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  • Edge Chronicles: Midnight Over Sanctaphrax
  • Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
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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: December 18, 2008
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 978-0-307-52261-0
Published by : David Fickling Books RH Childrens Books

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On Sale: June 10, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-307-28265-1
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

SANCTAPHRAX WILL BE destroyed by the energy of the Mother Storm. . . .

Far over the Edge, the Mother Storm is brewing—a storm more terrifying than any seen in the lifetime of any Edgelander. Sweeping in from the open sky, it must strike the source of the Edgewater River to bring new energy to the land. But in its way is Sanctaphrax, a magnificent city built on a floating rock and tethered to the land by a massive chain. Only one person can save the Edgelands from certain disaster: Twig, the young sky pirate captain who dared to sail over the Edge—and returned with his memory shattered and his crew flung far and wide. But to recover his memory and take action, Twig must first find his lost crew. And this means a journey back into the Deepwoods, and beyond. . . .

“As before, Stewart’s descriptions are brilliant; Riddell’s line drawings are exquisitely detailed and notably grotesque. . . . Altogether this series is so exceptional that if I had any chance of collecting, I’d bet good money on it still being in print a century from now. . . . When’s the next book coming?”—Interzone

“Fabulously illustrated. . . .”—The Sunday Times

“Richly inventive. . . .”—Literary Review


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

The Snatchwood Cabin
Twig sat on the floor between his mother’s knees, and curled his toes in the thick fleece of the tilder rug. It was cold and draughty in the cabin. Twig leaned forwards and opened the door of the stove.

‘I want to tell you the story of how you got your name,’ his mother said.
‘But I know that story, Mother-Mine,’ Twig protested.

Spelda sighed. Twig felt her warm breath on the back of his neck, and smelled the pickled tripweed she had eaten for lunch. He wrinkled his nose. Like so much of the food which the woodtrolls relished, Twig found tripweed disgusting, particularly pickled. It was slimy and smelled of rotten eggs.

‘This time it will be a little different,’ he heard his mother saying. ‘This time I will finish the tale.’

Twig frowned. ‘I thought I’d already heard the ending.’

Spelda tousled her son’s thick black hair. He’s grown so fast, she thought, and wiped a tear from the end of her rubbery button-nose. ‘A tale can have many endings,’ she said sadly, and watched the purple light from the fire gleaming on Twig’s high cheekbones and sharp chin. ‘From the moment you were born,’ she began, as she always began, ‘you were different . . .’

Twig nodded. It had been painful, so painful, being different when he was growing up. Yet it amused him now to think of his parents’ surprise when he had appeared: dark, green-eyed, smooth-skinned, and already with unusually long legs for a woodtroll. He stared into the fire.

The lufwood was burning very well. Purple flames blazed all round the stubby logs as they bumped and tumbled around inside the stove.
The woodtrolls had many types of wood to choose from and each had its own special properties. Scentwood, for instance, burned with a fragrance that sent those who breathed it drifting into a dream-filled sleep, while wood from the silvery-turquoise lullabee tree sang as the flames lapped at its bark — strange mournful songs, they were, and not at all to everyone’s taste. And then there was the bloodoak, complete with its parasitic sidekick, a barbed creeper known as tarry vine.

Obtaining bloodoak wood was hazardous. Any woodtroll who did not know his woodlore was liable to end up satisfying the tree’s love of flesh — for the bloodoak and the tarry vine were two of the greatest dangers in the dark and perilous Deepwoods.

Certainly the wood of the bloodoak gave off a lot of heat, and it neither smelled nor sang, but the way it wailed and screamed as it burned put off all but a few. No, among the woodtrolls, lufwood was by far the most popular. It burned well and they found its purple glow restful.

Twig yawned as Spelda continued her story. Her voice was high-pitched but guttural; it seemed to gurgle in the back of her throat.

‘At four months you were already walking upright,’ she was saying, and Twig heard the pride in his mother’s words. Most woodtroll children remained down on their knuckles until they were at least eighteen months old.

‘But . . .’ Twig whispered softly. Drawn back inside the story despite himself, he was already anticipating the next part. It was time for the ‘but’. Every time it arrived Twig would shudder and hold his breath.

