Sunday, December 18, 2016

Book Review: "The Angel's Command" by Brian Jacques

This is a story about a boy, Ben, and his dog, Ned.  They were saved from the Flying Dutchman by the angel who cursed that ship to sail forever.  In the process Ben and Ned were enchanted so they don't age and can communicate telepathically.  They are required to travel the world helping the people they meet.

This novel is split into two books.  The first book, La Petite Marie, tells how Ben and Ned take ship with a pirate crew in Brazil following the angel's instructions.  They go through a number of trials as the pirate captain guides his ship to France where he intends to retire.  The second book, The Razan, picks up at the end of the first.  It takes Ben and Ned along the French Pyrenees joining a teenage thief girl and a young male portraitist with the magic power that his portraits always show people as they really are.  The trio is promptly recruited by an old comte to attempt the rescue of his nephew from a band of particularly evil brigands.

The novel shows most of the good features that can be found in the Redwall stories.  The characters and settings are vivid.  The bad guys are clearly evil and deserve their misfortune.  The good guys are clearly good, though they are sometimes playfully tricky.  The main things this story doesn't have that the Redwall series has are riddles and character driven plots.

Overall this novel isn't as good as any of the stories set in Redwall that I've read.  Still it is a decent, straightforward story and might be good to read with a kid.

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