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Mariel of Redwall

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This article is about the book. For the character, see Mariel Gullwhacker.


Mariel of Redwall, US cover

Year Published: 1991
Illustrator: Gary Chalk
US Cover Artist: Troy Howell
UK Cover Artist: Pete Lyon
Page Count: 387
ISBN: ISBN 0399221441
ISBN-13: ISBN 9780399221446
Chronological Order: 6
Publication Order: 4


Mariel of Redwall, UK cover


Book Divisions (English)

  • Book 1: The Maid from the Sea
  • Book 2: The Strange Forest
  • Book 3: The Sound of a Bell!

Book 1: The Maid from the Sea

The Mousemaid

The story opens by introducing Gabool the Wild, the nefarious King of Searats, who stands at the top of a cliff and watches as a small mousemaid frantically tries to survive in the seas at the bottom of the cliff. The pirate king returns to his fortress, Fort Bladegirt, where one of his captains named Bludrigg demands plunder. Gabool feigns an air of compliance, but suddenly beheads Bludrigg. After this short incident, he interrogates Joseph the Bellmaker and attempts to force him to build a bell tower for the enormous bell he captured. Failing in this, he successfully persuades the Bellmaker to interpret the symbols on the bell in exchange for the latter’s daughter. He then shoves the old mouse off of a cliff.

In the meantime, the mousemaid is rendered unconscious when a piece of flotsam strikes her on the head. She washes up onto the shores, wakes up, and unties the rope around her neck. When a predatory gull arrives, she swings the rope and strikes the unfortunate bird, which hurriedly flies away. Suffering from severe polydipsia, the mousemaid searches for water, finds a small pool of it, and fends off another gull with her trusty rope, which she dubs the Gullwhacker. Cogitating on her forgotten identity, the amnesiac mouse names herself Storm Gullwhacker and promptly falls asleep on the dunes.

When weary Storm awakens, she finds herself surrounded by trident-wielding toads, led by one disgruntled Oykamon. The mousemaid launches a trenchant attack, but is stabbed in the footpaw and beleaguered by hundreds of toads. She is rescued by Colonel Clary, Brigadier Thyme, and Hon Rosie, hares of the Long Patrol. They bandage her foot and decide to bring her to Redwall through Pakatugg Treefleet. A reclusive, pedant squirrel, Pakatugg is concerned about security and secrecy to an extreme degree. In exchange for all of the hares’ supplies, he offers to take Storm to Redwall Abbey with the proviso that she is blindfolded.

At Terramort Isle, Saltar the corsair, brother of Bludrigg, arrives with the Darkqueen. Saltar duels Gabool, but is treacherously killed in a trap. Immediately afterward, the report comes in that Captain Greypatch has stolen the Darkqueen, Gabool’s flagship. Gabool tells his captains that whoever kills Greypatch will be made second-in-command of all searats.

Redwall

Storm and Pakatugg are obdurate and intransigent creatures, and they soon part ways, none too peacefully! She attempts to find the way to Redwall by herself, and meets an eccentric hare named Tarquin L. Woodsorrel. Tarquin is perpetually composing maudlin love ballads about Hon Rosie, and immediately offers to take Storm to Redwall after she mentions the beloved hare.

The two reach Redwall without further incident, and Tarquin converses with the badger mother Mellus while Storm gets acquainted with Dandin and Saxtus, two mice. Despite the mousemaid’s aversion of baths and an altercation with a spoiled squirrelmaid named Treerose, Storm quickly grows accustomed to life at Redwall. That night, Dandin, Saxtus, and Storm enjoy themselves at the Abbot’s Jubilee Feast until Saxtus recites a strange, prophetic poem. The mousemaid lets out a sudden cry and falls unconscious. The poem, coincidentally, told the story of Storm’s life.

The blind herbalist, Simeon, convinces Storm to tell them her newly remembered life-story. Storm reveals that her real name is Mariel, and recounts her peregrination aboard the Periwinkle with her father, Joseph the Bellmaker. The Periwinkle is bound on a course for Salamandastron to deliver a massive bell to the current badger lord, Rawnblade Widestripe. Unfortunately, they are overtaken and boarded by a pirate ship under Saltar, who kills the Periwinkle crew after a brief struggle. Joseph and Mariel are taken to Terramort, and she is forced to serve at Gabool’s table.

