Farewell, Brian Jacques

I just barely saw the news – not five minutes ago – that Brian Jacques died after a heart attack this weekend.

I am crying and still don’t quite believe it. The man who created Martin, Mariel, Gonff, and all the rest, gone? It seems impossible. He should be immortal.

And in a way, he is. He lives on through his books, his beloved characters. His stories about tiny little creatures fighting for justice, freedom, and love against larger, more ferocious adversaries will ring true in the hearts of all who love such ideals, for as long as books endure. His legacy is a great one, indeed.

Less well known than Redwall, but just as good (in my opinion) was his Flying Dutchman series, featuring a boy named Ben and his faithful dog Ned, traveling the world as immortal creatures, righting wrongs and comforting those without hope wherever and whenever they went.

I will miss, terribly, anticipating a new book from him every year. Yet I am so thankful for all the books that he did write, that we are left with. There have been many writers who have tried to imitate his style, but none can match him. The world is a sadder place with this Weaver of Tales gone, but thankfully the tales themselves live on.

May your adventures in the next world be as grand as they were here, sir. And I know that wherever you journey through the Dark Forest, you will be accompanied by a grand troupe of mice, moles, hedgehogs, badgers, hares, squirrels, and otters, all laughing, valiant, and hungry.

You will be missed.

ETA: Mossflower was the first Jacques book I ever read, and it’s the one I recommend to everyone to begin with. It’s not first chronologically or in published order, but in my opinion, it sets the stage beautifully for the rest of the series. Plus, it features Martin, Gonff, and Dinny – who could ask for anything more?

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