- The Taggerung
infobox Book |
name = The Taggerung
image_caption = UK 1st Edition Cover
illustrator = Peter Standley
cover_artist = Chris Baker
language = English
publisher = Hutchinson (UK) & Philomel (US)
release_date = 2001
media_type = Print (
pages = 384 (UK Hardback) & 438 (US Hardback)
isbn = ISBN 0-09-176928-0 (UK Hardback) & ISBN 0-399-23720-8 (US Hardback)
"The Taggerung" is a
fantasynovel by Brian Jacques, published in 2001. It is the fourteenth book in the Redwallseries. The title of the American edition was "Taggerung", omitting the word "The".
Sawney Rath, the leader of a vermin clan, believes Deyna, an otter born of the community at Redwall, is their Taggerung, a warrior destined to lead them to power and greatness. Little does Rath realize that when Deyna grows up, he will become the bane of vermin across all Mossflower Woods.
His birth was a long-awaited legend, full of mystery and promise, among the outlaw Juska tribes along the western shore. Denoted by a unique mark on his right paw, the Taggerung is a fearsome fighter (In the story, the word 'Taggerung' literally means a warrior of unbeatable strength, courage, and savageness), a warrior the likes of which has not been seen for many seasons.(Sawney Rath's father was the most recent.) When a seer from one tribe predicted his birth at
Redwall Abbey, Sawney Rath, leader of the Juskarath, sets out to capture the Taggerung.
Mossflower Woods, Rillflag an otterfrom Redwall is completing a ritual ceremony with his new son, Deyna, when Sawney Rath and his tribe of vermin sneak up on him. Vallug Bowbeast, a deadly ferret of the Juska Tribe murder Rillflag and capture the legendary infant. Sawney renames the young otter Zann Juskarath Taggerung or "Tagg" for short, determined to raise him as his own son, and to bring the Taggerung under his control.
As Tagg begins to grow older, he finds himself at odds with his fellow tribe members. He refuses to become violent and soon finds himself as the only member of the tribe who has never killed for fun, or at all. When Sawney orders him to skin a runaway
foxnamed Felch, Tagg refuses, enraging Sawney. Finding the roles reversed, Tagg flees and finds himself pursued by the ferret leader of the Juskarath.
Unfortunately for Rath, his chase is short-lived, as he is soon confronted and killed by the ambitious
stoatAntigra. Antigra hates Sawney Rath because she wishes her son, Gruven to be the Taggerung, and because of that, Sawney Rath had murdered her husband. Sawney's death enables her bumbling son Gruven Zann to take control of the newly renamed Juskazann tribe. The vixen Grissoul tells Gruven he must hunt down the former Taggerung and bring back his head. Only then will some other ambitious Juska warriors will accept him as their leader. To aid him in his quest, Gruven recruits a small band of vermin including Vallug Bowbeast, a deadly assassin, and Eefera, a high-ranking weasel, to continue the hunt for the Taggerung. Unfortunately for Gruven, his band of vermin would rather kill him than follow his orders, if only the opportunity presented itself. They are too accustomed to following Sawney's orders to listen to the newly appointed chief.
In his travels, Tagg befriends a similarly mysterious (and, unlike Tagg, prone to telling lies)
harvest mousenamed Nimbalo the Slayer, by saving him from a deadly snake from the mountains. Finding themselves in the company of a pygmy shrewcolony, they rest until they are attacked by Gruven and his band of vermin, slowing diminuishing one by one. As Tagg prepares to defend his newfound companions, the vermin scatter, leaving only one unfortunate member behind. Under the harsh gaze of Tagg, and the threat of being drowned (he's afraid of water), the long-time member of Rath's old tribe reveals all, including the name of Tagg's true home: Redwall Abbey.
At the same time, Eefera the weasel and Vallug Bowbeast, the most rebellious vermin under Gruven's command, decide to desert Gruven, deciding that him and the other two remaining hordebeasts would die in the mountain. They, being better trackers than Gruven, decide to follow the Taggerung and kill him, to bring his head back to the tribe and claim leadership over the Juskas. But they are both silently trying to find an opportunity to kill the other, which is eventually their downfall.
When Tagg arrives at Redwall, he's mistaken for the one of the members of the band of Juska supposed to be hunting him, knocked out, and locked up in the cellars. He's then released on impulse by the assistant cook Broggle when the Juska, Eefara and Vallug, who have now captured Gruven and the other vermin, are threatening to kill Nimbalo, but then their plans go wrong. Tagg goes out to fight, and slays Vallug and Eefara, at the same time getting shot with an arrow, while Nimbalo goes after his father's murderer. Then, Filorn, Tagg's mother, recognizes her son.
Cregga Rose Eyes, an ancient, blind badger mum, shot in the chest with an arrow, appoints Deyna's sister, Mhera, as the new Abbess of Redwall, succeeding Abbess Songbreeze. Rukky Garge, a local otterfixer, manages to remove the distinguishing mark of the Taggerung from Deyna's paw, remove his tattoos, and remove the arrow.
Deyna's quest is not quite over, however, as the fox Ruggan Bor, now commanding the remnants of the Juskazann tribe as well as followers of his own, the Juskabor, shortly arrives to attack the stronghold of Redwall Abbey. Due to Gruven's bragging on his return, they now believe the Taggerung is dead and seek to confirm this rumor. As chance may have it, however, the badger ruler of Salamandastron,
Russano the Wise, arrives in time to fend off Bor's attack, sending him and his vermin crew crawling on their bellies off into the sunset.
Characters in "Taggerung"
Deyna, the Taggerung
*Rillflag and Filorn
Nimbalo the Slayer
Cregga Rose Eyes
Russano the Wise
*Boorab the Fool
*Skipper of Otters
*(French) " Rougemuraille : Le Prodige"
* [http://www.redwall.org/dave/taggerung.html Plot summary]
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