UK first edition cover
|Cover artist||David Wyatt|
|Publisher||Viking (UK) & Philomel (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||416 (UK Hardback) & 400 (US Hardback)|
|ISBN||0-670-91067-8 (UK Hardback) & ISBN 0-399-23723-2 (US Hardback)|
|Preceded by||The Taggerung|
Enslaved by the evil ferret  King Agarnu of Riftgard, and his cruel daughter, Kurda, the brave squirrelmaid Triss plans a daring escape by sea. At the same time, far away in Salamandastron, three young companions sail away from their mountain home too, but for a very different reason - they are seeking adventure.
Meanwhile, in Mossflower Woods, a pair of wandering Dibbuns accidentally discover the long-lost entrance to Brockhall, the most legendary home of the Badger Lords. The three groups of travellers are drawn together by fate, when Triss comes to Redwall, and the inhabitants of the abbey find that they have a new champion - someone brave enough to carry the sword of Martin the Warrior and face the evil that threatens them all.
At Riftgard, an isle in the far north, the ferret king, King Agarnu, and his cruel offspring, Princess Kurda and Prince Bladd hold sway over a Ratguard army and enslaved creatures. One of the slaves, Trisscar Swordmaid escapes with her friends Shogg and Welfo, southward to Mossflower. In the attempt, her friend Drufo is killed. Meanwhile, Kurda hires a pirate ship, the Seascab, captained by Plugg Firetail, to take her to Mossflower, where she must find the royal artifacts of Riftgard in order to seal her queenship.
In Redwall Abbey, rebellious Dibbuns Ruggum and Bikkle run away into Mossflower Woods. They discover Brockhall, the ancestral home of badgers, but are chased away by serpents. Fortunately, they are rescued by the Skipper of Otters and Log-a-Log Groo, and they bring with them a golden pawring with strange markings.
Sagaxus, heir to Salamandastron, and his friend Bescarum Lepuswold Whippscut (who go by Sagax and Scarum respectively), leave the mountain for adventure with Kroova Wavedog, in his ketch the Stopdog. Scarum's father, Colonel Whippscut of the Long Patrol, searches for them in the name of Lord Hightor, the Badger Lord. Sagax finds a bow on the ketch (the property of its previous owners) with similar markings to the pawring. They disregard it and decide to journey to Redwall, and on their way, they wind up in possession of a dagger with the same pattern.
Triss and her friends, in their ship, see the same markings. Triss is able to interpret them as an R, H, O, and R, standing for "Royal House of Riftgard". On the journey, they become dehydrated, but are rescued by the hedgehogs of Peace Island. Welfo remains with her newfound love, Urtica, while Triss and Shogg continue south. They cross paths with Kurda on the Seascab in the middle of a lightning storm, but the contraband vessel escapes.
Meanwhile, the Redwall denizens try to explore Brockhall, but it is inhabited by three serpents, one of which wears a crown with the Riftgard pattern. The adders, Zassaliss, Harssacss, and Sesstra, are the children of Berussca, an adder slain by and who in turn slew King Sarengo, Agarnu's father; they remain bound by Sarengo's mace and chain. Ovus, a tawny owl, brings Bluddbeak, an ancient red kite from afar to defeat the adders, but in their attempt, both birds die. Mokug, a golden hamster who had been Sarengo's slave, is rescued and brings with him a message in Riftgard script. Martin the Warrior visits Skipper's niece, Churk, in her dreams, giving the Redwallers the hint they need to decode the message, but it is a riddle that's difficult to interpret.
Elsewhere, Sagax, Scarum, and Kroova are captured by the crew of the Seascab, and the Stopdog is destroyed. Triss and Shogg meet up with them, and together they are able to escape. Kroova and Shogg set up a hidden stake that injures Plugg, and his tail falls off, though he reattaches it with pine resin.
Kurda and her vermin then cross paths with the Redwallers, who fend them off, while Triss, Shogg, Sagax, Scarum, and Kroova enter the safety of the abbey. Triss sees the Sword of Martin and is immediately drawn to it, wielding it as the Redwallers continue to battle the Ratguard army. Bladd is killed by a falling pot of oatmeal, and Plugg is killed by the snakes, while Kurda concentrates her efforts on destroying the denizens of Redwall.
Eventually, Skipper's niece helps solve the riddle, which leads the Redwallers to Brockhall. There they encounter both the Ratguards and the snakes. During the ensuing battle, Shogg, Sagax, and Triss kill Sesstra, Harssacss, and Zassaliss, but Shogg is poisoned and dies by Triss's side. Later, Triss and Kurda face off, but Kurda falls on her own sword and dies.
Triss, Kroova, Sagax, Scarum, Groo, Skipper, Mokug, and others sail to Riftgard and free the slaves. There, King Agarnu is drowned by the slaves. Kroova stays on Riftgard with the sea otter Sleeve, and the others return to Redwall Abbey.
The events of Triss appear to take place several generations after the previous book, as characters alive in The Taggerung are mentioned as ancient or legendary. For example, the Skipper of Otters in Triss and the Badger Lords of Salamandastron are mentioned as being distant descendants of the Deyna and Lord Russano the Wise, respectively. This gap appears to be bigger than the gap between any of the other Redwall novels, with the exception of the gap between Salamandastron and Redwall, which is an indefinite period of time in which all bloodline links to the earlier past and most physical links, with the exception of Martin's tapestry and sword, are lost.
Brockhall (a habitation under the root systems of a huge old tree) is rediscovered in Triss, first by raiders from Riftgard who knew of it from a searat map. Since it appears to have been abandoned between Mossflower and The Legend of Luke, knowledge of its location must have been in vermin hands for dozens of generations. How this is possible remains a mystery, since Tsarmina Greeneyes (from Mossflower) and her forces never found Brockhall.
Characters in Triss
- The Pure Ferrets:
- Trisscar Swordmaid
- Plugg Firetail
- Skipper of Otters
- Log-a-Log Groo
- Sagaxus (Sagax)
- Bescarum Lepuswold Whippscut (Scarum)
- Kroova Wavedog
- Lord Hightor
- The Adders:
- Ovus and Bluddbeak
- Mokug the Hamster
- (French) Rougemuraille : L'Odyssée de Triss
- (Russian) "Трисс Воительница"
Book divisions (English)
- Book 1: A Season of Runaways
- Book 2: Serpents and Paradoxes
- Book 3: The Swordmaid
A Redwall Winter's Tale