I am truly heartbroken at this moment. BBC News has reported that Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series of novels, has died after a heart attack at age 71.
Jacques is very much the reason I’m even typing this on this website today. My love for fantasy, my fueled imagination, they were born in the halls of Redwall Abbey, the mountain peak of Salamandastron (also the title of my favorite in the series, pictured above), and the trees of Mossflower Woods.
The well-crafted world was just the tip of the iceberg, though, as it was the incredibly relate-able characters that made these stories great. These warrior mice, these foul searats, these noble Badger Lords and their military genius Long Patrol rabbits… they all spoke with a level of humanity untouched by other stories written for children. As I grew older, I continued to read the new books for quite some time, and while I eventually fell out-of-touch with my friends at Redwall Abbey, I never forgot what they meant to me.
I was truly privileged to have met Jacques at a reading and signing once. He was gracious and kind, a man astounded by these people coming to him and telling them how he had touched their lives through his written word. He also taught me how to properly say “Mattimeo” and “Salamandastron.”
I’ll even admit that my confirmation name of “Matthias” came to me first because of these novels. We have lost a true and amazing literary talent today, and I want to express my love and thanks for the stories that will live on forever after.