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  • Edge Chronicles: Stormchaser
  • Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
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  • Stormchaser: The Edge Chronicles Book 2
  • Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
    Read by John Lee
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Written by Paul StewartAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Paul Stewart and Chris RiddellAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Chris Riddell



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On Sale: May 06, 2009
Pages: 400 | ISBN: 978-0-307-52248-1
Published by : David Fickling Books RH Childrens Books

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Read by John Lee
On Sale: November 22, 2005
ISBN: 978-0-307-28176-0
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Since his childhood in the DeepWoods, young Twig has always longed to soar above the forest canopy and explore the sky. Now a crew member on his father’s sky pirate ship, the Stormchaser, his dream seems fulfilled. But a much higher destiny awaits Twig. The lofty city of Sanctaphrax—built on a giant rock, floating high in the sky—is at the point of disaster. The city’s future is dependent on stormphrax—a valuable substance available only from the heart of a Great Storm. And only the Stormchaser, with Twig onboard, could risk entering a storm. . . .


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Reunion
It was midday and Undertown was bustling. Beneath the pall of filthy mist which hovered over the town, fuzzing the rooftops and dissolving the sun, its narrow streets and alleyways were alive with feverish activity.

There was ill-tempered haggling and bartering; buskers played music, barrow-boys called out unmissable bargains, beggars made their pitiful demands from dark, shadowy corners — though there were few who paused to place coins in their hats. Rushing this way and that, everyone was far too wrapped up in their own concerns to spare a thought for anyone else.

Getting from a to b as quickly as possible, being first to nail a deal, obtaining the best price while undercutting your competitors — that was what succeeding in Undertown was all about. You needed nerves of steel and eyes in the back of your head to survive; you had to learn to smile even as you were stabbing someone else in the back. It was a rough life, a tough life, a ruthless life.
It was an exhilarating life.

Twig hurried up from the boom-docks and through the market-place — not because he was in any particular hurry himelf, but because the frenzied atmosphere was contagious. Anyway, he had learned the hard way that those who don’t adjust to the breakneck pace of the place were liable to get knocked down and trampled underfoot. Along with ‘avoid all eye-contact’ and ‘do not display weakness’, ‘go with the flow’ was one of the cardinal rules of Undertown.

Twig was feeling uncomfortably hot. The sun was at its highest. Despite being obscured by the choking, foul-tasting smoke from the metal foundries, it beat down ferociously. There was no wind and, as Twig dodged his way past the shops, stands and stalls, a bewildering mix of smells assaulted his nostrils. Stale woodale, ripe cheeses, burned milk and boiling glue, roasting pinecoffee and sizzling tilder sausages . . .
The spicy aroma of the sausages took Twig back, as it always did — back to his childhood. Every Wodgiss Night, in the woodtroll village where he had been brought up, the adults would feast on the traditional tilder sausage soup. How long ago that now seemed, and how far away! Life then had been so different: self-contained, ordered, unhurried. Twig smiled to himself. He could never return to that life. Not now. Not for all the trees in the Deepwoods.

As he continued across the market-place, the mouthwatering aroma of the sausages grew fainter and was replaced with a different smell — a smell which triggered a different set of memories altogether. It was the unmistakable scent of freshly tanned leather. Twig stopped and looked round.

A tall individual with the blood-red skin and crimson hair of a slaughterer was standing by a wall. Hanging round his neck was a wooden tray overflowing with the leather talismans and amulets on thongs which he was selling — or rather trying to sell.

‘Lucky charms!’ he cried. ‘Get your lucky charms here!’

No-one was paying him any heed, and when he went to tie the charms around the necks of the passers-by each attempt was greeted with an irritated shake of the head as the goblin or troll or whatever hurried past.
Twig watched him sadly. The slaughterer — like so many of the Deepwoods folk who had listened to rumours that the streets of Undertown were paved with gold — was finding the reality quite different. With a sigh, he turned and was about to move on when, at that moment, a particularly mean-looking cloddertrog in tattered clothes and heavy boots brushed past him.

‘Lucky charm?’ the slaughterer said cheerily and stepped forwards, leather thong at the ready.

‘Keep your murderous red hands off me!’ the cloddertrog roared and shoved the outstretched arms savagely away.

The slaughterer spun round and crashed to the ground. The lucky charms went everywhere.

As the cloddertrog stomped off, cursing under his breath, Twig hurried over to the slaughterer. ‘Are you all right?’ he asked, reaching down to help him to his feet.

The slaughterer rolled over and blinked up at him. ‘Blooming rudeness,’ he complained. ‘I don’t know!’ He looked away and began gathering up the charms and returning them to the tray. ‘All I’m trying to do is scratch an honest living.’

