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|The Edge Chronicles|
|Publication date||1998 - 2010|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|This article needs attention from an expert in Children's literature. (March 2010)|
|This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary and should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (February 2012)|
|The Edge Chronicles|
|Publication date||1998 - 2010|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The Edge Chronicles is a young-adult fantasy novel series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It consists of three trilogies, plus three additional books, and others (more than 13 books). Originally published in the United Kingdom, this series has since been published in the United States, Canada and Australia. To date, more than ten million copies of the novels have been sold. The fictional places and characters in the books are described, below, using in-universe tone of writing.
The series is set on the Edge, a huge rocky outcrop in a vast expanse of Open Sky which careens into rocky edges which plummet into an endless pit. The Edge is made up of many different environments, the first of which is the Edgelands, the very northern and southern edges of the outcrop. It is a barren rocky place forever clouded in mist, haunted by demons which can possess people and slowly drive them insane with ghostly visions of ones enemies. The Edgelands are feared because they are part of the Gloamglozer's territory. The Gloamglozer is universally considered the most feared form of life in the Edge. It borders the Mire to the east, the Twilight Woods to the north, the Edge and the Deepwoods to the west. In the tenth book of The Edge Chronicles, there is also a terrain known as Everlasting Hills, another as The Phraxfields, and the Silver Ravine.
The Deepwoods is a forest, both peaceful and deadly, that many woodland creatures call home. It is the largest area of the Edge; a seemingly endless panorama of teeming life in many diverse forms. At the western end of the Deepwoods, beyond the Nightwoods, or Waif Country, is a giant cliff that leads to Riverrise. A legend exists about Riverrise, that it is a place at the end of the Deepwoods, with water that has healing properties and is also the place where the Mother Storm, an ancient god-like vortex, first cast her seeds onto the Edge and thus created life. Also Riverrise is the place where "chine" can be found, a sand-like substance that can harm gloamglozers.
The Twilight Woods is a large forest east of the Deepwoods and south of the Edgelands. Surrounded by an eternal twilight glow, those who entered the Twilight Woods gradually lost their memories, senses of self, and minds, but not their lives. The glow of the Twilight Woods resulted in an eternal living death, thus causing its victims to degrade into zombies. Occasionally, someone would find their way out of the Twilight Woods after decades or even centuries of wandering. Such individuals, known as Death-Cheaters, sometimes recovered over time, but most remained insane, unconfident, lost, and weak.
The Mire is a large, toxic wasteland between Undertown and the Twilight Woods. It was the dumpsite of Undertown's chemicals and was covered in bleached white mud. Before the construction of the Great Mire Road, the trip across the Mire was treacherous. The toxic blowholes and quickmud often killed an unfortunate traveller, but the natural hazards of the Mire were not the only dangers posed to travellers. Criminals lurked in the Mire; driven there by insanity and a lust for wealth gained from theft, and an easy living compared to the harsh streets of Undertown. Most inhabitants such as Mire-clams, Mire herons, Mire Mistwraiths, Mire-Monsters, Mud-demons, Muglumps, oozefish and the white ravens, of the Mire, were bleached as white as the mud around them. By the time of The Immortals, the Mire is a large green plain home to many birds.
Undertown was the bustling main city of the Edge. It was founded on the principle of freedom, intended to be a haven for those seeking escape from the oppressive slavery and danger of the Deepwoods. Attempting to enslave an Undertowner was an action punishable by death. On the side of Undertown near the Mire, factories and foundries operated. The side nearer the Stone Gardens was called the Western Quays, and is dotted with large, opulent palaces. The Boom-Docks was the part of Undertown where sky ships arrived and departed. In the very center of Undertown was the Anchor Chain, which harnassed the city of Sanctaphrax to its chain and prevented it from drifting into Open Sky.
Many residents of the Deepwoods believed Undertown to be a place of harmony and freedom, where the streets were paved with gold and all races were respected. In fact, for many, Undertown was a very difficult place to live. The League of Free Merchants controlled the entire city and would control the sky that sky pirates kept open for free trade, which devolved into a series of underhanded power struggles and sky battles.
