This article is about the book. For the character given that title, see Joseph the Bellmaker.


The Bellmaker, US cover

Year Published: 1994
Illustrator: Allan Curless
US Cover Artist: Troy Howell
UK Cover Artist: Chris Baker
Page Count: 336
ISBN: ISBN 0399228055
ISBN-13: ISBN 9780399228056
Chronological Order: 7
Publication Order: 7

The Bellmaker, UK cover

Many warriors own the glory,
But the saying in Redwall is:
"This is the Bellmaker's story,
Because the dream was his."

Book Divisions (English)

  • Book 1: The Dream
  • Book 2: The Pearl Queen
  • Book 3: Southsward


From far across the icy northern sea, the vicious Foxwolf Urgan Nagru and his cunning mate Silvamord arrive in the warm and peaceful lands of Southsward. With them they bring three shiploads of grey rat troops to execute their bidding. The Foxwolf, so called because of the wolf pelt and skull he wears, takes over Castle Floret and imprisons the good Gael Squirrelking, his mate Squirrelqueen Serena and their son Truffen and the nursemaid, the mute badger Muta.

Not far away, Dandin and Mariel Gullwhacker, two warrior mice from Redwall Abbey, are lost and running low on food in the hot southern deserts. They have been away from the Abbey for more than four seasons. They meet up with a young, cheeky hedgehog, Bowly Pintips, and the trio finds themselves attempting to save a mole that was under attack by rat troops of Nagru's. However, they become overwhelmed and are rescued by Field Marshal Meldrum Fallowthorn the Magnificient, a pompous, militaristic hare, and his four leveret nephews.

Meanwhile, the otter allies of Gael, led by the brave Rab Streambattle and his mate Iris Streambattle, launch a rescue mission that succeeds in saving Serena and Truffen but goes horribly wrong for Muta and Gael. The squirrelking is unable to escape, but Muta, along with Rab, is forced into fighting the waves of rats until they both go down. Both are thought to be dead. The Foxwolf, livid at the escape of Serena and her son, unleashes his secret tracking weapons, two psychotic female ermine called Dirgecallers. Dandin, Mariel and Meldrum manage to intercept and kill the Dirgecallers, but they are captured by Nagru's rat troops in the process. Serena and Truffen make it to safety amongst Iris and the remaining otters.

At Redwall Abbey, the mouse Joseph the Bellmaker has had a dream inspired by Martin the Warrior's spirit to sail down the western coast to help his daughter, Mariel, and her friends free Southsward from the Foxwolf's reign. According to the dream, he is to bring Hon Rosie the hare, Durry Quill the hedgehog, Rufe Brush the squirrel, and Foremole. With the help of the current Log-a-Log and his Guosim, the five make it to the coast and are introduced to Finnbarr Galedeep, a mighty and clever sea otter. Finnbarr executes a cunning maneuver that involves stealing a ship, the Pearl Queen, from the searat captain brothers Slipp and Strapp. In the scuffle that ensues, Strapp and most of the brothers' crew are killed in a whirlpool, but Slipp and his loyal boatswain Blaggut survive and, shipless, head into Mossflower Woods.

Joseph, Hon Rosie, Foremole, Durry, Rufe, Finnbarr, and a crewful of shrews sail toward Southsward on the Pearl Queen.

Back at Castle Floret, Dandin, Mariel and Meldrum awake to find themselves in a cell in the castle's dungeon, along with Gael Squirrelking. With much pondering, tribulation and the help of a shrike named Glokkpod, they manage to escape. Mariel becomes separated from the others and meets a mole named Egbert the Scholar, who has been living in secret tunnels beneath the castle. Egbert had found Rab and Muta, an inch from death, and nursed them back to health. The two warriors, however, were mentally scarred from the battle and refused to speak. With their help, Mariel manages to open the drawbridge of Castle Floret.

At Redwall, Slipp and Blaggut have arrived. The kind Redwallers let them stay, but not without suspicion. Slipp wants treasure, and convinces some Dibbuns to help him find some, which they do (Dibbun treasure: acorns, ribbons, and feathers). When Slipp realizes he has been duped, he goes berserk and tries to kill Furrtil and Mousebabe; he ends up murdering the resident Badger Mother Mellus with a kitchen knife, and the pair of rats flee from the Abbey. Blaggut, who had genuinely wanted to turn his life around and become a good rat, is distraught with grief and strangles his captain to death. He then returned to the Abbey and explained them what he had done to stop Slipp from harming anyone else, after Skipper had threatened him, blind with grief from what happened to Mellus. They thanked and adored Blaggut, who lived by the shores as a boatmaker until the end of his happy days.

On the Pearl Queen, many calamities had befallen the Redwallers and their crew, including whirlpools, sharks, shipwrecked islands, and crazy toads. Hon Rosie and Durry was taken for dead for some time, but showed up in fine form later. Three young orphans (from Southsward) are acquired as well: the squirrel Benjy, the mousemaid Wincey, and the little ottermaid Figgs. They eventually arrive at Southsward and, with the help of some clans they meet on the way, arrive at Castle Floret, ready for battle.

A massive battle ensues in which Mariel, Dandin, Meldrum, the otters, Finnbarr, Joseph, and the rest fight Nagru's horde of grey rats, most of which are slaughtered. However, the shrew Fatch, a good friend of Rufe and Durry, is slain by Silvamord. Rab Streambattle, who had recently reunited with his wife Iris and regained his sanity, kills Silvamord in the moat shortly afterward. In the final battle, Finnbarr Galedeep engages Urgan Nagru and kills him by smashing the fangs of his wolf skull into the top of his head. However, Finnbarr sadly dies from the wounds inflicted during the fight.

With Urgan vanquished and his horde depleted, peace is restored upon Castle Floret and Southsward. Gael is reinstated as Squirrelking of Floret with his family and Muta. While the other Redwallers return to the abbey, Joseph stays in Southsward to help restore order. The other Redwallers return to Redwall. Mariel, Dandin, and Bowly, their warrior spirits unable to be stilled, take off once more (in the Pearl Queen) in search of adventure.

Characters in The Bellmaker

Release details

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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