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The Edge Chronicles
Welcome to the Edge
The Deepwoods, the Stone Gardens, the Edgewater River. Undertown and Sanctaphrax. Names on a map.
Yet behind each name lie a thousand tales - tales that have been recorded in ancient scrolls, tales that have been passed down the generations by word of mouth - tales which even now are being told.
What follows is but one of those tales. Welcome to The Edge Chronicles.
Edge Chronicles: My review
Weird creatures, daring adventures, flying rocks, floating trees. Viscous goblins, courageous pirates, wise librarians and devious shrikes. The world created by Paul Riddell is filled with imaginative creations and thrilling plots. Join his young heroes - first Twig, then Quint and finally Rook - as they fight the various evils that threaten the Edge.
These books are filled with adventure, but also touch on themes of loyalty (worthy and misplaced), father-son relationships, bravery and friendship. Our characters must choose sides, deciding for themselves who to trust and who to be wary of. Their choices are sometimes simple, but many times, evil wears a clever disguise.
The first three books for the series chronicle Twig's story - from Deepwoods foundling to dashing sky pirate. Twig has been raised by woodtrolls, but strikes out on his own to discover his true destiny when he does the unthinkable (for a woodtroll) - he strays from the path. In the course of the three books, this takes him to the sky's aboard Cloud Wolff's ship, out over the Edge in a quest to save his father and to the source of all life.
In the fourth book, we head back in time to meet Quint and Maris living on Sanctaphrax. A great evil has been unleashed in the center of the sacred rock, and it's up to the pair to figure out how to stop it and save the city.
Books five takes us forward in time to meet Rook Barkwater, a lowly under-librarian among the earth scholars living in the sewers below Undertown. He's chosen to become a Knight-Librarian, beginning a series of adventures that continue through book seven when the librarians and most of Undertown are forced to leave their homes ahead of a destructive force that destroys most of their goblin and shrike enemies. Dangers still lie ahead as they strive to reach a new home in the Free Glades.
We come back to Quint and Maris in book eight, where the city is under siege of a never ending blizzard brought on by the evil battled in book four. Quint has been accepted into the Knights Academy and must now test his courage by sailing out over the Edge to stop the freezing weather and save Sanctaphrax. That complete, they join Quint's father Wind Jackal in Book nine aboard ship for adventures from the Edge to the Deepwoods.
(A note on images. All images on this page are taken from the first Edge Chronicles book and are used under the fair use section of copyright law.)
The Edge Chronicles: Book 10 - The Immortals
Three times the size of any of the others. Which is fine. Three times the adventure, right?
Paul & Chris Talk About Writing The Edge Chronicles
Edge Chronicles: Book 1 - Beyond the Deep Woods
Edge Chronicles: Setting - Welcome to the Edge
A great stone torrent once poured over this overhanging lip of rock. The river here is broad and swollen, and roars as it hurls itself down into the misty, swirling void below, yet the origins of the Edgewater River could scarcely be humbler. Its sources lie far inland, high up in the dark and forbidding Deepwoods.
Dark and deeply mysterious, the Deepwoods is a harsh and perilous place for those who call it home. And there are many who do.
Where the clouds descend there lie the Edgelands, a barren wasteland of swirling mists, spirits and nightmares. Those who lose themselves in the Edgelands face one of two possible fates. The lucky ones will stumble blindly to the cliff edge and plunge to their deaths. The unlucky ones will find themselves in the Twilight Woods.
The Twilight Woods are enchanting, but they are also treacherous. The atmosphere there is heady, intoxicating. Those who breathe it for too long forget the reason they ever came to the Twilight Woods, like the lost knights on forbidden quests who would give up on life - if only life would give up on them.
The Mire is at the lower reaches of the Twilight Woods. It is a stinking polluted place, rank with the slurry from the factories and foundries of Undertown, which have pumped and dumped their waste so long that the land is dead.