One day, Gabool picks a fight with a pirate named Skullgor, and Mariel unintentionally collides with the pirate king. Gabool finishes off Skullgor and comes after the hapless mousemaid, who is not willing to go down without a fight. Mariel snatches up Skullgor’s sword from the ground and manages to stun Gabool, but is knocked out herself by the villain’s henchmen. Embarrassed by his unexpected loss to a mere mousemaid, Gabool ties a heavy rock to Mariel’s leg and throws her into the sea. The rock is dashed to pieces on another rock during her fall, and Mariel concludes her intriguing narrative.

The Quest Begins

Northwest of Redwall, Greypatch lands in Mossflower Woods aboard the Darkqueen, and is hotly pursued by Garrtail aboard the Greenfang. By dint of his superior tactics, Greypatch easily massacres the crew of the Greenfang and sets the ship itself ablaze. Pakatugg spots the ship and follows the searat scouts, but is captured. When he is interrogated, the squirrel cracks under the pressure and reveals the location of Redwall.

Back at Redwall, Mariel attempts to immediately leave to slay Gabool. Dandin, Mother Mellus, Tarquin, and Simeon convince her to search for information on the whereabouts of Terramort before starting. All the inhabitants of Redwall search the gatehouse for a helpful clue, and a scroll by Fieldroan the Traveler is finally found. Mariel plans to leave the next day, alone. However, Martin the Warrior has other plans. During the night, his spirit visits Simeon and prompts the herbalist to give Dandin his deadly sword.

Early the next morning, Mariel starts off on her quest and meets Tarquin L. Woodsorrel along the path. She adamantly insists that she must make the trip alone, but the hare accompanies her anyways. About lunchtime, they walk into Dandin, who has been waiting for them with a full picnic ready. As they continue down the road, they meet up with Durry Quill, a Redwall hedgehog. Though furious initially, Mariel finally resigns herself to the fact that the trio will come with her, no matter what she says. The travelers come to a river and are abruptly confronted by a murderous heron named Iraktaan. The travelers’ combined efforts are sufficient to subdue the vicious bird, and Durry nearly loses his life crossing the pike-infested ford. After a nerve-wracking encounter with an adder and long hours of walking, the four find the “otter and his wife,” monolithic sculptures that were mentioned in the Terramort poem.

Book 2: The Strange Forest

The Flitchaye

After making their report to Lord Rawnblade, Clary, Thyme, and Rosie investigate the wreck of the Greenfang and trace its destruction to the Darkqueen, which has been left unguarded by Greypatch. Greypatch arrives at Redwall and parleys with the Abbot in a bid to have the Abbey’s gates opened, but is injured by a lapideous turnip. An opprobrious troublemaker named Bigfang inveigles the crew to abandon Greypatch and return to the ‘’Darkqueen’’. However, the Darkqueen has been commandeered by the three hares, who loose arrows at the approaching searats. After a long standoff, in which both sides maneuver to gain the upper hand, Kybo the searat convinces the crew to abandon the Darkqueen and return to Greypatch.

Mariel and her companions follow the path and enter a dense forest. In this forest, they detect a strange, cloying smell that causes heavy drowsiness. The party fall asleep, and they wake up to find themselves trussed to a tree, surrounded by creatures shrouded in barkcloth and weeds. Mariel soon realizes that they have been captured by a tribe of runty, barbaric weasels called the Flitchaye, led by their leader Snidjer. After Tarquin attacks him with his long legs, Snidjer prepares to execute them. Dandin quickly recalls a stanza of Fieldroan’s poem that instructs them to beat on the hollow oak. Mariel breaks them free of their bonds and they beat furiously on the oak.

Help soon arrives in the form of a massive barn owl, Stonehead McGurney. The aptly named owl uses his head as a battering ram to fling the hapless weasels over the treetops. Those that are not incapacitated flee to their holes, where they hide. Despite the owl's bellicose nature, Dandin and company warm up to him and accept his offer (or rather, command) to come to lunch. After introducing them to his savage wife Thunderbeak and their four ravenous chicks, Stonehead offers to take them to the "swampdark" mentioned in the poem the next morning.

