cover image Martin the Warrior

Martin the Warrior

Brian Jacques, Brian Jaques. Philomel Books, $23.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22670-0

The brilliantly complex sixth installment in the Redwall fantasy-adventure series freshens up the notion of swashbuckling by honoring courage of a nonviolent sort. Young mousemaid Rose and her mole companion Grumm have traveled far from Noonvale to rescue Rose's brother Brome from slavery in the evil fortress Marshank, ruled by the tyrant stoat Badrang. Martin, the warrior mouse, himself enslaved at Marshank for most of his young life, teams up with Rose and other peace-loving creatures to end Badrang's tyranny. Studded with vibrant and distinct animal characters, Jacques's classically inspired ``in-another-part-of-the-forest . . . '' plot-weaving achieves virtuosity as moments of sensitivity shake his fierce heroes off their warrior paths. A female character emerges as the story's guiding star; outshining even Martin, she vanquishes foes with her beautiful singing and with reason. An excellent adventure with an enlightened conscience. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)