Urchin of the Riding Stars (Mistmantle Chronicles, Book 1)

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9780786854868: Urchin of the Riding Stars (Mistmantle Chronicles, Book 1)
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The start of an exciting new trilogy, Urchin of the Riding Stars is an epic, Shakespearian story of murder, treachery and revenge set on the island of Mistmantle, a world of squirrels, otters, and moles.

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A young squirrel determines his true destiny in this Redwall read-alike by British author M.I. McAllister. A foundling discovered on the rocky shore of Mistmantle Island, Urchin has been raised by the peaceful order of rodents and otters that live and work on the magical isle. Now almost grown, the young squirrel wants nothing more than to serve as page to one of the dashing Captains that make up King Brushen's personal guard. He gets his chance when Captain Crispin appoints Urchin his "right-paw squirrel." But on Urchin's very first morning in the Tower, the King's only son is found murdered and Crispin is accused of the crime! Urchin can only look on helplessly while his mentor is banished from court. Meanwhile, power hungry Captain Husk and Lady Aspen continue to fill the devastated royal couple's ears with treachery, and their cups with sleeping draughts. Urchin is desperate to prove Crispin's innocence, but who will believe an orphan of questionable origins? Born under a sky of shooting stars, Urchin is destined to do great deeds, perhaps even save all of Mistmantle. But first, he must believe... Entertaining but predictable, this simply told medieval fable brings nothing new to the growing body of children's animal fantasies. However, it will serve as a steppingstone for those young readers not quite ready for the detailed descriptions and hearty brogues of Brian Jacques's ever popular and endlessly replicating Redwall series.--Jennifer Hubert

From the Inside Flap:

The island of Mistmantle is inhabited by red squirrels, otters, hedgehogs, and moles and ruled from Mistmantle tower by a hedgehog king. Urchin is an orphan squirrel who was found abandoned soon after birth on one of the island's beaches and was raised by other animals. On leaving school, he is employed at court as a page by the dashing Captain Crispin. Mistmantle has always been a free society, but under the influences of a squirrel Captain called Husk, the King is enforcing harsh new laws and the animals are becoming enslaved. Using the traditional system of drawing tokens to establish a person's guilt, Crispin is accused of a terrible murder and is banished from the island. urchin becomes caught up in the struggle to restore justice and freedom to Mistmantle, to overthrow Husk, and return Crispin to the island.
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