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- When sunlight tinges the dawn of the day,
- Remember those brave ones now gone.
- We who recall them to mind, let us say,
- They were perilous beasts every one!
- - from Lord Brocktree
At almost 400 pages, the size of the book intimidated me initially. I set it aside for almost half the year, until summertime arrived, and I realized there was a novel in my possession I had yet to read, so I cracked it open.
That moment changed my life forever.
The larger than life characters of Gonff and Martin the Warrior leapt off the pages; vivid descriptions of Mossflower Country drew me right into this fantasy world of battling medieval rodents. Approximately 15-16 years later, I still haven't outgrown the stories.
Many people refer to Brian Jacques as their favorite "childhood author." Brian Jacques is and forever will be, my favorite author. There is no other writer I have followed with such passion or fervor; as a youth, the epic battles between good and evil were an adventure, and as an adult, they provided a needed escape from the realities of day-to-day life.
Around the same time I finished reading Mossflower, the internet was a new phenomenon across the United States and many parts of the world. Wanting to find out more about Redwall, using WebCrawler or Lycos I stumbled across the early version of David Lindsay's Redwall.org, shortly before it became the official Redwall website. Dave was conducting a contest: Submit a question for Mr. Jacques, and if chosen for him to answer, receive a Redwall Reader pen. Imagine my surprise when I was notified that my question was accepted!
Through the internet, Redwall fans from all across the globe were united, forming the foundation for the Redwall Online Community. Because of my interest in the Web and Redwall, I taught myself HTML 1.0, and made many friends over the years. Eventually, I started this website out of love for Redwall, and back in 2005 I had no idea I would interact with the many people who make Redwall happen, and the many fans who also share the same love for the series that I do. Frankly, it's been incredible.
In official biographies of Brian, his Liverpudlian past was often referenced, but it wasn't until the early 2000s that some of us realized he had published works prior to Redwall. Hunting down those books was no small task, and their contents revealed a man who truly put deep thought into what he wrote. Brian was more than just an author for children - he was a singer, a poet, a playwright, and a comedian who undoubtedly left his mark on Liverpool and the world.
I consider myself privileged for having the opportunity to attend not just one, but two Brian Jacques book signings - and fortunate that he (and Liz) actually made the time to chat with me at those events.
Brian always said he would never stop writing Redwall as long as his fans kept reading, and I never wanted to quit reading.
Thank you Brian, for not only your contributions to literature and music, but for inspiring a lad who can only hope to one day be as successful as you have. Cheers matey, this one's for you.
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