‘It can’t be easy,’ said Twig sympathetically. ‘So far away from your Deepwoods home.’

Twig knew the slaughterers well. He had once stayed with them in their forest village, and to this day, he still wore the hammelhornskin waistcoat they had given him. The slaughterer looked up. Twig touched his forehead in greeting and reached down with his hand once again.
This time, with the last of the charms back in place, the slaughterer took a hold and pulled himself up. He touched his own forehead. ‘I am Tendon,’ he said. ‘And thank you for stopping to see whether I was all right. Most folk round here wouldn’t give you the time of day.’ He sniffed. ‘I don’t suppose . . .’ He checked himself.
‘What?’ said Twig.

The slaughterer shrugged. ‘I was just wondering whether you might care to buy one of my lucky charms.’ And Twig smiled to himself as, unbidden, the slaughterer selected one of the leather talismans and held it out. ‘How about this one? It’s extremely potent.’

Twig looked at the intricate spiral tooled into the deep-red leather. He knew that, for the slaughterers, the individual designs on the charms each had its own significance.

‘Those who wear this charm,’ the slaughterer went on as he tied the thong around Twig’s neck, ‘shall be freed from fear of the known.’
Excerpted from Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Text and illustrations copyright © 2004 by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Excerpted by permission of David Fickling Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Paul Stewart|Chris Riddell

About Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart - Edge Chronicles: Stormchaser

Photo © Rolf Marriott

Paul Stewart is the co-creator of the bestselling Edge Chronicles series, with Chris Riddell. He is also the author of a number of previous titles for children including The Wakening.

About Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell - Edge Chronicles: Stormchaser

Photo © Rolf Marriott

Chris Riddell is the co-creator of the bestselling Edge Chronicles series, with Paul Stewart. He has illustrated many children’s books including the award-winning Pirate Diary. He is also the political cartoonist for the Guardian and Observer newspapers.

Talking to Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell about the Edge Chronicles

Q. What was your inspiration for The Edge Chronicles?
Paul:
The Edge Chronicles started off with the map. Chris drew it and gave it to me saying, 'here is the world, tell me what happens there.'
Chris: I drew a map that looked like the edge of a map because I’ve always been fascinated by the edges of maps - the place where the known world ends.
Paul: My main inspiration for the Deepwoods was perhaps the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, though other books–Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Gormenghast, Gulliver's Travels– also played their part.
Q: What was your favorite character(s) to create?
Chris:
My favorite character is the spindlebug. It was easy for Paul to write that it was see-through, like glass, but a challenge for an illustrator to draw. The creatures live an immense amount of time–up to four centuries –which means that they witness a lot more history of the Edge than other characters.
Paul: My favorite characters are the banderbears. Chris drew them first as fierce, pyramid-like bear creatures. Because they looked so ferocious, I made their character more timid. We have enjoyed developing the creatures as the series has progressed, learning about their natural habits and habitat and creating a language all of their own.
Q: Where did you come up with the names for your characters? The various personalities and life stories?
Paul:
Both of us hate the clichéd fantasy names and tried to make the names in the Edge world a little different. Woodtrolls have woody names, like Snatchwood, Gruffbark, Snetterbark. Slaughterers have 'meaty' names like Gristle, Sinew, Tendon and Brisket. The academics have Latin/Basque names with lots of ius's and x's. Cowlquape, who goes through lots of changes, has a name taken from the German for tadpole - Kaulquappe. While Twig, of course, is just a tiny bit of the forest.
As the series has progressed, with prequels and sequels, the life histories of the various characters have become more deeply described. So Twig's mother, Maris, is only mentioned in Beyond the Deepwoods. In book 4, the Curse of the Gloamglozer, we meet her as a girl. And in the book we have just completed, Book 7 - Freeglader - we learn all about what happened to her after she abandoned her baby in the Deepwoods. The continuity revealed as the story unfolds is deeply satisfying.
Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
Chris:
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Paul: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Q: Since you both work as a team from conception to finish, what is the creative process like?  How exactly does the collaboration work?
Paul:
The pictures and words take shape simultaneously, each affecting the development of the other. Sometimes characters and creatures start with a picture, sometimes with a textual description. In addition, the plot is worked on constantly by both of us and, when they are around, our children! Similarly, the text is passed back and forth, being rewritten continuously, until both of us are happy with it.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of writing the series?
Paul:
The whole process is challenging. More importantly, though, it is also rewarding. Both of us have immense fun playing with the Edge world. Beyond the Deepwoods was the simplest book, an episodic rite of passage novel where we, as well as the main protagonist, began to explore this new world. As we have gone deeper into it, the world has become richer and richer, and the storylines similarly, more involved. We are fascinated by the way the world is still developing as we learn more and more about its history and explore all areas of the political and natural world in increasing depth.
Q: When did you first begin writing/drawing?
Chris:
At five years old in the back pew of my father's church. My mother gave me paper and pens to keep me quiet during Dad's (very interesting) sermons.
Paul: From the moment I could write, I have been writing down stories. At seven, I was working on a series of stories about a snail called Oliver. At ten, I attempted to write a follow-up to The Phantom Tollbooth with ideas that took shape over the next 20 years and finally became a book entitled The Thought Domain.
Q: In Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, Twig deals with the loss of two father figures. How is this important for his development?
Paul:
Twig has to grow up and assume responsibility for his father's crew and, when he learns of Tuntum's death, he realizes how he has grown and matured since he left the Woodtroll village. He hopes that Tuntum would be proud of him, and what he has achieved.
Q: What scene did you have the most fun creating?
Chris:
Both of us enjoyed the wig-wig arena scene a lot. The whole Shryke slave market, with its platforms and walkways all hanging from the Deepwoods trees, was great fun to create as a home for the flightless Shrykes. The escape from it on Prowlgrinback was also great fun both to write and draw. 
Paul: Midnight over Sanctaphrax was the third in the series, and the book where we were beginning to reap the rewards both of close collaboration and of getting to know the world more deeply. The Prowlgrins (which I had originally described as being like hyena/leopard-like creatures, but which Chris had drawn as a curious cross between a whale and a toad) looked to me as if they were brilliantly designed for leaping from branch to branch. Therefore the pictures in Book 1 directly influenced the plot in Book 3. Similarly, in book 1, I had wanted a pirate-like punishment similar to keelhauling, and had come up with sky-firing. In Midnight over Sanctaphrax, this throwaway idea becomes pivotal to the plot– but we won't give it away just in case you haven't read the book yet!
Q: The Edge Chronicles seems perfectly suited for film, with its fast-paced action, loveable creatures, and incredible comic-timing. Were you thinking along these lines during its inception?
Paul:
We did not deliberately set out to produce fiction which could be turned into a film. That said, both of us work in a very visual way, so a lot of the plotting, characterization and scene development is quite cinematic. It would be a great thrill to see The Edge Chronicles realized on the big screen!
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



