|Cover artist||John Howe|
|Publisher||Random House UK Corgi Children's Imprint|
|Followed by||Castle Storm|
Thunder Oak is a 1997 heroic fantasy novel written by British author Garry Kilworth. It is the first novel in the Welkin Weasels series. The novel follows a group of anthropomorphised weasels in their quest to restore balance to their home after the disappearance of humans leaves a power vacuum, which has been filled by aggressive stoats.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed.(August 2009)
The main introduction introduces Sylver's band of outlaws: Icham, Dredless, Mawk, Bryony, Alysoun, Miniver, Wodehed, and Luke. Sylver has heard that the sea defences around the island of Welkin are crumbling and will soon collapse completely, allowing the ocean to flood Welkin if the animals of the island don't act soon. With the help of Lord Haukin, a sympathetic stoat, who understands Sylver, Sylver decides to start out on a quest to find the missing humans who abandoned Welkin long before Sylver was born. None of the weasels know why they have evacuated, but Lord Haukin suspects, thanks to a diary left by a girl called Alice, that they were forced to leave and had no choice. His theory is supported by several clues scattered throughout the island, and the first clue is at Thunder Oak, but the weasels will need to make a long journey to reach it.
Just before departure, however, the voyage is interrupted by the Sheriff Falshed, who has been appointed by Prince Poynt to dominate the rebellious weasels and keep them under sway by enslaving them at Castle Rayn.
Falshed attempts to stop Sylver, arriving with a troop of stoats, but the outlaws cleverly ward off the attack by using missiles filled with ants, thus driving the stoats into the vast forest. They strap Falshed to a raft and send him off down the river, where, after an interval with the rats, he makes it back to his home, Castle Rayn, home of the stoats.
Meanwhile, Lord Haukin tells the weasels that to find Thunder Oak, which does not appear on any of his own maps, they need to find the broken eggshell of an eagle, as eagles fly above the planet and imprint a mental map of the globe which they telepathically pass down to their offspring.
The weasels set out to search for this egg, with the stoats in hot pursuit. Prince Poynt has also employs a mercenary fox, Magellan, to hunt down the weasels and bring Sylver to Castle Rayn.
After travelling for some while, the outlaws seek shelter at a monastery, which is home to Karnac the boar, a formidable monk and a sadistic mercenary, who sells weasel skins to the stoats in the form of drums. Karnac traps them inside his monastery, intending to wait until they starve to death before skinning them. Sylver sends Miniver out to rally a nearby village of weasels to help them. Miniver is turned down by each weasel in this town, as they fear punishment by the stoats. Hope appears lost until she meets an exceedingly dirty and eccentric weasel named Scirf, who tells her he can help them if she promises than he can join Sylver's outlaws. Miniver returns to the monastery with Scirf, and while her friends are initially sceptical, Scirf drives Karnac away by reminding him that humans loved bacon, ham, and other meat derived from the flesh of pigs. Karnac flees and the weasels reluctantly allow the overconfident Scirf to join them.
As they resume travelling with their newest member, the weasels encounter a forest full of savage pine martens, which is also inhabited by a mad witch – a moufflon named Maghatch. Maghatch blackmails Sylver into slavery by turning the other outlaws into rabbits, but Sylver escapes and enlists the help of the wild dog Gnaish. Maghatch quickly returns the outlaws to their proper forms and allows them to leave.
The weasels journey on, but are ensnared by the Hunter's Hall, which is an afterlife for virtuous hunting animals. The dead hunters tell them that as punishment for killing prey animals intended for those in the afterlife, they must work as slaves in Hunter's Hall until they have atoned for their crime. For several weeks they remain in the Hall until Mawk realises that the ethereal food is keeping them from leaving. Unable to rouse the others, he carries Scirf and escapes. When Scirf awakens, the two males find that Alysoun has followed them, and after Mawk explains the mystery of the food, they try to return and rescue their companions. They find that Hunter's Hall has vanished entirely, being reachable only through Maghatch's sorcery. They decide to backtrack to the witch's cathedral in hopes of finding another way to reach the Hall.
Back at Hunter's Hall, Sylver and the others awake to find their friends missing. Fortunately, the dead hunters have decided to set them free, and they head north hoping to meet up with the others. They are soon found by Magellan, who wounds Wodehead with an arrow before disappearing. Sylver sends Wodehead back to Halfmoon Wood along with Icham and Bryony, and goes on towards the Yellow Mountains with Miniver and Dredless. High in the mountains, they meet Magellan once more, and Dredless is killed. Miniver and Sylver escape, and find Falshed's troops, with Falshed having left to report Dredless' death to the Prince. Knowing this would be the last place Magellan would look for them, they pretend to be poor merchants and allow themselves to be captured by the soldiers.
