Month: January 2017

Triss: A Tale of Redwall

Feasts, battles, adventures, deaths, and triumphs; with a dose of good humor thrown in for the fun of it, these are things that define the Redwall books. Triss is the 15th book in Brian Jacques’ beloved fantasy world saga. It was published in 2002 by the Penguin Group. Jacques’ books do not have to be read in any particular order; almost all of the Redwall books are about different characters (all animals) in the same world, and they all relate in some way to the main place; Redwall Abbey.

Trisscar (known as Triss to her friends), a brave squirrel maid, is the main character in this extraordinary story. She, and two others, Shogg, an otter, and Welfo, a hedgehog, are trying to escape from the evil ferret King Agarno and his equally evil daughter Princess Kurda, who hold them as slaves. Triss is determined to escape from their yoke of bondage and find friends that will help her come back and free her fellow slaves.

Meanwhile, Sagaxus (Sagax), son of the Badger Lord of Salamandastron, and his friend Bescarum (prefers to be called Scarum; a hare with a tremendous appetite) are heading out into the wild to find adventure and excitement. They, together with a sea otter named Kroova, have no idea what is in store for them when they decide to sail into the open sea and meet with some very unusual types of creatures along the way.

While all this is happening; far away in Mossflower wood Redwall Abbey’s peaceful creatures are enjoying life. With berry pickings, gardening, and caring for orphaned woodland babies (they’re called Dibbuns), many Redwallers are kept busy in the late spring days. Two Dibbuns, a molebabe and a little squirrel get lost in the woodlands beyond the Abbey walls. When they are found, they tell their rescuers about something they had seen in the far woods; a giant snake and a white ghost. Most of the Redwallers dismiss the babies’ stories as dreams or their imagination, but when two other Redwallers see a giant snake as well, the elders become worried. Will the snake attack their Abbey? The normally peaceful Abbey dwellers must prepare to defend their home and families… with their lives if necessary.

Brian Jacques use of detail is tremendous, but he never writes so much that you lose interest in the story amidst all the description. His use of dialogue is unique; all the different types of animals have their different types of speech; for example, the sea otters often use nautical terms in their speech, while the owls are generally educated and refined in their usage of words. Triss is written very well, with a good mixture of action, riddles, and good fun. This book is a medium to hard read; several people I know who have read these books sometimes do not understand them, as there are parts of them that are hard to read.

I highly recommend this book-as well as most of the other Redwall books-for 11+! There is quite a bit of action and violence in it, as well as a few gruesome parts, and so it may not be appropriate for some younger readers. A fun and exciting adventure, with excellent description, expression, and word usage. 4 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

War in The Wasteland

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“Full-scale assault,” said Sergeant Ayres.

“Another one?” asked Nigel. “Boche learned nothing from the last one?”

“Not them.” Ayres shook his head soberly. “It’s a counter attack. Tomorrow morning, first light. It’s us over the top.” *

 

War in The Wasteland is one of the finest books about one of the World Wars I have ever read. Without descripting too much violence- as is popular in many war novels- it still conveys some of the horrors of the war, as well as displays realistic characters and interesting discussions throughout the book. The author of this book is Douglas Bond, a Christian historical fiction author, and it was published in 2016 by Inkblots Press.

The book takes place in World War 1, following the story of young private Nigel Hopkins, who is assigned to the platoon of 2\Lt. C.S. Lewis, known as “Jack”. Nigel must learn to find true courage while fighting the German soldiers in the trenches. The book also follows the story of Elsie Fleming, an underage WAAC (Women’s Axillary Army Corps) member, who has to come to terms with the true realities of war as she nurses the many wounded men coming back from the front-and hears about all those brave boys who will never come back. Also told in the book is that of the battle for the soul of the atheist 2\Lt. Lewis, who stoutly denies the need for his salvation.

Nigel is just 18 years old, and had just been conscripted to service. When he went to enlist, he took his dog, Chips, with him, in hopes that the military leaders would allow him to keep Chips when he went to the battlefield. After Chips helped to find a German spy, they allowed Nigel to take Chips with him as a message dog. Nigel was thrilled at finally being able to join in the glorious fight for England, but as he and his platoon fight day after day in the trenches-which are filled with mud and other foul-smelling things-, kill hundreds of German soldiers, and watch helplessly as fellow soldiers die at the hands of the enemy, he begins to change his mind. He also feels scared, and worried that when his time comes, he will not be able to face it with courage.

Elsie, although not technically old enough to join the WAAC, nevertheless persuaded her father to allow her to go and help in the fight for her country. She is a Scots-woman; hot-tempered, high-spirited, and enthusiastic about helping those in need. Her mother died when she was young, and her father raised her to love God and serve Him.

2\Lt. Lewis is a young, inexperienced army officer who cares nothing for his soul’s future, or the judgement of his soul. He engages in long arguments with Lt. Johnson, his close friend and fellow officer, on the existence of God and on the need for salvation. Some other chief characters are: Private Perrett, Nigel’s friend and fellow soldier; Sergeant Ayres, the sergeant in charge of Nigel’s division; and Private Wallace, another of Nigel’s mates.

Douglas Bond is an excellent historical fiction writer. His use of detail and his use of dialogue are very good, although not always easily understandable, because he often uses words from the language and\or time period the book takes place that are not used nowadays. However, there is usually a list in the back of his books that has the terms and their modern-day translations. The story flows very well, but it is not an easy read. I would rate it a medium to hard read.

I highly recommend this book!! There are some older themes in it, as well as some violence, and difficult sections to comprehend, so I would say about 13+. It is an excellent, engaging read and has godly morals. 4 out of 5 stars.

“May God be with us,” said Sergeant Ayres, shaking hands with each man in his squad. Pulling back his sleeve, he showed his wrist watch to Lewis.

“Give the order,” said Lewis, fingering the trench whistle at his throat.

“Up and out!” cried Sergeant Ayres. “Up and out!” **

 

*Quotation is from War in the Wasteland, chapter 28, page 218-219; by Douglas Bond, published by Inkblots Press, 2016.

**Quotation is from War in the Wasteland, chapter 31, page 241; by Douglas bond, published by Inkblots Press, 2016.