Down south in Salamandastron, Lord Rawnblade is missing. The Waveblade, under Captain Orgeye, is grounded near Salamandastron and the badger lord comes out of his mountain to do battle. Full of the Bloodwrath, Rawnblade slays the entire corsair crew singlehandedly and sets the ship on a course for Terramort.

Swampdark and the Sea

Near Redwall, the crew returns to Greypatch, who has formulated a fail-proof plan to take Redwall. The assault begins and the Redwallers are ready. Greypatch sends Bigfang to burn the gates with a shield of oarslaves. The pirate Kybo goes to the east wall with grappling hooks to mount a surprise attack, while Greypatch's company fires a barrage of projectiles as a distraction. The feint attack appears to be working, and Kybo's crew scales the east wall unnoticed. Unfortunately for the searats, three naughty Dibbuns equipped with knives appear and decide to save the Abbey. In their element, the deadly Dibbuns gleefully slice through the searats' ropes. It is a long drop to the forest floor below...

The Terramort questers are guided to swampdark, where Stonehead leaves them. The dim-lit swamp is treacherous, and Dandin almost loses his life in a bog. They reach the edge of the swamp, but are followed by silent lizards, who watch their every move. Mariel tries to challenge and intimidate them, but the lizards make no move. They leave the swamp and traverse some hills to reach the coastline. There, they meet a kindly old dormouse named Bobbo, who brings them home for tea. After introducing them to his pet newt Firl, Bobbo tells them his life story--he was captured by Gabool the Wild and became a galley slave, but was left for dead on shore.

As the rest turn in for the night, Mariel asks Bobbo for directions to Terramort. Bobbo tells her about a swallow ornament that "cannot fly south," a primitive compass. The next day, Bobbo leads them to a deep pool. At the bottom, the desired swallow is trapped between two rocks, guarded by an enormous lobster. The five animals throw food into the water to satiate the crustacean's appetite, and Mariel and Dandin descend into the murky, forbidding depths to retrieve the swallow.

Book 3: The Sound of a Bell!

The Search for the Swallow

After suffering an ignominious defeat, Greypatch hatches a new plan to attack the Abbey: fire-swingers! Greypatch convinces his skeptical minions to create scores of miniature boulders wrapped in flammable substances. Tied to vines and swung like oversized bolas, they make formidable incendiary weapons. The creatures of the Abbey form firefighting crews and struggle to extinguish the infernos made by the fiery projectiles. Since none of their weapons can match the range of a fire-swinger, the Redwallers are defenseless against the onslaught of missiles. However, Colonel Clary, Brigadier Thyme, and Hon Rosie make their way to the Abbey and construct special arrows out of yew staves. The well-trained hares stand on the Abbey ramparts and fire their far-reaching longbows, felling several of Greypatch’s rats. Pandemonium breaks out among the searats, and they retreat out of range of the Abbey.

As the beasts of the Abbey put up a valiant defense, Dandin and Mariel encounter unexpected difficulties in their pursuit of the swallow. Dandin, with sword in paw, protects Mariel as she tries to dislodge the swallow. Mariel finds that the metal swallow is wedged firmly between two rocks, and her vigorous motions attract the attention of the lobster. During the frenzied melee between Dandin and the lobster, the mouse drops the Sword of Martin and is immobilized, with the creature’s claws at his back.

Mariel catches up the sword and deals the lobster a terrible blow, allowing Dandin to be hauled up on the rope around his waist. Unfortunately, the lobster wheels around and locks onto the Sword of Martin. A tug-of-war ensues as Mariel is pulled up by her rope and the indomitable lobster clutches doggedly onto the opposite end of the sword. However, the fearsome creature capitulates after being pelted by several rocks from the surface. Mariel and Dandin gasp for air on the shore, without the swallow. With a twinkle in his eye, Bobbo hands them the swallow, explaining that Firl retrieved the swallow during the confusion. Bobbo then directs them to the burned out hulk of Greenfang, which remains seaworthy. After a tearful farewell, the four questers set sail for Terramort, directed by the magnetic swallow.

In the aftermath of Greypatch’s attack, the hares and Mother Mellus discuss strategy. Though Redwall is secure from any pirate assault, Mother Mellus voices her concern about the mistreated oarslaves held captive by Greypatch. With considerable aplomb, Clary readily agrees to do whatever he can to free them.