Alysoun, Scirf, and Mawk return safely to Maghatch's chapel, and Maghatch sends them down a path which she claims will take them back to Hunter's Hall. Instead, it deposits them directly on a steep mountainside. The three are initially horrified, but Alysoun realises that these are the Yellow Mountains they've been searching for, and that the eagle's nest must be nearby. They ascend the cliffs and by nightfall come upon the nest. Inside they find the eggshell, broken in half, and imprinted with the map of the world. As they prepare to leave, with Alysoun and Scirf carrying half of the eggshell each, the mother eagle returns and attacks them. In the confusion, Alysoun falls from the ledge, but finds that the eggshell acts as a parachute, allowing her to descend safely. Seeing this, Scirf follows, using his half of the shell similarly.
Mawk is left behind and takes refuge in a hare's den until the eagle leaves. Continuing on alone, he is confronted and robbed by three weasel brothers. He finds a hostel in the mountains and no sooner has he entered than Magellan arrives. Mawk hides himself and listens as Magellan takes a room for the night. Shortly after, Falshed's troops arrive, with Sylver and Miniver in tow, still pretending to be merchants. Sylver recognises him and, trying to keep his identity secret, tells the soldiers that Mawk is one of the outlaws. Mawk tells the soldiers that he knows where Sylver is sleeping, and directs them to Magellan's room. The stoats storm the room and in the ensuing fight, Mawk, Sylver, and Miniver escape into the mountains, where they find Scirf, by himself.
Meanwhile, having been separated from Scirf in the fall from the mountain, Alysoun finds herself in the midst of a group of hedgehogs performing a ceremony. The leader of the hedgehogs refuses to let Alysoun leave, intending her as a sacrifice to their god, the Great God Spike, a huge hedgehog built from the skeletons of other animals. Alysoun succeeds in destroying the god and escapes.
She returns to Halfmoon Wood with her half of the eggshell, where Sylver and the others are already waiting, and there learns of Dredless' death. After holding a wake for Dredless, the weasels and Lord Haukin decipher the eggshell map and discover that the first clue is hidden in a tree called Thunder Oak, far from Halfmoon Wood.
The weasels draw straws to see who will accompany Sylver to the Thunder Oak, and Mawk and Scirf are selected. Before they can begin the journey, a pack of rogue wolves lays siege to the village, but are driven away by a living statue that is seeking Scirf. The statue travels a short distance with the three weasels, hoping to find the quarry from which it was made. They come to an old abandoned church, where the gargoyles tell the statue where to find a nearby quarry.
Sylver and his companions enter the church to rest for the night, but after a noisy interruption by living angel statues, Sylver and Scirf decide to sleep in the crypts rather than the church hall. Mawk is alarmed by the idea of sleeping amidst the dead bodies, so he stays above. He awakes the following morning and finds Sylver and Scirf missing from the crypts. After a brief search he finds the two have been kidnapped by a group of mole bandits. The moles prepare to attack him, but their leader, realising that Sylver is wanted by Prince Poynt, insists that they set the weasels free.
As they continue on, the group sneaks through the marshes inhabited by the rats, only to find their way blocked by thousands of living scarecrows. The scarecrows demand that the weasels give them smoking pipes, so that they might look more like humans. Having nothing to give them, Mawk suggests they travel to a nearby abbey and ask the monks for help. From the head monk they learn that the scarecrows are terrified of mirrors, and return to the scarecrows with mirrors in hand. The scarecrows are so distraught by their reflections that they fall to the ground screaming, and the weasels pass unharmed.
Upon reaching the Thunder Oak, the weasels find the tree guarded by a stone gryphon, which will not allow them to pass, saying it does not wish for the humans to return. To the surprise of his companions, Scirf hypnotises the gryphon, putting it to sleep, and the weasels enter the Thunder Oak. Inside they find a small carving of a dormouse in a pool of water. Giving the carving to Mawk to guard, they begin to retrace their steps to Halfmoon Wood.
On the return home, Sylver receives a warning from a polecat, sent by Falshed, that Magellan is laying in wait in the forest, and, ordering Mawk and Scirf to wait for him, goes to face the fox alone. While attempting to ambush Magellan, Sylver is caught in a snare set by the bounty hunter. Magellan prepares to kill Sylver with his bow and arrow, but in a final burst of energy, Sylver pulls the iron stake holding the snare from the ground and impales Magellan with it. Mawk and Scirf find him badly injured, but alive, and together they finish the journey back to Halfmoon Wood. After showing the carving to Lord Haukin, the Welkin Weasels hold a celebration before commencing on the quest to find the next clue.
The book ends with a brief exchange between Falshed and Poynt, regarding Magellan's death.
The stoat or short-tailed weasel, also known as the Eurasian ermine, Beringian ermine, or simply ermine, is a mustelid native to Eurasia and the northern portions of North America. Because of its wide circumpolar distribution, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Halfmoon Township is a township in Centre County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is part of the State College, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,667 at the 2010 census, which is a 13.2% increase since the 2000 census.
