Fans of The Tale of Despereaux will love this new story that also has elements of Watership Down. The setting is the fabulous Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna with the action taking place in the surrounding gardens and within the very walls of the palace itself. Nesbit is the youngest son of Lavendel, the leader of the garden mice in the Long Meadow. His oldest brother Blum was recruited to become an Eagle Guard to the Konig (king) and was never seen again. Now his older brother Sommer has also been recruited, even though everyone expected him to become their colony's leader after Lavendel. When Nesbit protests the news that his brother will be joining the guard in the palace and that the colony must turn over all the Essen (food) they have gathered for the winter, he is exiled to the Forest of Lost Life.
What follows is the most amazing set of adventures you could ever expect one small mouse to live through. The members of Nesbit's family must survive attacks by cats, owls, and evil mice; find the Sacred Goldessen (legendary cheese); protect the kingdom from The Army of a Hundred Thousand; and discover the truth of the Konig's plans for everyone. All in a day's work, right?
The author has done a wonderful job of showing us the palace and its gardens through the eyes of these tiny creatures. Everything from the names they give locations in the garden (The Light Path, The Dark Path, The Fountain of Certain Death), to the little habits they have (grooming their whiskers, stamping their feet to warn of danger), and even their own myths and tales, all make them come to life as both individuals with their own personalities and as a group with their own culture.
Lowell Press has joined the ranks of Kate DiCamillo, Dick King-Smith, and E.B.White as a teller of excellent animal stories.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. You may check the book's webpage for more information.