

This particular novel is one I do remember from the story; Martin the Warrior (a mouse) leads the inhabitants of Mossflower Woods against the tyranny of Queen Tsarmina (a wildcat). Martin is first captured and held prisoner in Tsarmina’s castle, before being assisted in his escape by another young mouse Gonff. These two become friends and Gonff takes Martin to join the resistance against Tsarmina, known as Corim. Having joined Corim the two mice and a mole friend, Young Dinny, embark on a journey to bring a warrior badger back to Mossflower Woods. On the journey they encounter a number of obstacles and become friends with various other characters. Meanwhile the animals left in Mossflower Woods come up with various plans to disrupt life at the castle.  Can the two groups finally overcome Tsarmina and free the woods from tyranny?

Though slightly predictable and simplistic these stories are extremely entertaining. Jacques was an excellent writer of dialogue, the moles and hares have accents that can be likened to regional British accents. There are regular poems and songs that add to a rustic feel as well as lovely description by Jacques. For me this is comfort reading at its best. You can relax, read and get lost without too much effort. I would also recommend this for anyone who has young children as a way to encourage reading due to its adventurous yet fun content.

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