I can't remember when I first read the first book in Brian Jacques' extensive series. I do remember seeing the book at the library and knowing instantly I had to read it. I've always loved anthropomorphic animal stories (Charlotte's Web being the odd exception), but none till then had mixed that with my love of history. While I loved the sequel to this, I don't remember getting much past the third or fourth book.
Redwall is the story of an abbey of mice that raise food, keep the history of the area, and are deeply connected with the community of woodland creatures surrounding them. However, one night all of them are threatened when Cluney the Scourge - a huge black rat with a whip-like tail - arrives to destroy, subjugate, and kill. Redwall Abbey becomes a fortress as the mice and other animals fight to protect themselves and keep their freedom.
This is not a cutesy book. There is fear, blood, and death but there is also some of the loveliest descriptions and enchanting characters I've seen.
And this full cast audiobook just makes it better. The narrator is the author himself and the cast members were perfect. I was surprised at how well this dramatized version went but the narrator allowed the characters to talk while conveying the story. And the voices were so close to the ones I'd heard in my head for so long. Asmodeus chilled my blood every time, Cluney actually grew eviller with the voice he was given, and Matthias was the perfect mixture of youth and strength.
I just found out my library has the next several of these as full cast recording and I can't wait.