The Redwall series is one of, if not the, longest running series of 300+ page books by just one author that I am aware of. Although I consider Brian Jacques a fantastic writer, I personally find it strange that he continued writing them for so long. I suppose I should go over the series to explain what I mean.
Redwall, published in 1986, was a fantastic book for kids. Brian did write a direct sequel three years later, but before that, he did something unexpected---he gave us a prequel telling us the history of how the Abbey came to be. Over the next decade or so, Brian continued to give us more fantastic prequels and did another sequel (to one of the prequels). But, post 2000, things started going rather downhill.
Following Lord Brocktree, Mr. Jacques apparently lost interest in writing prequels, and for the next decade, just continued to write sequels that didn't connect to each other; what was once an interesting series was now a series that was clearly following a formula, introducing a new cast with each book, occasionally giving the earlier works a nod, but moving on without any particular destination in mind. Brian had often been asked when he would end the series, and his answer had always been along the lines of, "Why should it end?" Considering we were learning little new about the characters we were familiar with, were never being able to reunite with the same cast again, and now were looking at a series that had become something of a cookie-cutter franchise, that question seemed to have found an answer. Yet Jacques clearly still had no intention of stopping by the time the new decade rolled around, and he had bypassed twenty novels.
Jacques tragically passed away in February 2011. I was crushed when I discovered this a month later---I had personally met him back in 2005. With his death, the series officially ended. But Jacques, at 72, was still very young. Assume he had died of old age, in his 90's or even 100's. Would he have still been writing the series at the time of his death?
If so, would it still end as it did? Or would Mr. Jacques have decided to go back, re-introduce old characters, make sequels, or general, have his series go somewhere intriguing?
Sadly, we can never know what could have been. Only Mr. Jacques knew the answer to how he planned to end the series, and he is gone. We only have one piece of information as to what would come after the posthumously published The Rogue Crew.
I am not trying to criticize Brian Jacques' writing in this essay. I am simply pointing out that he, as a brilliant writer, deserved better than to continue an endless cycle of books that simply seem too similar. I am also questioning what could have been had he not been taken from this earth. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.