The Long Patrol is the tenth book in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. It is the sequel to Pearls of Lutra. It was published in 1997 by Philomel.
“The murderous Rapscallion army is on the move. Dealt a humiliating defeat by Lady Cregga Rose Eyes, the Badger Lady of Salamandastron, who still pursues them, the Rapscallions are heading inland to take an even greater prize: the peaceful Abbey of Redwall.
The Long Patrol, that fighting unit of perilous hares, is called out to draw them off—and fight them to the death if need be!
It is the young hare Tammo, who has always dreamt of being a member of the Long Patrol, who gets his chance, and who, by fate and happenstance, takes up the lead sword in one of the most ferocious battles Redwall has ever faced. Eulallllllllia is his cry.”
What I Liked:
Keep up the overarching plots, Jacques, because it’s working well! The Redwall sidebar was slightly irrelevant (well, the Tansy and Co.: Adventures in Kotir was), but overall, once again Jacques maintained a tight focus. There was also an awesome sense of urgency created by the collapsing wall that made for some nice tension.
Hares! So many hares! So many hares that they were hard to tell apart, but hares are probably my favorite creatures in Redwall so a whole book devoted to them is a plus. What is unique about this book is that, for once, the main hero is not someone who carries the Sword of Martin. Tammo is the main hero (well, all the hares are, really); Arven carries the Sword but is really not even focused on all that much.
What I Didn’t Like:
So, what with Russa carrying on about Tammo not being a killer and that he doesn’t have to join the Long Patrol, you would think that at the end of the book Tammo would not join the LP. That’s how these things usually work. But he does, and it just left me confused. Maybe that was just Russa seeing her past self in Tammo?
Damug has probably the most anticlimactic villain exit ever. Cregga just grabs him and jumps; he doesn’t even get a prolonged fight or taunt.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Violence/fighting, war, death
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Tansy drew herself up grandly, spikes abristle and eyes alight. “Nonsense! Show me the wall this instant!”
The group wandered up and down the length of the high battlemented south wall for the remainder of the afternoon, talking and debating and pointing earnestly. The final conclusion was inescapable. The wall was sinking, bellying inward too. They probed the mortar between the stone joints, stood on top of the wall, and swung a weighted plumb line from top to bottom. Then, placing their faces flat to the wall surface and each one squinting with one eye, they gauged the extent of the stone warp. Whichever way they looked at it there was only one thing all were agreed upon. The south wall was crumbling!
The Sergeant’s tone was almost an outraged squeal. “Get those dirty great sweaty dustridden paws out o’ that water! It’s for drinkin’, not sloshin’ about in. Trowbaggs, what’n the name o’ seasons are you up to, bucko?”
“Wrappin’ m’self up in me groundsheet, Sarge. Good night!”
Veins stood out on the Sergeant’s brow as he roared at the hapless blunderer, “Sleepin’? Who said you could sleep, sah? Get that equipment cleaned, lay out yore mess kit, line up for supper! Forget sleep, Trowbaggs, stay awake! Yore on second watch!”
The Long Patrol is a great blend of humor, tension, and action with the ever-memorable hares as the stars and the continuation of a focused, overarching plot that has made certain Redwall books shine for me. However, Damug had a bit of a lackluster exit and some of Tammo’s development didn’t make much sense to me.
You can buy this here: Long Patrol (Redwall)