The taverns and slums of Undertown were filled with a variety of peoples from all over the Edgeworld. The weak and slow never lasted long in Undertown and often retreated to the sewers beneath, or out into the Mire to become criminals.
The Stone Gardens was a region beyond Undertown, close to the farthest tip of the Edge. During the Quint and Twig trilogies, buoyant rocks grew in the Stone Gardens, pushing up rocks above and creating rock stacks. The White Ravens resided there and screeched when it was time to harvest the rocks for use in sky ships.
In the Rook Trilogy, stone-sickness struck the Edge, and the Stone Gardens no longer produced buoyant rocks.
An enormous buoyant rock is the site of the scholarly city of Sanctaphrax, which teaches students a variety of subjects—mainly concerning the weather and how to predict it. There are Colleges of Raintasters, Cloudwatchers, Mistsifters, and so on. Other scholars also come here to pore over the many texts here for study. Very little use is made of the knowledge acquired in Sanctaphrax; it is largely the home of pedants, each of whom attempts to outdo or destroy his fellows. Sanctaphrax is attached to Undertown by a huge metal chain to prevent the city floating away and being forever lost. There is also an Knights Academy which Quint attends.
In Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, the chain holding down Sanctaphrax is cut, and the city vanishes. However, the Gloamglozer rediscovers the city and returns it to the Edge, but not before he creates a whole new army of other gloamglozers, resurrecting the ancient demons.
The descriptions below also reveal the eventual fate of some characters, with text that covers plot events as well as character traits.
Wind Jackal is the father of Quintinius Verginix and captain of the Galerider, a sky pirate ship, who is well known for his successful raids of league ships and his close friendship with Linius Pallitax, a Most High Academe of Old Sanctaphrax. His wife, Hermina Lintrax, and children Lucius, Centrix, Murix, Pellius and Martilius died in a fire that razed their palace in the Western Quays, which the youngest son, Quint, survived. Wind Jackal is murdered by Thaw Daggerslash in Clash of the Sky Galleons.
Linius Pallitax is the ex-Most High Academe of Old Sanctaphrax and Maris Pallitax's father. He is introduced to us in the first book of the Edge Chronicles, "The Curse of the Gloamglozer". He is known for his attempts, performed in an ancient laboratory deep in the centre of the rock on which Old Sanctaphrax was located, to recreate previous experiments concerning the creation of life. His experiments are successful, but he ends up creating the most feared creature in all of The Edge: the Gloamglozer.
Quintinius Verginix is the youngest son of the great sky pirate Wind Jackal, captain of the skyship Galerider. After a brief adventure as a Sanctaphrax apprentice/knight academic, Quint later captains his own ship, the Stormchaser, taking on the sky pirate name of Cloud Wolf. He becomes well known as one of the greatest sky pirate captains ever, flying and trading across the vast expanse of the Deepwoods (above) for many years. His son Twig later joins him, but they are parted in a stormchasing voyage, when the Stormchaser is whirled away over the Edge, with Cloud Wolf at the helm, into the heart of a Great Storm. He gives his sword and miniature painting to Twig, who later hands it down to his daughter Keris. Eventually, it makes its way into the hands of Quint's great-grandson, Rook Barkwater. Cloud Wolf becomes one with The Mother Storm, after a failed quest for Stormphrax.
Raised by her woodtroll nanny, Welma Thornwood, Maris is said to closely resemble her mother, Yena Vespius, who died in childbirth. The neglected only daughter of the Most High Academe, she very much admires her father, and is thus at first jealous of the attention Linius bestows on Quint, his new apprentice. A bond soon develops between Quint and Maris, however, as they brave the mysteries and horrors of the Sanctaphrax stonecomb to discover the terrible secret that Linius has been harboring. When Quint takes his place on the Galerider, she follows him, and contributes to the well-being of the ship by setting up an infirmary. She falls in love with Quint during these adventures and kisses him near the end of Clash of the Sky Galleons. She later becomes the mother of Twig, who she and Quint abandon during a ship wreck. Maris is the founder of the Free Glades, where she later dies of old age.
