Sweet Sounds: Mossflower by Brian Jacques

Goodreads Synopsis:

The thrilling prequel to "Redwall". The clever and greedy wildcat Tsarmina becomes ruler of all Mossflower Woods and is determined to govern the peaceful woodlanders with an iron paw. The brave mouse Martin and quick-talking mouse thief Gonff meet in the depths of Kotir Castle's dungeon. The two escape and resolve to end Tsarmina's tyrannical rule. Joined by Young Dinny the mole, Martin and Gonff set off on a dangerous quest for Salamandastron, where they are convinced that their only hope, Boar the Fighter, still lives.

Audio Review:

Brian Jacques, in my opinion, is one of the few authors in the last thirty years whose works crossed the line from just "books" to "literature." What is the difference? A fictional book becomes literature when, at minimum, it contains excellent vocabulary and sentence structure, a semi-complex plot, and well rounded characters that develop and grow throughout the course of the story. Redwall does not disappoint in any of these respects. This series is enjoyable to read, but even more fun to listen to. (Just ask my twenty year-old brother who after discovering the series about ten years ago has listened to all the Redwalls available on audio at least four times a piece and is still listening...) The recently deceased Jacques with a full cast of actors narrate all the Redwall audios. 

The only negative I would mention is also one of the aspects that gives Redwall its unique charm. Jacques has given many of the species of animals an unusual accent. The most notable example of this are the moles who articulate with exceedingly thick brogues and use such words as "girt." As a result, there are times when it can be difficult to understand what the characters are saying. If you are new to Redwall, there are a few different places you could start.  I would suggest beginning either at the beginning with "Redwall" or with one of the prequels such as "Martin the Warrior" or "Mossflower." I particularly enjoy "Mossflower," as it chronicles the events that lead to the founding of the famed Redwall Abbey and gives the listener a tingly, delicious, sense of beginning. 

The thing I probably appreciate most about this series is the multiple narrator format. In my opinion it makes the story more engaging and helps keep the multitudinous characters distinct. For these stories this works well, but I have found that I also enjoy a single narrator. For example, John R. Erickson does a phenomenal job narrating the Hank the Cowdog series. (You can read more about Hank here.)

What do you think of audiobooks with multiple narrators and radio theatre? Do you prefer this format or a single narrator?

If you like Redwall, check out these obscure gems:


Urchin of the Riding Stars (The Mistmantle Chronicles, Book 1)

Note: these are not available in audio format that I am aware of.



  1. The new covers are nice. I had to replace my copy of Redwall, and I've had some new readers for the series. Several years ago, I had such a strong group of students reading the series that I had to e mail parents when Jacques died! I didn't want to have to break the news!

  2. That must have been a difficult email! There was some definite mourning in our household when that occurred as well. And I enjoy the new covers as well!