In the twilight, the three hares embark on a covert mission to the pirate camp. With the searats in a jaundiced state of mind after their defeat, it is easy for the hares to rouse tempers with a small dose of mimicry. The trio mimic prominent searats’ voices and eventually cause the entire camp to engage in a hearty brawl. As the vitriol mounts, Hon Rosie cannot contain her mirth and lets off a tremendous “Whoohahahahooh,” her signature, high-decibel laugh. All activity ceases and the hares are forced to flee. However, on the upshot, they rescue two shrews during the turmoil.

Greypatch is infuriated at the incident and orders tripwires and other sundry traps to be set around the camp perimeter. Upon discovering these devices, Clary has Foremole dig a tunnel to the oarslaves. In the middle of the night, sleepy rats are surprised to see pairs of slaves vanishing straight into the ground! Needless to say, Greypatch is not happy with this new development and tries to compel his rats to build a cage for the remaining oarslaves. He is opposed by Bigfang, who instantly voices the crew’s food concerns. The conflict escalates into a duel between Bigfang and Greypatch. Bigfang attempts to gain the advantage with his strength and vitality as Greypatch defends with his superior skill. Greypatch forces Bigfang into a campfire and kills him with a swift spear throw. Oak Tom grimly watches the outcome of the battle from the treetops.

Diverging Roads to Terramort

Meanwhile, the travelers to Terramort are having problems of their own. In the thick fog wreathing the ocean, Mariel and Tarquin are unable to see a large ship bearing down on them. One of Gabool’s ships named the Seatalon rams the Greenfang, and all four travelers are thrown into the sea. Dandin and Durry are captured by the pirate ship, and Mariel and Tarquin tread water, using the hare’s harolina as a float.

The Seatalon’s captain, Catseyes, takes Dandin’s sword for himself and consigns Dandin and Durry to the galleys as oarslaves. The two are treated cruelly by slavemaster Blodge and his puny assistant Clatt, who force the slaves to row for Terramort. At night, however, a hooded mouse with silvery fur comes aboard and hands out files to the slaves. He approaches Captain Catseyes, claiming to be a courier from Gabool. The eccentric mouse slays Catseyes with a thrust from a dagger, and leads a revolt to take over the Seatalon. Only then does he reveal his identity: Joseph the Bellmaker!

As for Mariel and Tarquin, they struggle to stay afloat and hold an animated conversation until they are lifted aboard the Waveblade by Lord Rawnblade. They array themselves in searat regalia and land at Terramort without being identified, despite a harrowing encounter with two pirate ships.

Last Stand of the Long Patrol

In the meantime, Colonel Clary, Brigadier Thyme, and the Honorable Rosie have run out of options. With Greypatch reaffirmed as leader, the oarslaves and Pakatugg find themselves in a resilient cage made of branches. The hares decide that they can only free the oarslaves at the cost of their lives. Heavily armed, they approach Greypatch’s camp and order Oak Tom, Treerose, and Rufe Brush to spirit away the oarslaves at their signal.

Entering the camp, they loose shaft after shaft into the charging corsairs from their deadly longbows. Clary tosses Pakatugg a knife, and the lean squirrel bravely volunteers to die with the hares. When the hares finally exhaust their supply of arrows, they fight with their lances. The hares and Pakatugg brandish their lances and charge straight into the middle of the pirate crew with one last cry of “Eulaliaaaa!”

Weeping, the three squirrels make their way to Redwall with the last of the oarslaves. Upon hearing the news of the long patrol’s last stand, Mother Mellus and Flagg set out in the direction of the searat camp. They stumble upon two searats preparing to deliver the coup de grace to Hon Rosie, but kill them before they have a chance. With the aid of Oak Tom and Rufe Brush, they carry Hon Rosie to Redwall and struggle to keep her alive. Left with eighteen corsairs out of his former hundred, Greypatch decides to pack up and return to the Darkqueen.

At Terramort, Gabool and his captains see the large form of Lord Rawnblade from afar. Three searat crews are dispatched to slay the badger. Now ashore, Rawnblade, Mariel, and Tarquin spot Dandin and and Durry. They meet up, with the hordes of searats just behind them, and run among some large rocks. Durry pushes aside a massive boulder, revealing the tunnel to Joseph’s secret hideout.

