©2005 M.I. McAllister; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
A great book with astoundingly good narration, any lover's of Brian Jacques' Redwall series will be well pleased with this book. Despite the similarities to Jacques' setting, Urchin of the Riding Stars is extremely well written (perhaps for a more mature crowd) with a great plot.
There are pieces of this story missing, most obviously (and awkwardly) right before Chapter 23, about an hour from the end.
Who can resist cute little baby hedgehogs and squirrels? Apparently Lord Husk can.
Urchin's mother comes to Mistmantle as a stowaway on a ship, gives birth and dies. A seagull picks up the newborn squirrel and while flying away with him, drops him accidentally. He is found, unhurt, and named Urchin ...
He grows up to become a page to one of the squirrel Lords and works clear his name when he is accused of murder.
One reviewer (of the book at Amazon) claims to like this series better than Brian Jacques's Redwall series. So, I had high hopes of this book. I should never go to a book with expectations ...
If I had not been prepared to compare it to the Redwall series, I probably would give it the full five stars -- though the death of the mother squirrel at the very beginning of the story probably would have brought the final stars to 4 anyhow.
It was an enjoyable listen ... except ...
one reviewer here says there is something missing from the text (about an hour from the end) ... since I am not familiar with the book version of the story, I cannot comment on that. BUT, it seems to me that something is missing at the end. It seemed a bit too abrupt. I may have to request the book from the Public Library inter-library loan just to check out the final paragraph of the tale.
Otherwise a great listen. Lots of likeable, even loveable, characters; plenty of tension.
A word about the narrator: I've listend to a couple of other books narrated by Andrew Sachs and each time an image of Manuel, the waiter in the 1970s BBC comedy Fawlty Towers (written by and starring John Cleese), comes to mind -- then as I listen, I find it hard to believe it is the same person. :-) Love listening to Sachs' narration.
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