Read High Rhulain by Brian Jacques Free Online
Book Title: High Rhulain|
Date of issue: March 27th 2007
ISBN 13: 9780441014361
The author of the book: Brian Jacques
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 554 KB
Read full description of the books High Rhulain:"When autumn's day grows old,
sad orchard leaves do fall.
Dawn breaks o'er silent gardens,
bereft of sweet birdcall.
Stark winter's dirge then wails,
until the earth appears,
white clad 'neath drifted dunes,
whilst trees bear crystal spears.
My chamber is a refuge here,
against the snowbound night,
a flickering cave of crimson gold,
made warm by firelight,
where images are conjured,
of friends I used to know.
I battled and I marched with them,
one dusty long-ago.
I see them now arise again,
in memory that ne'er will fail.
Their legend is reborn anew,
and thus begins my tale."
—from High Rhulain
Brian Jacques continues introducing us to new corners of the Redwall universe. This time it's faraway Green Isle, ancestral home of the otter clans, a land of legend to the denizens of Redwall Abbey, who aren't sure the place exists. But exist it certainly does, and much of the action in High Rhulain is set there. Green Isle once was a destination of freedom and joyous community for otters, but that changed generations ago when a horde of cutthroat wildcats arrived, greedy to steal the peace-loving beasts' kingdom. The wildcats took a stranglehold on Green Isle, forcing the otters into slavery, where they continue to be oppressed to this day under the loathsome tyranny of Riggu Felis, a warrior cat without conscience. Cruel as he always was, Riggu Felis's rage is whipped into greater frenzy at the beginning of High Rhulain when a majestic osprey named Pandion Piketalon inflicts horrific wounds on Riggu after he captures and tortures Pandion. The bird's razor talons do irreparable damage to Riggu Felis's face, disfiguring him for life, but this only heightens the sadistic cat's savagery and desire to torment innocent creatures.
"Any weapon is the best weapon, as long as ye can use it skillfully and with honour".
—High Rhulain, P. 39
Fortunately for the downtrodden otter population, they have a champion whom Riggu Felis cannot ignore. Leatho Shellhound and his band of perilous "outlaw" otters are too smart to get caught, operating on the periphery of Riggu Felis's Green Isle fortress to slay wildcat guards and free otter slaves. Leatho's comrades are a boisterous bunch, loudly celebrating their small victories and thumbing their noses at the wildcat overlords who can't neutralize the threat they pose, but there's an underlying seriousness to their work. As long as hundreds of otters remain captive in Riggu Felis's palace, the enemy possesses all the leverage. But otter lore from a long ago era prophesied the delivery of the clans from their oppressors with the coming of a queen known as the High Rhulain, a military strategist and charismatic personality capable of confronting evil and leading her fellow otters to victory. Leatho Shellhound and his rogue followers await the emergence of that queen now, for at no time in the history of Green Isle has there been a worse threat to the existence of its otter inhabitants. How much longer do they have to wait for their High Rhulain?
Within the peaceful walls of Redwall Abbey, a young ottermaid named Tiria Wildlough grows restless. She loves living with her friends in the abbey, but can't shake the feeling that she's destined for more. That instinct is confirmed when Redwall's storied champion of yesteryear, the mouse known as Martin the Warrior, appears to Tiria in a dream and offers a vague yet undeniable mandate for her future. The abbey residents put their heads together to discern the dream's meaning, for Martin the Warrior never speaks without urgent purpose. Digging through long-forgotten historical records in musty old corners of the abbey, the Redwallers are on the right track to discovering Tiria's special destiny, but fate will not allow Tiria to wait until all is revealed before taking her place where she is needed as the leader prophesied to the otters of Green Isle. Leaving her friends to solve the rest of the puzzle, Tiria embarks on a journey toward the island of her forefathers' birth, beyond the forbidding Western Sea.
"May fair winds attend thee always,
may thy days be bright and long,
may good weapons ever serve thee,
may thy limbs wax fleet and strong.
I will dream of thee by moonlight,
I will watch for thee by day,
until on thy returning,
I will come to thee and say,
'Drink ye the wine of victory,
now lay aside thy sword,
for home and hearth and friendship
are the warrior's reward!'"
