This article is about the book. For the place, see Redwall Abbey. For the series, see Redwall series. If you are visiting us for the first time, please go here.


Redwall, US Cover

Year Published: 1986
Illustrator: Gary Chalk
US Cover Artist: Troy Howell
UK Cover Artist: Pete Lyon
Page Count: 351
ISBN: ISBN 0399214240
ISBN-13: ISBN 9780399214240
Chronological Order: 9
Publication Order: 1

Redwall, UK Cover

Redwall is the first book in the Redwall saga, and as such several elements of the storyline are quite different than later books in the series. The presence of dogs, towns, and the actions of some characters are unique to this book alone.

Redwall was first published in the UK by Hutchinson Children's Books. It published in the U.S. by Philomel, a division of Penguin. The manuscript was discovered by Patricia Lee Gauch, who edited 16 of the novels before retiring. Philomel publisher Michael Green also edited Redwall.

Book Divisions (English)

  • Book 1: The Wall
  • Book 2: The Quest
  • Book 3: The Warrior


Matthias, a mouse of Redwall Abbey, is in trouble, as are the rest of the Redwall creatures. When Cluny the Scourge attacks Redwall with his horde, Matthias goes on a quest to retrieve the sword of Martin the Warrior, which he believes will give victory over the evil vermin. Methuselah the gatekeeper finds a rhyme behind a tapestry of Martin (which Cluny stole), which directs the two mice to the warrior's tomb, where the shield and sword belt are located. Another rhyme instructs Matthias to place the shield above the Gatehouse, where it reflects the moonlight onto the weathervane. The mice enlist the help of Jess Squirrel to climb and retrieve it, however, she is attacked by the Sparra. The young Warbeak is taken captive, and Methuselah tricks her into revealing that King Bull Sparra possessed the great sword. Matthias and Warbeak go to the loft, but the dangerous king refuses to let Matthias go when he learns the sword is possessed by Asmodeus, the adder. Warbeak and her mother protect Matthias and the two young creatures become friends. Matthias attempts to escape, but falls into the Abbey pond, along with Bull Sparra. The fall kills the king.

In the Abbey, things have not been going very well. The traitorous foxes Sela and her son, Chickenhound, were in Cluny's employ until he ordered them executed. Sela was killed, but Chickenhound survived to pillage the Abbey. When Methuselah bravely attempted to stop him, Chickenhound hit him with a sack filled with valuables, accidentally killing the frail old mouse, and fled into Mossflower Woods, where he encountered Asmodeus and was bitten. On the other hand, Jess and Basil Stag Hare were able to retrieve the tapestry and place it in its rightful location in Great Hall.

Matthias recovers and sets out to defeat Asmodeus and reclaim the sword. He is assisted by the Guosim, their current Log-a-Log, and the president of the "shrew union"; Guosim. They direct him to Squire Julian Gingivere, who is feuding with Captain Snow. Matthias meets the owl, using a token from Basil as his protection, and strikes a deal: if he can regain the sword, Snow will never eat another mouse or shrew, and he will make up with Julian. Matthias tracks Asmodeus to his lair in the Quarry and beheads the Adder. Matthias is ultimately successful and finds the sword, although Guosim is killed by Asmodeus.

He then returns to the Abbey, which has been captured by Cluny in his absence. With the help of the shrew union and Warbeak's Sparra, he's able to launch an attack and winds up fighting Cluny in the Bell Tower. Matthias slices the Joseph Bell from its rope after Friar Hugo is caught while hiding under the stairs, and it falls, killing Cluny. Abbot Mortimer dies shortly thereafter, as Cluny had recently lashed the mouse with his poisoned tail.

Matthias marries Cornflower, and they have a son, Mattimeo. Brother Mordalfus becomes Abbot.

Characters in Redwall



  • Lancashire Libraries Children's Book of the Year Award
  • Western Australian Young Readers' Award
  • Parents' Choice Honor Book
  • Booklist Editor's Choice
  • American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
  • School Library Journal Best Book (1987)


  • Carnegie Medal (1988)

Collector's Editions


Redwall 10th Anniversary Edition UK

For the 10th Anniversary celebration of Redwall in 1997, the original publisher of the series, Hutchinson, re-released Redwall in a special collector's edition in the UK. The hardcover book was bound in green leather with a pictorial front board and included new illustrated color plates by Fangorn. The book also retained Gary Chalk's original chapter illustrations. It is sometimes referred to as the "Redwall Illustrated Collector's Edition".

A special 10th Anniversary Edition was released in the U.S. as well, by Philomel. This version has six color plates and a new cover by Troy Howell.

Circa 2000, an "Author's Limited Edition" was sold exclusively on, with each one numbered and signed by Brian Jacques. This was a facsimile of the original UK Hutchinson hardcover, with only 500 available. This item was featured in the Redwall Collectors Community series.

In 2007, the 20th Anniversary of Redwall being published in the US, another special anniversary edition with new Troy Howell jacket art was released, as well as a Redwall Gift Set; furthermore Random House re-released all 14 Redwall books in their catalogue with new covers.

Release details


  • In several printings of Redwall, Killconey is identified inconsistently throughout the text as either male or female. Brian Jacques confirmed that Killconey was male.

Books in the Redwall Chronicles, by Brian Jacques

Redwall | Mossflower | Mattimeo | Mariel of Redwall | Salamandastron | Martin the Warrior | The Bellmaker | Outcast of Redwall | Pearls of Lutra | The Long Patrol | Marlfox | The Legend of Luke | Lord Brocktree | Taggerung | Triss | Loamhedge | Rakkety Tam | High Rhulain | Eulalia! | Doomwyte | The Sable Quean | The Rogue Crew

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