|Redwall Abbey is on the edge of Mossflower Woods. The mice there have given aid and comfort to almost any living creature who needs it for as long as any of them can remember. Their history tells of Martin the Mouse, the mighty warrior who helped protect and establish Redwall.
Redwall is a place of peace. Mortimer the Abbott cannot picture any other type of life, or of Redwall being threatened. Unfortunately, Cluney the Scourge has different ideas. This one-eyed rat has been terrorizing others all his life, plundering and killing with no regards of anyone outside himself. Now he has decided the Abbey would be the perfect place for him to settle down and rule the countryside.
Matthias is a young mouse and a novice training at the Abbey. Although he is training to become one of the healing brothers, he feels the tug of adventure. After Cluney first came into Redwalls' neighborhood, Matthias knew he had to do something to rid the Abbey of this menace. With the help of his old friend Methuselah, he begins to unravel the secrets Martin has left in the Abbey. As he does, he receives help not only from his friends the badgers, squirrels, otters, hares, and other, he also forges bonds with sparrows, shrews, cats, and owls. Together this group of creatures will face down Cluney the Scourge.
Cluney is pure evil. He will kill anyone, including his own soldiers and officers, on a whim. If anyone in his army cannot keep up, that creature is left behind, often for dead. Matthias is a much more rounded out character. He is good and pure, of course, yet is also afraid, unsure of himself, and easy to lose his temper. He also would like to be able to accommodate the Abbott's hope for peace, but knows Cluney will not stop until he has captured Redwall or died in trying.
This book is written towards a young or pre-teen audience. It is well done, and an excellent introduction to a new fantasy world for any age. The reader doesn't have to be 12 to almost feel a shudder down his back when Cluney shouts "Kill, kill, kill!" Matthias is cheered on by the reader throughout the book.
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