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Written by Brian Jacques
Illustrated by David Elliot
U.S. Cover Artist Troy Howell has been kind enough to provide The Redwall Newsline with a high-resolution, textless version of his brand new cover to the next Redwall book, Doomwyte. The cover is one of Troy's favorites among his Redwall works.
Additionally, Troy tells me that the absence of artwork on the back of the books, while disappointing, has to do with Brian's popularity and are unlikely to return. So, unfortunately, there won't be any additional artwork from him beyond the front covers.
You can find out more about what Troy thinks of Redwall and his cover work over the past 20+ years in The Long Patrol's forthcoming interview. Stay tuned.
(Please do not repost this image elsewhere.)
Penguin U.K. has released their Fall Catalogue, giving us another Doomwyte summary and providing some interesting tidbits about the U.K. edition of the book.
First up, the summary:
When young mouse Bisky convinces the creatures of Redwall Abbey to go in search of fabled treasure, they do not suspect that the evil Korvus Skurr and his sinister ravens, the Doomwytes, will be vying for the very same treasure. Bisky and his fellow Redwallers must summon all their courage to face their most ruthless enemies yet in an exhilarating, terrifying treasure hunt.
Far more intriguing is the fact that the catalogue boasts Troy Howell's cover to the book. Former U.K. cover artist David Wyatt told The Newsline last October that he wouldn't be able to provide cover art for Doomwyte, so we knew changes were on the way, but this is still rather surprising. Since the beginning of the series, U.K. and U.S. covers have remained distinctive from one another, with the only overlap occurring in the realm of companions, storybooks, and audio books. Following last year's abrupt cancellation of the U.K. hardcover edition of Eulalia!, it seems clear that Penguin is streamlining the series.
Also interesting to note is that the catalogue lists there being "approximately 20 black-and-white line drawings" in the book. Since that's a remarkably low number for a Redwall book, The Newsline contacted illustrator David Elliot for comment and he said that it is, indeed, a mistake. He actually completed a total of 43 illustrations for Doomwyte (39 chapter illustrations, 3 part titles, and 1 map).
Penguin USA has released their Fall 2008 catalog and, with it, the cover to Doomwyte (see right) and a new plot summary!
A hunt for long-lost treasure in the latest Redwall adventure
On a moonless night, two rats follow hypnotic lights into the forest, never to be seen again. Such is the power of the Doomwytes, sinister ravens led by the deadly Korvus Skurr. And when the young mouse Bisky persuades the creatures of Redwall Abbey to go in search of a fabled treasure, hidden long ago by one of the abbeyıs most notorious thieves, they do not suspect Skurr and his ravens will be vying for that very treasure.
Bisky and his fellow Redwallers must summon all their courage to face the evil horde of slithering snakes and vicious ravens. From underground tunnels to the tops of trees, the fearless Redwallers, with the help of their woodland friends, battle some of their most vicious enemies yet in an exhilarating, terrifying treasure hunt.<
The prominence of ravens should come as no surprise, following David Elliot's hint to the Newsline back in October. What is a surprise is the presence of a mouse hero-- unseen since 1999's The Legend of Luke.
Troy Howell's cover (see right, click for a larger view) presumably depicts Bisky and Korvus Skurr, as well as an unnamed snake around Korvus' head.
The cover also settles the issue of 'The Doomwytes' vs. 'Doomwyte' once and for all. The former are characters, the latter is the title.
The listing goes on to put the page count at 400, which is roughly in keeping with the 384 listed on Amazon. It also runs down the marketing the book will receive-- floor displays, trading cards, an author tour, advertising, posters... pretty standard. Whether any of this will actually materialize in your store is less certain, as the same was offered for the 20th Anniversary last year but was rarely seen.
The Library of Congress has updated its catalog listing for Doomwyte to include the following summary:
The Redwallers face some of their most dangerous villains yet in a treacherous hunt for long-lost treasure.
Are these villains the Doomwytes? It seems likely.
Book classifications in use include Animals--Fictions, Buried treasure--Fiction, and Fantasy.
A television show called Fast Forward has posted both video and audio versions of an interview they conducted with Brian Jacques (which you can find here).
In the interview (which runs 17 min. 37 sec.), Brian primarily discusses Eulalia!, but he also gets into the Castaways series, his dedication of Eulalia! to Peter McGovern, his visit with an Iraq War vet who was a fan of his books-- and more.
At the end, he once more teases Doomwyte, saying:
I've written one called 'The Doomwytes'. It's a Redwall novel. And Doomwytes.... wytes, w-y-t-e-s.... were like corpselights that used to hang around graveyards in the old legends. And the wyte... a traveller could be lost in the night in the forest and he'd see the wytes and they look like this friendly little light and they'd lead him to death. You see, and that's the basic premise of it.
A nice variation on what he said previously (see below). Be sure to check it out.
The LD Podcast (a podcast about learning disabilities and kids struggling in school) has just posted a special 30-minute episode with Brian Jacques, which you can find here.
The podcast is essentially a raw recording of Brian at one of his booksignings and it's great fun to listen to.
Towards the end of the presentation, he begins taking questions from the audience and the last question asked is: What do you think you're going to name your next book?
Brian's response is as follows:
What do I think I'm going to name my next book? Do you know that one of the best books I ever read was by a Spanish gentleman and it was called 'The Fallen Pants by Senor Bottom'. No, sorry. My next book is called 'The Doomwytes'. You don't know what a doomwyte is, do ya? Well, wytes is spelled y... w-y-t-e-s. And wytes were things in Saxon England in old mythology, like little lights, they were called corpse lights, and they used to hang around graveyards.... and this is a Redwall novel... and they used to lead travelers astray. Anyone lost in the forest would see the wyte little light, "Ah! It's a cottage ahead!" and they'd follow the wyte. And the wyte would take them into a swamp. "AH! *blump*"
It's interesting to note that he calls the book "The Doomwytes", not "Doomwyte".
Further investigation reveals that this was also the case in an article/interview with the Contra Costa Times conducted by Amy Moellering on November 2nd, which said:
What's next for this master storyteller? The 20th novel, "The Doomwytes," is finished and will be published next summer. It is based on a myth about lights people would follow into the forest. When Jacques returns to Liverpool at the end of November, he will resume work on another novel in progress -- to the joy of his many devoted fans.
While both the article and especially the audio made it appear that the next book was actually entitled The Doomwytes, the release of the cover image shows that Doomwyte is the correct title. Be sure to check out the podcast.
The Redwall Newsline asked illustrator David Elliot about the book and he told us this.
I can confirm that I'm working on [Doomwyte] currently.... As to teases, I'd better leave that to Brian. Perhaps I could say that one of the main animal characters also features in a poem that begins "Once upon a midnight dreary......"
That, of course, is the first line of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. So, does that mean one of the main characters in Doomwyte will be a raven? Looks that way.
The Redwall Newsline also asked U.K. cover artist David Wyatt about Doomwyte and he had this to say:
I haven't heard of any future books, but it's unlikely I'll be involved as I have a couple of big projects on the go which will keep me busy until August, so I'm not working on any covers for the foreseeable future.
While we're deeply saddened to hear that Mr. Wyatt won't be able to draw the new cover, we wish him the best of luck with his projects and will definitely be checking them out!
Doomwyte will hit bookshelves October 16th, 2008.
Art by Troy Howell
- Brian Jacques
- David Elliot