The Animals of Farthing Wood is a British animated series commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union between 1992 and 1995, and is based on the series of books written by English author Colin Dann. It was produced by Telemagination, based in London, and La Fabrique, based in Montpellier in France, but also aired in other European countries. The first countries to air the series were Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom, in January 1993.
The least weasel, little weasel, common weasel, or simply weasel is the smallest member of the genus Mustela, family Mustelidae and order Carnivora. It is native to Eurasia, North America and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand, Malta, Crete, the Azores, and São Tomé. It is classified as least concern by the IUCN, due to its wide distribution and large population throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Cable & Deadpool was a comic book series published by Marvel Comics beginning in 2004. The title characters, Cable and Deadpool, shared the focus of the book. The series was launched following the cancellation of the characters' previous ongoing solo series. The book's mix of humor, action, and intricate plotting have won it a devoted fanbase. Marvel Comics canceled the series with issue #50 to make way for a new Deadpool ongoing series that began on September 10, 2008, and a new Cable ongoing series that was launched in March 2008. Cable & Deadpool were ranked #7 on Marvel.com's list of "The 10 Greatest Buddy Teams" of all time.
Mossflower is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques, published in 1988. It is the second book published and third chronologically in the Redwall series.
The Taggerung is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques, published in 2001. It is the 14th book in the Redwall series.
The Pearls of Lutra is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques, published in 1996. It is the ninth book published and eleventh chronologically in the Redwall series.
Leopold John Genn was an English actor and barrister. He played Petronius in the 1951 film Quo Vadis, which earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Pokémon Chronicles, partly known in Japan as Pocket Monsters Side Stories, is a spin-off series of the original Pokémon anime, revolving around characters other than Ash Ketchum.
Knuckles the Echidna, originally published as Knuckles: The Dark Legion is a 32-issue series of American comic books published by Archie Comics that ran from 1997 to 2000, featuring Knuckles the Echidna, one of Sega's mascot video game characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The series was a spin-off of Sonic the Hedgehog and shared continuity with that title. The series continued the ongoing story of Knuckles' search for answers about his heritage and true nature, which had previously been featured in the Sonic the Hedgehog series as well as several specials and miniseries.
In the Grip of Winter is the second book of The Animals of Farthing Wood series by Colin Dann. It was first published in 1981, and later republished as part one of the first "Omnibus".
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is a 1977 TV special based on the children's book of the same name by Russell Hoban. Directed by Jim Henson, it features a cast of Muppet characters. It was produced by The Jim Henson Company and premiered on CBC Television.
Castle Storm is the second novel in the Welkin Weasels series by Garry Kilworth. Picking up shortly after the end of Thunder Oak, the novel centres on the anthropomorphised weasels searching for the humans that mysteriously vanished from their homeland many years before. Following a clue found in the first book, the weasels, led by the outlaw Sylver and pursued by the stoat Sheriff Falshed, journey to a far-away city where they find themselves entangled in a battle between rivalling clans of squirrels. Published in Germany under the title "Belagert die Sturmburg."
Welkin Weasels is a series of fantasy novels by British author Garry Kilworth. As of 2003, it consists of six books, all published by Random House's Corgi Juvenile imprint.
Ruislip Woods is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and national nature reserve covering 726 acres (294 ha) in Ruislip in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The woods became London's first national nature reserve in May 1997. Ruislip Local Nature Reserve atis part of the national nature reserve.
In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storms, rain, law, war, fertility and oak trees. His other attributes were fire, mountains, wind, iris, eagle, firmament, horses and carts, weapons, and war. He was first associated with weapons made of stone and later with those of metal.
Peerage robes are worn in the United Kingdom by peers and are of two varieties for two occasions: Parliament robes, worn on ceremonial occasions in the House of Lords, and Coronation robes, worn at coronations of monarchs.
Outlaw King, stylized as Outlaw/King, is a 2018 historical action drama film about Robert the Bruce, the 14th-century Scottish King who launched a guerilla war against the larger English army. The film largely takes place during the 3-year historical period from 1304, when Bruce decides to rebel against the rule of Edward I over Scotland, thus becoming an "outlaw", up to the 1307 Battle of Loudoun Hill. Outlaw King was co-written, produced, and directed by David Mackenzie. It stars Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Sam Spruell, Tony Curran, Callan Mulvey, James Cosmo, and Stephen Dillane.
Weasels are mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae and the genus Mustela, which includes stoats, least weasels, ferrets, and minks, among others. Different species of weasel have lived alongside humans on every continent except Antarctica and Australia, and have been assigned a wide range of folkloric and mythical meanings.
King, Carolyn; Rodger Powell (2006). The Natural History of Weasels and Stoats: Ecology, Behavior, and Management (2nd ed). Oxford University Press. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-19-532271-2.