NOTE TO TEACHERS

The Edge Chronicles tell the story of three generations of heroes—Quint, Twig, and Rook— whose courage and strength of character take them on remarkable quests and journeys throughout the Edge: a land of great beauty and terrifying dangers. From the Deepwoods to the Mire; from the Edgelands to the Twilight Woods; from Undertown to Sanctaphrax, the story’s heroes overcome great odds, experience thrilling adventures, form lifelong friendships, and endure profound loss in this world that, at many times, resembles life on earth. The series touches on many important themes to readers, such as friendship, loyalty,
the environment, technology, and war to make the Edge Chronicles not only a fascinating reading experience, but a relevant one as well.

“The narrative will cast a spell on readers from the beginning.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred, on Beyond the Deepwoods

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Twig lives as a sky pirate alongside his famous father, Cloud Wolf, until the Stormchaser is damaged due to Twig’s inexperience. A furious Cloud Wolf leaves Twig behind on their next quest for the sacred material stormphrax. Not knowing that individuals are plotting to profit from the booty, Cloud Wolf sets out on his quest, unaware that Twig has stowed away. A terrible mutiny and raging storm forces the crew to abandon ship with Cloud Wolf still aboard, and Twig becomes captain. Without a ship and stranded in the Deepwoods, it’s up to Captain Twig and the crew to return, not only with stormphrax, but with the knowledge of how to harness its power for the common good.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

• A friendly slaughterer pedaling lucky charms tells Twig, “Fear of the unknown is for the foolish and weak . . . for my money, what is known is generally far more frightening.” (p. 10) Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What that is “known” is frightening to you?
• After Twig sees Screed Toetaker’s supply of stormphrax, he becomes enraged that he was unable to find the substance. Professor of Light says, “Ah, Twig . . . ends and means.” (p. 284) Discuss the phrase the end justify the means. In this situation, do the ends (restoring the Sanctaphrax treasury with stormphrax, and from it, producing water-cleansing phraxdust) justify the means (the murder of hundreds of people)?

• Themes: Family • Corruption • Destiny • Loyalty • Leadership • Friendship

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

• It is impossible for a book that is so packed with vivid detail to have an illustration for each bit of action. Discuss the events in the story that have accompanying illustrations, and why these events were chosen. Have students illustrate, in a line drawing, one scene that does not have an illustration.

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

Prepared by Colleen Carroll, Education Consultant, Curriculum Writer, and Children’s Book Author, Sleepy Hollow, New York.
Random House Children’s Books • 1745 Broadway, Mail Drop 10-4 • New York, NY 10019 • BN0704 • 01/07

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