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MarlfoxUS


Marlfox, US Cover

Year Published: 1998
Illustrator: Chris Baker
US Cover Artist: Troy Howell
UK Cover Artist: Chris Baker
Page Count: 386
ISBN: ISBN 0399233075
ISBN-13: ISBN 9780399233074
Chronological Order: 13
Publication Order: 11
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MarlfoxUK


Marlfox, UK Cover


Book Divisions (English)

  • Act 1: Enter the Players
  • Act 2: Four Chieftains Going Forth
  • Act 3: The Queen's Island

(NOTE: At the very end of the book there is a disclaimer which reads:

Curtain!

This narrative has been edited by Florian Dugglewoof Wilffachop, Actor Manager Impresario. Who insists that the entire tale is a drama, which he will be later performing as a play, hence the three parts being named as acts rather than books. We crave your indulgence for this deviation.)

Summary

The Marlfoxes are a group of evil, grey foxes who are rumored to be able to turn themselves invisible. They are sent on a mission from their demanding mother Silth, who lives on a secret island in the middle of the Great Inland Sea. Their mission: to bring back objects of beauty for Silth.

Meanwhile, a group of traveling performers encounters two Marlfoxes, but the foxes retreat when they see they are outnumbered and out-weaponed. Elsewhere in Mossflower Woods, Janglur Swifteye and his family encounter two of the Marlfoxes, but manage to scare them off. They meet up with Log-a-Log and his tribe of shrews, who lost their logboats to the Marlfoxes and their army of water rats some time before. Later still, these two groups meet up with the performing troupe, whose cart has become stuck in the mud. The entire company travels en masse to Redwall, which they discover is being unofficially led by the former Badger Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, as the previous Abbot failed to appoint a successor when he died. They warn the Redwallers of the danger of the Marlfoxes.

The Marlfoxes and their water rat army travel north. They arrive at Redwall Abbey, and take a baby captive, ordering the Redwallers to give them treasure in return for the baby's safe return. The Redwallers rightly suspect the Marlfoxes will not keep their end of the bargain. Cregga rescues the baby while the shrews, performing troupe, and the Redwallers charge the Marlfoxes in a battle. Heavy losses are inflicted on the goodbeasts, but one Marlfox, Ziral, is killed, which ends the fight abruptly as the rats retreat.

While the battle rages outside, the foxes Ascrod and Vannan, along with two water rats, sneak into the abbey. They slay one Redwaller and knock three guards unconscious, before stealing the tapestry of Martin the Warrior. When they return to camp, their elder brother Mokkan feigns injury and escapes with the tapestry, half the army, and the boats. In doing this, he abandons his siblings Ascrod, Vannan, Gelltor, and Predak with no means of following him. They vow to conquer Redwall to make the Redwallers pay for Ziral's death, enslave the Redwallers, then return to Marlfox island in force and overthrow Mokkan.

After the battle, the loss of the tapestry is discovered, as is the body of Log-a-Log, who was murdered by the treacherous deserter Fenno during the conflict. Two squirrels named Songbreeze "Song" Swifteye and Dannflower "Dann" Reguba, and a young shrew Dippler, set out after Mokkan, trying to retrieve the tapestry and avenge Log-a-Log, after Dann has a dream about "four chieftains going forth" on a quest. They meet Burble, a water vole, who joins in on their quest. However, they run afoul of the other water voles when they fail to be tricked by a con their leader was trying to pull, and have to run for their lives.

Whilst the four friends are hiding in a marshy side stream, the ferret Raventail and his band capture Dippler and Burble, but Song and Dann manage to escape. Later, they rescue their friends, and Dann beats Raventail almost to death, but the ferret gets away. On their journey, they meet a kind giant hedgehog Sollertree, who lives alone with his pet frog Croikle. Sollertree tells them of how vermin captured his daughter Nettlebud, and how he became a hermit after searching for seasons trying to find her with no success. He also fights off three weasels that attempt to rob them, and leads them to the house of an old otterwife Goodwife Brimm, who replenishes their supplies.

