Triss is the fifteenth book in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. It was published in 2002 by Philomel.
“Enslaved by the evil ferret King Agarnu and his daughter Princess Kurda—slavers of shackled hundreds—the brave squirrelmaid Triss, along with Shogg the otter and Welfo the hedgehog, plans a daring escape by sea.
At the same time, far away in Salamandastron, three young companions, Scarum the hare, Sagax the badger and Kroova the otter, are driven to sail away from their mountain home, too, but for a different reason: they are seeking the adventures of their lives! Something far from family and home.
And in Mossflower Woods, a pair of wandering Dibbuns accidentally discovers the long-lost entrance to Brockhall, the most ancient hall of the badger Lords.
The journeyers could not seem more remote from one another in pursuit or kind. Yet fate relentlessly draws them together when, in her flight from Kurda, Triss happens upon Redwall, and the abbey creatures discover a new hero in her. Someone brave enough to carry the sword of Martin and face the evil that threatens them.”
What I Liked:
So, Triss is the first female carrier-of-the-Sword-of-Martin, and Kurda is the second female main villain. That’s pretty cool.
My favorite part of the book was anything with the Freebooters, probably the most likeable group of villains in Redwall. Not only are they the only vermin group to actually mourn their captain’s loss, and seem genuinely devastated by his death, but they also write a poem about him. Captain Plugg is also great, in that he is very self-conscious about the loss of his tail and sticks it on with resin, but then in the heat of the moment, when he gets overexcited, he pulls it off and waves it around his head. Do we have fan art of that moment? We need fan art of that moment. Finally, Grubbage takes a place next to Blaggut in the friendly vermin category, as it is stated that he stays on with the Redwallers after the rest of the Freebooters are defeated.
Really, the Freebooters were the best part of the book. I also quite liked the fact that the rescue of the slaves was written in journal entry form, which was a nice departure from the usual.
Log a Log’s comment to Triss about justice versus revenge was really good, too, emphasizing the fact that Jacques has his good characters fight and kill honorably and justly.
What I Didn’t Like:
Scarum is by far the most annoying, unlikeable hare in the Redwall series. Jacques took the gag of the “bottomless stomach” that he uses with his hares and amped it up to eleven. Not only that, but Scarum and Sagax (and Kroova to an extent) are completely unnecessary characters. In fact, once they join up with Triss and Shogg, they’re barely mentioned at all (that is, Kroova and Sagax are. Scarum is the annoying comic relief mentioned far too often).
What is it with Jacques and anticlimactic endings? The adders spend three quarters of the book terrorizing the forest and die in three sentences, one for each adder. They were also far more dangerous and killed more creatures than did Kurda and Co., and yet Kurda got a more extensive death scene.
While the addition of the adders and Brockhall was interesting, it seemed a bit strange to have that the focus of the book, while the rescue of the slaves from Riftgard only takes up one chapter at the end. It’s more original than the usual Redwall fare, but it just seemed out of place.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Violence/fighting, death
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Th-there’s another sound, like somethin’ moving through the grass towards us!”
Then they smelt the odour, musty and bittersweet. It grew stronger. The grass swished in both directions, then it swished behind them, getting closer. Crikulus’s voice was tight with terror. He swallowed hard.
“That sound…th-the smell…We’re being hunted by somebeast we c-c-can’t see!”
Malbun felt every hair on her body standing up. The sounds and the vile, powerful smell were almost upon them. Her voice was little more than a petrified squeak. “There’s m-more than one of th-th-them. Yaaaaaaaah!”
Plugg set off at her side, but felt himself pulled back by Grubbage. He turned irately on the fat searat. “Will ye stop tuggin’ at me, wot is it?”
Grubbage held the tail up. “This just fell off, Cap’n, must’ve been the heat from that fire,” he whispered.
With a swift motion, Plugg grabbed the tail and punched Grubbage on the nose. “Why don’t ye shout a bit louder an’ let the ’ole woodlands know, bigmouth!”
Running stooped, Scummy panted as he fixed Plugg’s tail back in place, with the fox marching forward boldly. Scummy muttered to Grubbage, “I ‘ope this Redwall place ain’t too far!”
Grubbage nodded agreement. “Aye, mebbe we shoulda used tar!”
Triss has a fair number of useless characters, including two of the main “heroes,” and Triss herself rings of a Mary Sue. The entire plot is also a bit strange, as well as anticlimactic. The Freebooters, though, were great. Keep waving your tail around your head, Plugg Firetail.
You can buy this here: Triss: A Novel of Redwall