Twig is the son of Maris Pallitax and the sky pirate captain Cloud Wolf. He remains unaware of this for many years, his only link to his heritage being a comfort blanket embroidered with a lullabee tree. As a baby, he is left in the Deepwoods to be raised by a family of woodtrolls, but his sense of adventure leads him to stray from the path, thereby beginning a series of adventures which eventually reunite him with his father. He later joins his father's crew and becomes captain of the Edgedancer and the Skyraider. A natural captain of sky ships, Twig later travels across the Edgeworld from Sanctaphrax to Riverrise, and finally into the Convocation of Banderbears, before making a final attack against the Tower of Night. There, he is mortally wounded, and the Caterbird that swore to watch over him carries him to Riverrise, the source of all life in the Edge, and home to life-giving waters. In The Immortals, he assists Rook Barkwater and his father, Quintinius Verginix, in defeating the Gloamglozers once and for all, before dying and returning to Open Sky as a glister, along with Rook and his father.
Cowlquape Pentephraxis is the son of an incredibly wealthy and brutish leaguesman, Ulbus Pentephraxis, and grandson of Ruptus Pentephraxis, who is featured 'Clash of the Sky Galleons'. He was sent to be an under-apprentice in the great floating city of Sanctaphrax, but when his father dies, he is left with no money to pay for his tuition. Cowlquape meets Twig just as the young sky pirate captain regains his memory, and saves his life. Because of this, Twig, under the protection of the Professor of Darkness, makes Cowlquape his apprentice, saving him from poverty and homelessness. Cowlquape joins Twig on his quest to rescue his missing crew, and in doing so, discovers Riverrise, the source of all life on the Edge. After he and Twig save the Edgeworld, Cowlquape becomes the Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax, after the Professor of Darkness floats away with Sanctaphrax itself, and founds New Sanctaphrax. But his power and position are not to last, as he is ousted by Vox Verlix, who names himself the new Most High Academe. After the ascension to power of the Guardians of Night, Cowplquape is taken prisoner by Orbix Xaxis, where he befriends Xanth Filatine, his jailer. Cowlquape later regains his position as Most High Academe after Vox Verlix's demise, and joins the librarians in the Free Glades.
Vox Verlix became Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax after seizing power from Cowlquape Pentephraxis, and began projects on the Tower of Night and the Great Mire Road. The Guardians of Night later took over the Tower of Night on the New Sanctaphrax rock, and the Shrykes gained control of the Great Mire Road. After this, Vox retreated to Undertown, but the Hammerhead Goblin, General Tytugg, took control of that too. Fat, desperate, and angry, Vox locked himself up in his new home, the Palace of Statues, where he worked on his ultimate tool for revenge. It was a flying bomb made of Bloodoak Acorn dust to destroy Undertown forever, and was launched while both the Goblin and Shryke armies were positioned where they would be easily destroyed. After defeating his enemies, he sent for a ride to the Free Glades with the librarians, but it never came, for his Waif assistant, Amberfuce, took it in his stead, behind his back. Vox Verlix died in his Palace of Statues with Hestera Spikesap, his servant.
Keris is the daughter of sky pirate captain, Twig, and a slaughterer, Sinew Tatum. She married Shem Barkwater, son of Cal Barkwater, brother of Tem Barkwater, who was featured in both the Quint and Twig books. She is featured in the stand-alone, The Lost Barkscrolls, where she journeyed with a tribe of web-foot goblins to speak to their Great Clam, which she hoped could tell help her find her father. It sent her to the Free Glades, where she seeded one of its lakes with clamdust, and journeyed to Waif Glen for information. There, she met Maris, her grandmother, who tells her that she will find Twig. Although that never happens, her son, Rook encounters Twig during the events of The Last of the Sky Pirates. Keris was killed by slavers along with her husband Shem, but their son is rescued by Varis Lodd.
Shem is Tem Barkwater's nephew and father of Rook Barkwater. He marries Keris Verginix (Twig's daughter), and they live in the Free Glades together with his uncle. Shem was killed by slavers along with Keris, but their son is rescued by Varis Lodd.