Those who do make their way across the Mire find themselves in a warren of ramshackle hovels and run-down slums, which straddles the oozing Edgewater River. This is Undertown.
At the centre of Undertown is a great iron ring, to which a long and heavy chain - now taut, now slack - extends into the sky. Upon it, the magnificent city of Sanctaphrax has been constructed.
Sanctaphrax is a great floating rock. Like all the other buoyant rocks on The Edge, it started out in the Stone Gardens. The chain was attached when the rock became large and light enough to float up into the sky. All buoyant rocks of The Edge grow in the Stone Gardens. If left, the rocks would eventually break free and sail upwards into the open sky. However, the White Ravens tend the Stone Gardens - they monitor the growth of the rocks and signal to the academics of Sanctaphrax when each rock harvest should begin.
Edge Chronicles: Book 2 - Stormchaser
Edge Chronicles: Book 3 - Midnight Over Sanctaphrax
Edge Chronicles: Supporting Cast
Twig, Quint and Rook couldn't do it all by themselves. Heck, in the Edge, humans can't do it all by themselves. Here are a few of the types of characters you're likely to encounter as you travel the edge.
Shrieky, viscious, war-like, sneaky. This female-dominated bird species is involved in the lowest of commerce with the slave markets and double-crosses anyone they deal with. Advantages are their single-minded focus on domination and immunity to the effects of the Twighlight Woods.
There are several different types of goblins and in recent years they've managed to overcome some of their differences to band together as the Goblin Nations. Quick to take offense, spoiling for a fight, you want them on your side if you can get them.
Guardians of the Night
A segment of the academics who took a turn to the dark side under an insane leader. They drove the best of the earth and sky scholars underground and are looking to rule more than just Sanctaphrax.
Evolved from the sky scholars and earth scholars, the librarians are the keepers of the scrolls that document all that is known about the Edge. In later years, they are the protectors of the Freeglade as well as information.
Earth Scholars and Sky Scholars
Long before our chronicles start, there were two general schools of knowledge represented in the academies of Sanctaphrax. Over time, there was a movement to ban the Earth Scholars and all their knowledge as being dangerous and heretical. The Sky scholars ruled Sanctaphrax for years until the Guardians of the Night made their move.
Rulers of the air above the Edge, the sky pirates provide transportation, commerce and adventure as they roam the skies, delivering items purchased in the Deep Woods to the guilds in Undertown. It takes great courage and skill to be a sky pirate, but their days are numbered when the sky sickness infects the rocks that keep their ships afloat.
These leagues run most of the trade in Undertown, for better or worse. You can't do business there without working with one of the guilds. Beware crossing any of them and tread lightly when doing business.
Frequently studied, yet still often misunderstood. One of the many mysterious fauna found in the Deepwoods. Befriended by Twig and Rook, they play a critical role in ensuring the survival of our heroes.
Edge Chronicles: Book 4 - Curse of the Gloamglozer
Edge Chronicles: Book 5 - The Last of the Sky Pirates
Edge Chronicles: Book 6 - Vox
Edge Chronicles: Will There Ever Be a Movie?
The series was optioned by a British production company ages ago, but there have been few rumblings since then as to whether we'll actually get a movie version. I've been checking once again now that Book 10 is out, but still nothing. Apparently there is quite some trouble getting the financial backing for this one.
Stewart and Riddell have said they'd prefer to see a live action movie with CGI effects. I can see where it would be cool to see live action of the ships floating, but it would be more cutting edge to do it as an animated film in the style of Riddell's artwork. Which means it'll probably take more time and be appealing to fewer people as well. What do you think?
What's the best format for the Edge stories?
The Goblin Leaders - The great art by Chris Riddell sets these books apart from any others.
Edge Chronicles: Book 7 - Freeglader
Edge Chronicles: Book 8 - The Winter Knights
Edge Chronicles: Book 9 - Clash of the Sky Galleons
Edge Chronicles: Would You Rather ... ?
Would you rather be a Librarian Knight or a Sky Pirate?