Meanwhile, the remaining Marlfoxes lay siege to Redwall, and make several attempts to enter the grounds. Their ingenious schemes are repeatedly foiled by the Redwallers, who, led by Cregga, the performing troupe's resident hare Florian, and Song's father Janglur, manage to stay one step ahead of their tricks. Gelltor is killed in a duel with Janglur, and his remaining siblings join up with Raventail's band and some other vermin that the ferrets have recruited, augmenting their army. They attempt to chop down a tree to smash the wall in, knowing the Redwallers can't attack or shoot them at that range. This panics Janglur, until it is discovered a massive beehive and equally massive termite mound are both connected to the tree. The insects wreak havoc on the Marlfoxes and their army, causing many casualties and deaths. Finally, the vermin manage a secret night assault, stealthily killing the deputy Log-a-Log Bargle and all of the wallguards on duty. They are foiled in their almost perfect plan to take over the Abbey when a restless Friar Butty, not usually awake at that hour, goes for a walk and spots them. He manages to escape and warns the other Redwallers that they are under siege. Cregga and Janglur's mother Ellayo slay Ascrod with a longbow when he demands a surrender. Janglur, Florian, and Dann's father Rusvul Reguba lead a desperate charge against the other Marlfoxes and their army of rats and ferrets, though the odds are stacked against them. Reinforcements arrive in the shape of Skipper and his crew of otters, who were away on an annual retreat but had been summoned back to help. After a bitter struggle, otters slay Vannan and Predak, and Cregga kills Raventail, forcing the surviving vermin to surrender. Florian orders the survivors to get rid of their dead and repair all the damage the Marlfox siege caused the Abbey.

Back in Mossflower, Song is separated from her friends during the journey while trying to rescue an injured osprey, Mighty Megraw. She and Megraw are swept away on the currents of a waterfall. Fortunately, both of them are rescued by cormorants, who set them free after some debate as to their being enemies or friends. However, Megraw's wing is damaged and he cannot fly. He claims he went to sleep on Marlfox Island and was subsequently injured by Athrak, a magpie who the Marlfox Queen Silth employs to guard her island. He also claims that he could - and will - kill Athrak and his flock if he encounters them while awake.

Trying to find Song after they lose sight of her at the waterfall, Dann, Dippler and Burble take an unintended detour through an underground cave system, thanks to the strong current of the river. Once on the other side of the caves, they encounter Fenno, whom Dippler promptly duels and slays, avenging Log-a-Log. Soon after, they are forced to run for their lives when an army of lizards and toads chases them, but are rescued when Megraw waddles in and attacks the swamp animals. Megraw reunites them with Song, and introduces them to some creatures he and Song met along the way. They are Song's grandfather Gawjo, and Torrab and her family of hedgehogs. Gawjo had been separated his son Janglur and his wife Ellayo some seasons back, and could not find them. He adopted the hedgehogs after he heard that the hedgehogs' parents were slain by Marlfoxes, and had sworn to end the Marlfox regime someday.

After several adventures of his own, Mokkan returns home, and finds that Silth has been killed by his youngest sister, Lantur. Lantur had stayed behind when the others left the island, and had outwitted Silth earlier by poisoning one of two goblets and playing a mind game with Silth to get her to accidentally take the poisoned one. Lantur announces Silth's death and her spies order the other rats to proclaim her Queen. Mokkan appears suddenly during her coronation, and promptly kills her by pushing her off the shore into the water, where she is eaten by the pike that infest the lake. Mokkan then proclaims himself King, but is soon haunted by nightmares of the siblings he betrayed, and the beasts he murdered. The nightmares seem to come alive when the healed Megraw flies in and kills the magpie guards, and Gawjo leads the rest of the group in an assault against Marlfox island. Dann frees Mokkan's slaves from their cages using the Sword of Martin, which he had taken from the Abbey earlier. Dippler, Burble, and Song retrieve the tapestry and chase after Mokkan. Mokkan escapes in a boat, but a former slave, who turns out to be Sollertree's daughter Nettlebud, throws a slave's chain and manacle, knocking him out, making him fall in the Great Inland Sea to be eaten by the pikes there.

The surviving water rats surrender, and are left on the island to gladly become farmers and beasts of peace, as their way of life was barely better than the slaves' under the Marlfox regime. Megraw, discovering the abundance of pike to feast on in the lake, becomes the ruler of the island, promising to visit Song at Redwall some day. The companions return home to Redwall with the rest of the slaves, leaving Burble behind with the other water voles, whom he takes over as a more benevolent chieftain than their former leader. They also pick up Sollertree on the way, and he is overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter.

Upon the band's arrival at Redwall, Gawjo is happily reunited with Ellayo and Janglur. Because he avenged Log-a-Log, Dippler, much to his surprise, becomes the new Log-a-Log over the shrews by law. Furthermore, in reward for their heroic deeds, Dann is named Abbey Champion and Song is named the new Abbess of Redwall, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Four Chieftains. Now that they are no longer needed to help defend the Abbey, Florian and his performing troupe attempt to go on tour again, but are foiled in this attempt when their old cart finally disintegrates. They return to Redwall for an indefinite stay, and Florian writes the whole narrative of the Marlfox adventure down, planning to produce it as a play.

Characters in Marlfox

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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