Rook Barkwater is the son of Keris, Twig's daughter; and Shem Barkwater, Tem Barkwater's nephew. He too is at first tragically unaware of his family, as his parents were both murdered by slavers when he was a baby. Raised by banderbears during his early childhood, he becomes one of the few characters in the Edgeworld able to communicate with them. Found in the Deepwoods by Varis Lodd when he was very young, he had no knowledge of his life with the Banderbears though. Varis brought him back to the librarians' city in the sewers of Undertown, where he served as an under-librarian. He later joins an expedition to the Free Glades along with Stob Lummus and Magda Burlix (who takes the role as his potential love interest), where he studies to become a librarian knight. His destiny, however, takes him on a mission over Screetown, where a terrible crash leads him into slavery. There, he serves under Most High Academe, Vox Verlix, and figures out his plans to destroy Undertown, but he is too late, and Verlix uses a flying bomb to create a dark maelstrom which carries out his plans. Due to the destruction, Rook and the rest of the librarians, Ghosts of Screetown, and Undertowners go to the Mire, where they meet up with Deadbolt Vulpoon, son of Thunderbolt Vulpoon who was in book three ('Midnight Over Sanctaphrax'), and the rest of the sky pirates in the Armada of the Dead. They later get to the Free Glades, where Rook joins the Free Glade Lancers, bonding with a prowlgrin named Chinquix, and helps defeat the hordes of attacking goblins and glade-eaters attacking the Free Glades. By the end of Freeglader, Rook is apparently the leader of the Lancers, Captain Welt and almost all of his other comrades slain. This is established to be true in The Blooding of Rufus Filatine; he is now Commander of the Third Roost and leads the attack on the Phrax Glade. It is then revealed that he marries Magda and has several children who also have children. After the death of Magda, he takes Canacresse to Riverise and never returns.
Xanth Filatine was apprentice to Orbix Xaxis, sinister High Guardian of the Guardians of Night. When Xaxis received news of an expedition to the Free Glades (The same one Rook Barkwater went on), Xanth was sent as a spy to go there with the soon-to-be-librarian knights and act as one of their own. Xanth befriends Rook Barkwater and Magda Burlix during his stay, but is found out, and escapes back to the Tower of Night, headquarters of the Guardians of Night. When Xanth returns, the Skyraider attacks the tower with Captain Twig, Rook, and their Banderbear crew on board. During this, Cowlquape Pentephraxis, friend of Xanth and Twig and rightful Most High Academe, escapes from his prison cell in the tower, and goes to the sewers to join the librarians. Eventually Xanth makes a break for freedom with the captive Magda. Before leaving, he sabotages Midnight's Spike, leading to the destruction of the Tower of Night. Xanth later joins the librarians as well, after seeing the error of his, and Orbix Xaxis' ways. He is put to trial for his mistakes, during an event called "Reckoning", and is finally accepted as a Freeglader, and librarian. During the war of the Free Glades, he becomes recognized as a hero due to his leading the rescue from Lake Landing. He later becomes High Master of Lake Landing and has a son, Rufus, who later joins the Freeglade Lancers.
Magda Burlix is, along with Stob Lummus, one of Rook's fellow Librarian Knight Elects. Due to her having three younger brothers, she is quick to take the younger, naive Rook under her wing, and guides him through the tougher stages of their perilous journey. While at the Free Glades, she becomes great friends with her fellow librarian knights and serves as Rook's potential love interest. Later, she gets captured by the Guardians of Night while searching Screetown for Rook, who was reported as having crashed there. She escapes with Xanth Filatine, and meets up with Rook and the librarians in the Mire after the destruction of Undertown. There, she leaves on her skycraft, the Woodmoth, and is shot down. Surviving the crash, however, she finds her way to the Free Glades, where she saves Xanth by standing up for him at his Reckoning. During the war for the Free Glades, she acts as flight leader of the Grey Flight, a section of the librarian knights' air forces. As revealed in The Immortals, she later marries Rook. Upon her death, Rook makes a voyage to Riverrise, never to return.