The Final Battle

As Durry breaks the news to Mariel that her father is alive, the exuberant mousemaid, thrilled beyond measure, snatches the party’s only torch and rushes down the tunnel. The rest suffer contusions as they bump around in the darkness, but eventually find their way to a large cavern. There, many reunions and introductions are made, and the newcomers meet the hundreds of Terramort Resistance Against Gabool (TRAG) fighters. Joseph relates his story, of how he narrowly missed being dashed to pieces on the rocks. He introduces his rescuer, the impassive vole Tan Loc, whose family was killed by Captain Hookfin of the Blacksail. Together, the two organized a large army of oarslaves dedicated to the destruction of Terramort.

After an argument over who will kill Gabool, Joseph uncovers his plan for a three-pronged assault on Fort Bladegirt through several underground tunnels. Mariel and Joseph will attack the fort from opposite sides as Tarquin batters down the main gates with a ram. Lord Rawnblade plans to break through the walls with a massive boulder and charge in. At first, the plan works perfectly and the searats are completely caught off guard. Unfortunately, their captains soon organize them into formidable forces.

As Mariel and Joseph’s slingers are cut down by arrow fire, Tarquin provides a loud distraction by ramming the gates. As Gabool fearfully watches, Rawnblade enters the battle. He hurls his weight against the enormous boulder, which blasts a hole in the wall and flattens a few unlucky rats. As the gates fall down, Rawnblade sends rats flying. Many captains fall that day, including Riptung, slain in a duel with Dandin, and Hookfin, who stumbles upon Tan Loc. Assailed by three searats at once, Joseph would have lost his life, were it not for the timely intervention of Mariel’s Gullwhacker.

Into Gabool's Lair

When the path is clear, Dandin, Mariel, Joseph, Durry, and Tarquin rush into the fort after Rawnblade, who went in before them. Rawnblade, full of the bloodwrath, fearlessly bangs on Gabool’s bell, challenging the pirate king. Gabool attempts to engage Rawnblade, but quickly retreats further into his lair after thrusting a sharp dagger into the badger’s chest. Fortunately, Rawnblade has a resilient breastplate that absorbs the impact. Mariel and the rest arrive as Rawnblade splits the door into two halves and sets hard on the heels of Gabool.

In the meantime, Gabool has set a trap. As his pursuers confront him, he taunts Rawnblade, who furiously charges toward him. When the badger steps on a carpet between him and Gabool, he plummets down into a dark pit. A scorpion, Skrabblag, resides in the pit, and quickly moves to attack. The spirit of Martin, however, takes control of Rawnblade and prompts the badger to fling the poisonous creature out of the pit and onto the face of Gabool. The scorpion strangles the searat with its twin claws, striking his cranium with its lethal stinger. Skrabblag detaches himself from Gabool’s head as the former pirate king convulses and dies from the arachnid’s venom. Dandin quickly kills the creature before it can do further harm, and the party leaves Terramort forever.

Durry, Tarquin, Dandin, and Joseph each commandeer one of the abandoned pirate ships, and they set sail for Redwall with the Trag warriors and the bell aboard. When they reach their destination, all Redwall comes to greet them. An enormous feast is prepared, thereafter known as the Feast of the Bell Rising, so named for Rawnblade’s generous gift to the Abbey. Dandin’s friend Saxtus becomes Abbot, and Rufe Brush ties Martin’s sword to the roof of the Abbey, where it is found by Samkim in the book Salamandastron. The famed Gullwhacker becomes the bellpull for the new Joseph Bell, and its owner goes with Dandin to seek out new adventures.

Translations

The Dutch translation by Annemarie Hormann does not include the final two chapters. Also, due to some alterations to the ending, the heroes never capture the Nightwake, the book ends with three ships sailing away as opposed to the four in the original version.

Characters in Mariel of Redwall

Release details


Books in the Redwall Chronicles, by Brian Jacques

Redwall | Mossflower | Mattimeo | Mariel of Redwall | Salamandastron | Martin the Warrior | The Bellmaker | Outcast of Redwall | Pearls of Lutra | The Long Patrol | Marlfox | The Legend of Luke | Lord Brocktree | Taggerung | Triss | Loamhedge | Rakkety Tam | High Rhulain | Eulalia! | Doomwyte | The Sable Quean | The Rogue Crew

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