UK 1st Edition Cover
|Cover artist||Chris Baker|
|Publisher||Hutchinson (UK) & Philomel (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||412 (UK Hardback) & 386 (US Hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-09-176850-0 (UK Hardback) & ISBN 0-399-23307-5 (US Hardback)|
|Preceded by||The Long Patrol|
|Followed by||The Legend of Luke|
Marlfox is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques, published in 1998. It is the 11th book in the Redwall series. Marlfoxes are an unusual breed of anthropomorphic foxes, which serve as the main antagonists in the book.
When the treasure hungry Marlfoxes steal the lavish tapestry of Martin the Warrior from Redwall Abbey, a group of young Redwallers must go after the Marlfoxes in pursuit, while the remaining Redwallers fight off a vermin invasion back at the Abbey.
The wandering Noonvale companions travel to Redwall, where they wish to mount a show. on the way, however, they learn that the Marlfoxes will attempt to seize Redwall, and hasten onward to warn them, while Guosim from another part of Mossflower do the same.
The Marlfoxes consist of High Queen Silth and her brood. They are different from other foxes in their fur, which gives them the ability to blend in to almost any surrounding, invisible to all but the keenest eye. This ability has given rise to the false rumor that the Marlfoxes possess magic, which they do not. However, Marlfoxes are highly agile and skilled with axes.
Castle Marl, home of the Marlfoxes, is situated in the middle of an enormous inland sea, on the island that was once home to Badger Lord Urthwyte the Mighty. The Marlfoxes command a vast army of water rats, and they travel around the country seeking rare and priceless artifacts.
The Marlfoxes, backed by an army of water rats, mount a successful invasion of Redwall and steal the tapestry of the long dead hero, Martin the Warrior. The Marlfox Ziral, however, is slain, and the remaining Marlfoxes swear revenge on the citizens of Redwall.
Mokkan, one of the Marlfoxes, escapes with the tapestry, leaving his siblings behind. Three young Redwallers, Songbreeze Swifteye, Dannflor Reguba, and a Guosim shrew named Dippler set out after Mokkan, trying to retrieve the tapestry. They meet Burble, a water vole, and have many adventures and meet many friends who help them on their journey, such as the ginormous hedgehog Sollertree,who lost his daughter Nettlebud to the Marlfoxes and water rats, and the Mighty Megraw, a large osprey who used to live by the Marlfox island but was driven away in an ambush by magpies.
Meanwhile, the remaining Marlfoxes lay siege to Redwall. After a series of battles, Songbreeze's father Janglur Swifteye, Dannflor's father Rusvul Reguba, Cregga Rose Eyes, and many others fight off the remaining army, killing the remaining Marlfoxes and restoring peace to Redwall. In a discrepancy the rats were divided into eight groups, but one group was sent each way.
Song, Dann, Dippler and Burble meet some new friends and set out into the great lake to the island. Mokkan finds that Silth has been killed by one of his sisters, Lantur. He promptly kills her by pushing her into the lake, proclaiming himself King. However, the companions arrive and overthrow the water rat army. Mokkan escapes in a boat, but an escaped slave, whom we find out is Nettlebud, throws a chain at him and knocks him into the lake, where he is eaten by pike.
The surviving water rats are left on the island to become peaceful creatures and farm the land, and the companions return home to Redwall, where Songbreeze Swifteye is named Abbess and Dannflor Reguba is named Abbey Champion by Cregga Rose Eyes, Redwall's blind badgermum. Dippler is named Log-a-log, and Burble is named Chief of the Watervoles.
At the end of the novel is a note, stating that the entire tale was made into a drama, edited by one Florian Dugglewoof Wilffachop.
Characters in Marlfox
Redwallers and companions
- Songbreeze Swifteye
- Dannflor Reguba
- Janglur Swifteye
- Rusvul Reguba
- Cregga Rose Eyes
- Florian Dugglewoof Wilffachop
- Mighty Megraw
- Gawjo Swifteye
The "Marl" sub-species of foxes portrayed in Marlfox actually do exist. Silver colored foxes are a rare color mutation of the common red fox. In the novel, the Marlfox characters are:
- Silth - High Queen of Castle Marl, Silth was the mother of the Marlfox brood. Once a mighty warrior, she became senile in old age, having killed her mate and taking over the throne. In her delusions, Silth commanded her brood to search out beautiful things to surround herself with. Her insanity was further fueled by her daughter Lantur, who tormented her with the image of the White Ghost, a legendary figure based on the albino badger Urthwyte. Lantur later poisoned her mother, and Silth was lowered into the lake after her demise.
- Ascrod - He and Vannan were the two Marlfoxes who infiltrated Redwall to steal the tapestry of Martin the Warrior. His demise was made swift by Cregga, who shot a longbow arrow through an upper window straight through his head.
- Vannan - She, along with Ascrod, were the Marlfoxes that harassed the Swifteyes at the beginning of the story. She was killed by an otter javelin when Skipper of Otters returned to Redwall with many mighty otter crews.
- Gelltor - The rashest of the Marlfoxes, he originally wanted to go to war against Redwall for particularly no good reason (for taking an injury to the shoulder and the death of a water rat). He became the leader of the Marlfoxes after Mokkan abandoned them. He worked with Predak often before he was slain by Song's father Janglur, with a loaded sling blow to the skull. His axe was turned into a woodcutting axe.
- Predak - With the exception of Lantur & Mokkan, she was the last Marlfox to be slain. She perished at the final battle against Redwall, when the otter twin Borrakul strangled her and threw her off the battlements for killing his brother, Elachim.
- Lantur - Lantur, as Marlfoxes go, was very sly. She spent her days frightening the High Queen Silth, also her mother, with the aim of scaring her to death. She was helped by her personal advisor, Wilce, who was, along with Ullig the Slave Captain, head of all the water rats on Queen Silth's island. Lantur eventually succeeded in poisoning her mother, but got a nasty surprise when Mokkan showed up at the island, being pushed to her death in the lake. She was the smallest and youngest of the Marlfoxes, but the favorite of Silth's mate, her father.
- Mokkan - Mokkan was the undisputed leader of the Marlfox brood, and was the fastest and strongest; perhaps the only equal to Mokkan among his six siblings, was Lantur, at home with High Queen Silth. After the death of his mother, and slyly pushing Lantur into the lake, Mokkan became the High King of the Marlfoxes. However his reign was short lived, when trying to escape from Redwallers and freed slaves, a freed hedgehog (Nettlebud, the long-lost daughter of Sollertree) used her shackles like a sling and knocked him from his boat and into the lake where he was eaten by pikes.
- Ziral - The first Marlfox murdered, her death started the war between the Redwallers and Marlfoxes. She was beheaded by Song's father with her own axe.
- The King - The unnamed father of Ascrod, Vannan, Gelltor, Predak, Lantur, Mokkan, and Ziral was murdered by Silth, his mate, because he wanted to call himself king. Lantur was his favorite daughter. While Lantur was terrifying Silth with the White Ghost, the rats said that the White Ghost was him, returned to avenge his murder.
Book divisions (English)
- Act 1: Enter the Players
- Act 2: Four Chieftains Going Forth
- Act 3: The Queen's Island
(These divisions are called "acts," instead of "books," as in the other installments of the series. This is explained by a note at the end stating that it had been edited by Florian, the hare leader of the Wandering Noonvale Companions.)
The Long Patrol
The Long Patrol
The Legend of Luke