I haven’t read a book by Brian Jacques in years, but I’ve never forgotten about them. I still remember going into a small used bookstore in Michigan when I was about 12 and finding Redwall. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. I had a hard time even handing it over so my father could pay for it. I have many memories involving Jacques’ books, but none are more important than being terrified of Cluny the Scourge as a villain and so in love with Matthias as a main character.
Once I finished, I had to get all his books and was always overjoyed when another one came out. Nothing was better than discovering a writer who wrote and aided in fostering my already epic love of anything having to do with rodents or badgers. I couldn’t get enough of his imaginative series where animals were warriors, good overcame all odds, and bravery was always rewarded. I couldn’t get enough of the otters, squirrels, hedgehogs, badgers, wildcats, mice, rats, moles, and ferrets.
My first book signing was Brian Jacques reciting the entire first chapter of Redwall from memory, speaking like a mole for a few minutes, and signing my stack of books. He was such a magical person and even thinking about him being gone makes me tear up.
R.I.P. Brian Jacques. Thank you for being awesome, prolific, and one of my first as well as favorite writers ever. I think I’ll be re-visiting Redwall and most of its sequels again soon.