Stob, Magda and Rook were selected to leave the Great Library Sewer and become librarian knights at Lake Landing Academy. He finds he doesn't really fit in with the other librarian knights, so he decides to work at Lake Landing Academy. When the Battle of the Free Glades begins and the Lake Landing Academy starts to burn Stob, the apprentices and the academics are rescued when Varis Lodd and her librarian knights sacrifice themselves to save them.
Varis is the daughter of Fenbrus Lodd, High Librarian, and sister of Felix Lodd. She is an instructor at Lake Landing Academy and is also head of the librarian knights. She dies in a fire at Lake Landing when she sacrifices herself for the academics and apprentices trapped inside. She rescues Rook Barkwater from the Deepwoods on her treatise voyage to write about banderbears.
Felix is Varis's brother but his sister always over shadows his achievements, even when he becomes the leader of the Screetown Ghosts and saves the Undertowners. He was Rook Barkwater's best friend in the sewers and was thought to be sure to be selected to train to be a librarian knight but Rook, who was younger, was chosen instead. He gave up academic learning and ran away to Screetown, after leaving Rook his sword. When his sister dies he helps his father rebuild the Great Library.
The Galerider is an old and durable sky pirate ship - at least sixty years old in Clash of the Sky Galleons. She is also one of the finest of all sky pirate ships. By the time she is lost to Open Sky, she has seen at least four captains- Hurricane Razorflit, Rain Quarm, Wind Jackal and finally Cloud Wolf.
The Stormchaser was originally built for Quint when he became a Knight Academic and was assigned to chase the next Great Storm. However, thanks to Vilnix Pompolnius's policy of banning stormchasing, he was unable to fulfill his true purpose for twenty years. During this time she was captained by Quint, now Cloud Wolf. Her first Stormchasing voyage was to be her last, as the storm was more powerful than any other since the arrival of the last Mother Storm. Cloud Wolf ordered his crew to abandon ship but stayed on board, and was carried out into Open Sky and the Mother Storm itself. There, she and her master were slowly absorbed by the storm.
Paid for by Mother Horsefeather and built to Twig's own specifications, the Edgedancer made only one ill-fated voyage. Twig flew it over the edge and into Open Sky in search of his father. But shortly after he discovered Cloud Wolf, the Mother Storm destroyed the ship. The wreckage bombarded Undertown and the crew were scattered across the Edgeworld. Twig later became captain of the Skyraider.
Other famous Sky Pirate Ships include the Cloudbreaker, captained by the mighty Ice Fox, the fast sailing Maelstrom Seeker, the Windspinner, known for its uniquely powerful catapult, the Fogscythe which was equipped with several curved blades, the Thundercrusher, which boasted a huge wrecking ball, the "Driftcleaver", a sleek white vessel with a plough-shaped battering ram at its prow- which had been known to cut other ships in half and had an all female crew, and the Skyraider, the second ship captained by Twig that he used to try to get back to Riverrise to get Maugin, Woodfish, and Goom. It was later used by Twig and Rook to rescue Cowlquape Pentephraxis from the Tower of Night.
Some league ships are the "Bane of Mighty", the "Forger of Triumph" and the "Smelter of Woes", both belonging to the League of Furnace Tenders, and the giant "Bringer of Doom", complete with six masts, huge sails, and a crew of bloodthirsty black shrykes, the flight rock, the largest and most perfect flight rock ever, contained a shard of stormphrax wrapped in glow worm skin was what eventually brought the ship to its doom, when the glow worm skin faded the weight of the stormphrax in darkness sent the sky ship crashing to the ground.
One of the elements the series is known for is its interesting array of plant and animal life, described in detail and accompanied by line drawings.
Since writing The Immortals, Stewart and Riddell have written series of blogs about a small settlement mentioned in The Immortals called The Farrow Ridges. It follows two characters, Forden Drew and Hedgethorn Lammergyre, a Fourthling and a Grey Goblin. Hedgethorn has lived in the Farrow Ridges for twelve years since the battle of the Midwood Marshes where he lost all his friends. Frindon has moved to the area after sorting out his father's financial problems in Hive.
The two become friends and the series follows their epic adventure to build the Farrow Ridges. It has 66 chapters so far but is still expanding. The blogs are located at www.weirdnewworlds.com