The comparisons between Brian Jaques' world of Redwall and Mossflower Woods and Tolkein's Middle Earth masterpieces are inevitable, as both authors create full worlds of cultures, languages and races. But there are definite advantages to the "Redwall" series, especially this first offering. Jaques writes with more precise description, and does not manage to bore the readers with endless exposition on the different creatures that the readers encounter, without sacrificing what we need to know about the rats, stoats, mice, badgers and hedgehogs.
"Redwall" is the story of a peaceful abbey in the middle of Mossflower forest until it is invaded by the menacing rat Cluny the Scourge. One young mouse inside the abbey, Matthias, begins his quest to find the sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior, the sworn protector of Redwall and its inhabitants. As the peace-loving and caring citizens of Redwall defend their land against the rat horde, Matthias heads out into the world to find the sword, encountering numerous adventures along the way. This novel is a page turner, and the 400+ pages absolutely fly by. It is easy to become engrossed in the world that Jaques has created, and to appreciate the harmony within the abbey walls and the disorder in the cuthroat rat army.
There are great adventures here, comparable to Frodo's journey to Mordor with the one ring. Perhaps this series is meant for the younger crowd, but there is plenty here to engross any fans of fantasy literature, and "Redwall" is only the tip of the iceberg, as this series has spawned a dozen or so books. Brian Jaques and his more accesible writing style make this an unmissable book for readers young or old.