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Outcast of Redwall: A Tale from Redwall Paperback – May 24, 2004
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When ferret Swartt Sixclaw and his arch enemy Sunflash the Mace swear a pledge of death upon each other, a young creature is cruelly banished from the safety of Redwall. As he grows, he seeks revenge on the people of Redwall and finds himself embroiled in a hostile battle with far-reaching consequences.
An epic tale of Redwall from the pen of master storyteller Brian Jacques, Outcast of Redwall is a kaleidoscope of color, range, and emotions that culminates in a bitter contest between good and evil. None of the passion of the earlier Redwall titles is lost, as some of the most cherished landscapes and best-loved characters from previous books are revisited, with a wisdom and clarity that has developed and endured.
On a basic level, this is a marvelous fantasy adventure story. Look deeper and you will find that Outcast of Redwall, along with the other titles in the series, has a divine, enduring quality that ranks it among he best in children's literature. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Dishing out neither surprises nor disappointments, Jacques's latest Redwall installment (after The Bellmaker) is likely to satisfy his considerable fans even if it doesn't win him any converts. This lengthy story rumbles into life when Sunflash, a badger, prisoner of the cruel ferret Swartt Sixclaw, escapes and swears revenge. Sunflash is destined to get not only his revenge but much else besides, for he is a Badger Lord, fated to rule the mountain Salamandastron. Drawn there by dreams, after an epic journey he takes command of the resident regiments of fighting hares and various serving beasts, and soon defends the mountain from a horde raised by Swartt. Though strongly plotted and spiced with a variety of secondary characters, Jacques's new concoction, like the vegetarian feasts he describes often and in detail, will not appeal to all tastes: the repasts are not the only parts of the story that go on too long, and the characteristics of all the animals in the story are fixed by their species. Moles, for example, are all rural bumpkins, with a "quaint mole dialect" that requires some study. Such ingredients, of course, may be just what makes the Redwall recipe so consistently popular. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The other difference - and this is a big one - is the treatment of crypto-racism in the story. As noted above, the Redwall books typically involve woodland creatures, who are always good, and vermin, who are nearly always bad. Really bad. A couple have turned out to be okay (e.g., Romsca in Pearls of Lutra and Blaggut in The Bellmaker), but most are irredeemable. Mice, moles, bankvoles, badgers, otters, hares, and squirrels are good. Ferrets, weasels, rats, stoats, pine martens, and foxes are bad. It only took a couple of books for my son to begin questioning those premises on his own, so we were both really interested to see how Outcast of Redwall was going to go.
I do not want to spoil the book for those who have not yet read it, but I do want to alert other parents to what I think is a very sophisticated treatment of the subject of prejudice. Sophisticated to the point that I think you will want to talk about it some with your child. The Outcast of Redwall is of the vermin persuasion, but he is raised within the Abbey walls, where all but the mousemaid charged with raising him are hostile and suspicious. Whether he is good or bad is one of the central questions of the book, and all we have to go on are descriptions of what he does, together with what the good Abbey creatures say about those acts. At the same time, we have a badger protagonist who starts his life somewhere other than where it normally might, and he does things along the way, too. There is no overt ambiguity about how the reader is supposed to view the badger. The badger is a hero. However, if the reader looks a little closer, it becomes clear that the acts themselves committed by the badger and the outcast are not all that different. They both do harm. They both cause trouble for those who love them. Sunflash the badger's acts are presented as justified; Veil the Outcast's acts are presented as wrong. Sunflash is light; Veil is dark. And maybe it's supposed to be just that simple.
But somehow I don't think so. I would hate to think the message of this book is that you're trapped from birth if you're the wrong kind of creature. I would like to believe that the author is bringing some subtlety and irony into the series with the knowledge that the Orkin man thinks mice and squirrels are vermin, too. That's how I'm spinning it to my kid, because he was confused by the ending.
This book had the second-best villain in the Redwall series (after Ungatt Trunn but before Ferahgo the Assassin) in Swartt Sixclaw. That villain was so cool you will find yourself cheering for him a time or two, only to hate his guts in the next chapter. Sunflash the Mace is easily the third-coolest Badger Ruler, after Lord Brocktree and Cregga Rose Eyes, and Skarlath the kestrel is just too cool for words.
But let me put in a word about Veil here: if the main question you are asking is, "Is he good or bad?" I think you are asking the wrong question. That question can be answered with a simple, "Yes," and I still don't know if that's the answer the author intended. I think the real question to ask is, "Did love make a difference in Veil's life?" If you read the book with that question, suddenly the story takes on a whole different spin.
Most recent customer reviews
suspense, treachery, drama....
this is a book that I highly recommend others to read.