—High Rhulain, P. 265
As Leatho Shellhound's gang does its best to thwart the encroaching brutality of Riggu Felis against his otter slaves, Tiria makes her way over land and sea, meeting spectacular and outrageous allies and foes. Stocking up on supplies at the mountain fortress Salamandastron, she departs with dozens of plucky hare warriors to aid her rescue mission, setting sail across the Western Sea in the direction of Green Isle. But the situation there is far different and more dire than Tiria anticipated. Civil war is broken out within Riggu Felis's kingdom, his wife and two sons feuding over positions of authority, and this political unrest has given Leatho Shellhound and his outlaws an opening to attack. Riggu Felis has not idly observed the otter offensive, however. Riggu has maneuvered the outlaw otters into a position that suits him fine, readying for the crushing blow against them just as Tiria makes her presence known. Now it's a battle to the death for control of Green Isle, which could once again become otterdom's peaceful home if they win this most crucial of wars. But any combat coup invariably means the loss of lives, even individuals we can't imagine our new free society without. Where will Tiria, her otter kingdom, and the stouthearted hares of the Salamandastron Long Patrol be when the dust settles and the death toll is confirmed?
Though Tiria finds many allies as she treks toward Green Isle to confront the enemies of her people, two stand out as memorable: Lord Mandoral, badger master of Salamandastron, and Major Cuthbert Cuthbert Frunk W. Bloodpaw (and assorted aliases), a renegade hare formerly of the Long Patrol. It seems no Redwall warrior is duly commissioned until he or she has been in the presence of a Salamandastron badger lord, a tradition dating back to at least Martin the Warrior and the origin story of his immortal sword. We know we're witnessing new legends being formed whenever a Redwall warrior visits Salamandastron, and Tiria's tenure with Lord Mandoral is a watershed moment of High Rhulain. Major Cuthbert, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is one of the strangest hares in any Redwall novel, but his is a sad and compelling tale of a goodnatured beast driven mad by a senseless murder, yet a hero through and through despite his extreme eccentricities. High Rhulain would not be the same book without Major Cuthbert and his almost supernaturally powerful contribution to Tiria's charge against the stronghold of Riggu Felis.
High Rhulain isn't the best Redwall book, but I'd consider giving it two and a half stars. Brian Jacques's writing is pearlescent, of course, the descriptive language lush and sensual, but that's expected by any longtime reader of the series. There's some good, unpredictable action in High Rhulain, characters with potential to be among the most memorable in all the annals of Redwall, and the story has its poignant moments. Though in my opinion the Redwall series reached its peak in the first eight installments, it is worth continuing to read even eighteen books in, and I wouldn't miss volume nineteen, Eulalia! There's no reading experience quite like Redwall.
Read information about the authorBrian Jacques (pronounced 'jakes') was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact.
Brian grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks, where he attended St. John's School, an inner city school featuring a playground on its roof. At the age of ten, his very first day at St. John's foreshadowed his future career as an author; given an assignment to write a story about animals, he wrote a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile's teeth. Brian's teacher could not, and would not believe that a ten year old could write so well. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story, he was caned as "a liar". He had always loved to write, but it was only then that he realized he had a talent for it.
He wrote Redwall for the children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, where as a truck driver, he delivered milk. Because of the nature of his first audience, he made his style of writing as descriptive as possible, painting pictures with words so that the schoolchildren could see them in their imaginations. He remained a patron of the school until his death.
Brian lived in Liverpool, where his two grown sons, Marc, a carpenter and bricklayer, and David, a professor of Art and a muralist, still reside. David Jacques' work can be seen in Children's hospitals, soccer stadiums, and trade union offices as far away as Germany, Mexico, and Chile (not to mention Brian's photo featured in most of his books).
Brian also ran a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Merseyside, until October 2006, where he shared his comedy and wit, and played his favourites from the world of opera - he was a veritable expert on The Three Tenors.
When he was wasn't writing, Brian enjoyed walking his dog 'Teddy', a white West Highland Terrier, and completing crossword puzzles. When he found time he read the works of Mario Puzo, Damon Runyon, Richard Condon, Larry McMurty, and P.G. Wodehouse. He was also known to cook an impressive version of his favourite dish, spaghetti and meatballs.
Sadly, Brian passed away on the 5th February 2011.
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