UK first edition cover
|Cover artist||Pete Lyon|
|Publisher||Hutchinson (UK) & Philomel (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||420 (UK Hardback) & 431 (US Hardback)|
|ISBN||0-09-172160-1 (UK Hardback) & ISBN 0-399-21549-2 (US Hardback)|
Cold winter, with the earth shrouded in freezing snow. Good creatures living in misery, hunger, and slavery under the tyrannical cruelty of the wildcat Queen, Tsarmina. The evil Castle Kotir, filled with vermin ready to do her bidding. Who would save the woodlanders from this dreadful regime?
The story begins in the Mossflower Wood, where a community of animals suffers under the tyranny of a ruling wildcat named Verdauga. When a mouse from the north, Martin the Warrior, comes to Mossflower Woods, he is captured and brought to the castle Kotir, where his sword is broken by Verdauga's daughter, Tsarmina, and he is imprisoned within the Kotir dungeons. Meanwhile, Tsarmina poisons Verdauga with the help of the vixen Fortunata and blames it on her brother Gingivere. She places her brother in prison and takes the throne for herself.
While in the dungeons, Martin eventually meets Gonff the Mousethief, who was imprisoned for stealing food from the Kotir storages. Meanwhile, Abbess Germaine and the surviving members of Loamhedge, an abbey stricken with a plague, arrive and join the woodlanders. Martin and Gonff escape with help from the Corim (Council Of Resistance In Mossflower) and join with Young Dinny the mole on a quest to find Boar the Fighter, Badger Lord of Salamandastron. Bella, Boar's daughter, believed only her father could defeat Tsarmina and put an end to her cruel reign.
The crew sets out on the quest to find Boar. They are pursued by Splitnose the stoat, Blacktooth the ferret, and their leader, Scratch the weasel. The trio eventually dies- Scratch by a swan, and Splitnose and Blacktooth in a duel. The crew eventually comes to a river with a ferry, where they meet a snake and a newt. They threaten to kill the travelers. Then, a shrew emerges and scares away the duo into the river, revealing the snake is a grass snake. The shrew introduces himself as Log-a-log Big Club, a former village leader, escaped oar slave and current ferryman. He joins the group on its quest. They sail on his boat, Waterwing to the mountains. The ship is broken in a waterfall. When Martin comes to, he is in a huge mountain ruled by bats, called Bat Mountpit. After Martin, Dinny and Log-a-log (Gonff is missing) help scare away the tawny owl that nests on the rooftop, they leave. They get ambushed by toads, and get thrown into the "Screamhole", where they reunite with Gonff. They meet the Snakefish, the massive eel who is trapped in the hole, and formulate a plan to escape. They eventually escape with the help of the Snakefish. The Snakefish wreakes havoc among the toads, who had captured it before. The group reaches the beach. They trek through the sand, attacked by birds. After a while, they come to a tide pool and meet a crab. The crab attacks them. It grabs one of the staves the group used. However, it couldn't let go, and acted strangely. Gonff ended up doing a dance with it. Deprived from food and water, they witness gulls kill a rat. They stay at the rat's hut, and continue the next day, with Salamandastron very near. The companions reach Salamandastron with the help of a few hares, and meet with Boar the Fighter. Boar introduces them to the hares that live in the mountain, and then reforges Martin's broken sword with metal from a meteorite, but is killed while fighting his mortal enemy Ripfang the searat who had attacked Salamandastron several times before. Ripfang's former oarslaves (including Martin's childhood friend Timballisto) and several members of Log a Log's former tribe take over the sea rat ship, Bloodwake, with help from Martin and his allies. They return to Mossflower Woods, where Martin kills Tsarmina and destroys Kotir by both flooding it and knocking over its walls with a ballista. In the final battle with Tsarmina, Martin is left near death. With the help of the woodlanders, he eventually recovers, but his memory is never the same thereafter, as evidenced in The Legend of Luke.
The book ends with Bella's son, Sunflash, finding Salamandastron and becoming its ruler.
Characters in Mossflower
- Martin the Warrior
- Gonff the Mousethief
- Tsarmina Greeneyes
- Bella of Brockhall
- Young Dinny
- Old Dinny
- Abbess Germaine
- Boar the Fighter
- Skipper the Otter
- Lady Amber
- Captain Cludd
- Verdauga Greeneyes
- Sunflash the Mace
- Lord Cayvear
- Scratch the Weasel
Scragg, one of the officers in Kotir, alternates throughout the story between a weasel, a stoat, and a ferret, although his rank stays the same.
Book divisions (English)
- Book 1: Kotir
- Book 2: Salamandastron
- Book 3: Of Water and Warriors
- (Dutch) Het Moswoud
- Het Moswoud: De Koningin van Duizend Ogen
- Het Moswoud: De Weg Naar de Vuurberg
- Het Moswoud: De Afrekening
- (Finnish) Sammalkukkametsän Sota
- (French) Rougemuraille : Martin le guerrier
- La Reine aux yeux multiples
- La Montagne de feu
- Le Retour triomphal.
- In den Fängen der Wildkatze
- Kotir: die Burg des Schreckens
- (Italian) Fior Muschiato
- (Norwegian) Moseblom
- (Swedish) Mossblomma
- (Russian) Котир: Война с Дикой Кошкой
- (Spanish) Mossflower
- 1988, UK, Hutchinson ISBN 0-09-172160-1, Hardback, il. by Gary Chalk
- 1988, US, Philomel ISBN 0-399-21549-2, Hardback, il. by Gary Chalk
- 2004, US, Philomel ISBN 0-399-24031-4, Hardback (green leatherette), il. by David Elliot
- "Brian Jacques: The Official Website". redwallabbey.com. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
Martin the Warrior
The Legend of Luke