I’m saddened to receive news of the passing of Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series (21 novels and counting!), the Flying Dutchman trilogy, and the Urso Brunov children’s books. His books, particularly the early Redwall ones, Mossflower especially, were some of the earliest fantasy I read and had a major impact on my childhood imaginative life. At some point I hope to begin rereading them, possibly to review on The Warden’s Walk but mainly for the sheer pleasure.
What always struck me most about his stories is how much he loved the sheer act of telling them. Warmth and joy seeped from every sentence. He felt like a reader of his own stories, not just some impersonal writer coldly imparting recorded material. It was like he was there right beside you, reveling in the landscape’s beauty, salivating at the many feasts he described, laughing at the characters’ humorous shenanigans, enthralled by the unfolding mysteries, and cheering the heroes’ victory. His characters also had strong moral standards and fought to uphold them, despite often overwhelming odds. Yes, he often used cliches and was prone to repeating himself (to be understood after 21 novels about the same abbey always under threat), but never did I feel that he, the author, was not engaged in the story. Throughout his 25 year-long career, he created characters and images that remain indelibly vivid and wonderful in my mind. The world of young adult fantasy literature is all the richer for the mark he left. As am I.