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.