‘But,’ she said, ‘although you were so ahead of the others physically, you would not speak. Three years old you were, and not a single word!’ She shifted round in her chair. ‘And I don’t have to tell you how serious that can be!’

Once again his mother sighed. Once again Twig screwed up his face in disgust. Something Taghair had once said came back to him: ‘Your nose knows where you belong.’ Twig had taken it to mean that he would always recognize the unique smell of his own home. But what if he was wrong? What if the wise old oakelf had been saying — in his usual roundabout way — that because his nose didn’t like what it smelled, this was not his home?

Twig swallowed guiltily. This was something he had wished so often as he’d lain in his bunk after yet another day of being teased and taunted and bullied.

Through the window, the sun was sinking lower in the dappled sky. The zigzag silhouettes of the Deepwood pines were glinting like frozen bolts of lightning. Twig knew there would be snow before his father returned that night.

He thought of Tuntum, out there in the Deepwoods far beyond the anchor tree. Perhaps at that very moment he was sinking his axe into the trunk of a bloodoak. Twig shuddered. His father’s felling tales had filled him with deep horror on many a howling night. Although he was a master carver, Tuntum Snatchwood earned most of his money from the illicit repair of the sky pirates’ ships. This meant using buoyant wood — and the most buoyant wood of all was bloodoak.

Twig was uncertain of his father’s feelings towards him. Whenever Twig returned to the cabin with a bloodied nose or blacked eyes or clothes covered in slung mud, he wanted his father to wrap him up in his arms and soothe the pain away. Instead, Tuntum would give him advice and make demands.

‘Bloody their noses,’ he said once. ‘Black their eyes. And throw not mud but dung! Show them what you’re made of.’

Later, when his mother was smoothing hyleberry salve onto his bruises, she would explain that Tuntum was only concerned to prepare him for the harshness of the world outside. But Twig was unconvinced. It was not concern he had seen in Tuntum’s eyes but contempt.

Twig absent-mindedly wound a strand of his long, dark hair round and round his finger as Spelda went on with her story.

Excerpted from Beyond the Deepwoods 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
Paul Stewart|Chris Riddell

About Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart - Edge Chronicles 3: Midnight Over Sanctaphrax

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 3: Midnight Over Sanctaphrax

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!
Praise

Praise

PRAISE FOR THE EDGE CHRONICLES:

"Sure to please the Potter fans."
Detroit Free Press

"The narrative will cast a spell over readers from the beginning with its utterly odd, off-kilter sense of logic and a vocabulary that is equal parts Dr. Seuss and Lewis Carroll."
Publishers Weekly

"Good fun." –Kirkus Reviews

“Stunningly original.”—The Guardian (UK)

“A richly inventive fantasy . . . one of the most exciting collaborations between a writer and illustrator for a long time.”—The Literary Review (UK)


From the Hardcover edition.
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

Captain Twig learns that the Mother Storm is headed toward the Edge to reseed the sacred waters of Riverrise, and thus rejuvenate all life forms throughout the land. This rare and natural occurrence would come as great news but for one dire problem: the floating city of Sanctaphrax stands in the path of the Mother Storm. Twig and his crew must return to the Edge and sever the anchor chain that ties Sanctaphrax to Undertown so that the buoyant rock on which the city is built can be released into Open Sky. It’s up to Twig to accomplish this daunting task before the clock strikes midnight . . . over Sanctaphrax.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

• Although Cowlquape is small for his age, browbeaten from years of abuse by his father, and treated as “Undertown scum” by Vox Verlix, he dreams of a better life. What strengths does Cowlquape possess that ultimately transport him from his life as a sub-acolyte to the Most High Academe?
• On pages 149 and 150, Cowlquape reads to Twig from an ancient barkscroll about the mythical Riverrise. The text reads, “It is now the commonly held belief that the Mother Storm has struck the Edge not once, but many times, destroying and recreating with each return.” Discuss how natural occurrences, such as fire, create life through destruction.

• Themes: Friendship • Loyalty • Hope • Slavery • Greed • Environment • Freedom

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

Weather is a consistent subject in the Edge Chronicles. Have students research examples of extreme weather and report on its causes, common places on the earth where the weather occurs, and recent examples of its effects on the population and the environment.

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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