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  • Far-Flung Adventures: Corby Flood
  • Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780385750974
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  • Far-Flung Adventures: Corby Flood
  • Written by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307495419
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Far-Flung Adventures: Corby Flood

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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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List Price: $6.99

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On Sale: December 18, 2008
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-0-307-49541-9
Published by : David Fickling Books RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The second magical, funny, and fabulously illustrated story in the Far Flung Adventures from the authors of Fergus Crane and the Edge Chronicles.
Corby Flood and her family are about to set sail on the rather ramshackle cruise ship, the S.S. Euphonia. Her boisterous brothers might not have noticed that anything is wrong, but Corby is highly observant and has a lot of time for note-taking and eavesdropping. Onboard, among the odd passengers and eccentric crew, there is a strange group of men in bowler-hats who call themselves The Brotherhood of Clowns. There's also a melancholy wailing sound coming from the hold. It's strictly out of bounds but Corby can't help investigating. What could be inside the crate she discovers down in the hold? As the ship arrives at its destination, Corby must enlist the help of some very well mustachioed locals to uncover the contents of the crate and the dark secrets of the menacing Clowns...


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Chapter 1. The Saddest Song

It’s quiet and dark here, and the forest floor sways and rolls beneath my feet. Sometimes I stumble, but I do not fall over, because I’m trapped inside this tree where it is always dark. Oh, how I long to see the sun again.

How did I get here? I can hardly remember . . .

Ah, yes, that’s it. I followed my tongue. The sweet petals tasted so good, melting in my mouth, until I walked into this tree and got trapped inside.

Now there is no more sun. Just quiet and darkness and swaying. I feel so sad. My heart is so full of sadness that it must surely break . . .

I will sing to let the sadness out. Perhaps if I sing, the forest will stop rolling and swaying, and the sun will come back, and my heart will not break . . . just yet.

The S.S. Euphonia, ablaze with twinkling lights, glided across a moonlit sea. Its funnels were topped with streams of frothy white smoke, its gleaming sides peppered with brightly lit portholes and its decks thronged with glamorous promenaders, taking the air and watching the stars.

It was all so wonderful. So magical . . .

Corby Flood reached up and touched the glass that protected the faded poster. She traced the lettering in the starry sky above the beautiful ship with a finger.

The S.S. Euphonia,’ she read. ‘“Empress of the Seas”. Enjoy the voyage of a lifetime aboard this miracle of modern nautical engineering! Cruise the oceans of the world and explore the magical places along the way! Book now for the deluxe ten-ports-of-call cruise and receive your free copy of the famous Hoffendinck’s
Guide.

Corby’s grip tightened on the battered leatherbound book she was clutching under her arm.

‘Why, if it isn’t one of those Hoffendinck’s Guides,’ said a gloomy voice.

Corby turned to find Captain Boris Belvedere standing before her. The captain — never cheerful at the best of times — was looking gloomier than ever. With his sagging skin and drooping moustache, he looked like nothing so much as a disappointed walrus.

‘Didn’t think we had any of those left on board,’ he said. ‘After all, it’s not as if the poor old Euphonia stops anywhere interesting any more. In fact she doesn’t stop anywhere at all any more! Dandoon to Harbour Heights non-stop, and back again . . .’ His voice was low, lugubrious and tinged with regret. ‘More’s the pity.’ He sighed. ‘Hauling cargo is all the old “Empress of the Seas” and I are fit for. That, and the odd passenger or two who can’t afford anything better . . .’ He looked Corby up and down somewhat disapprovingly.

‘Well, I think she’s a lovely ship,’ said Corby. ‘And after Father’s great disappointment . . .’ Her voice wavered for a moment and she swallowed hard. ‘Mother says we’ve got to learn to make the best of things and try to stay cheerful.’ And she gave the captain what she hoped was a meaningful stare.

‘Yes, well, ahem . . .’ The captain turned away. ‘Sometimes that’s easier said than done, little girl. Especially when the bilge pump has broken and your first and your second engineers have left for better jobs.’

He cast a gloomy eye over the chipped paintwork, rusty railings and scuffed decking of the old ship.

‘Still, that’s only to be expected when hardly anything works any more,’ he went on. ‘The automatic parasols, the self-adjusting railings, the moving windbreaks . . .’ He gestured about him in a wide arc. ‘The Euphonia’s only fit for the scrapheap,’ hemuttered, shaking his head. ‘Just like me!’


‘Good news, Captain,’ came a smooth, polished voice, and both he and Corby turned to see the ship’s first officer Lieutenant Jon-Jolyon Letchworth- Crisp standing there, a suave smile on his lips. ‘Arthur’s managed to fix the bilge pump,’ he said. ‘At least, for the time being . . .’

‘Good news?’ said Captain Belvedere. ‘If you say so, Letchworth- Crisp, if you say so . . .’

The captain turned and walked slowly away. ‘I’ll be in my cabin if you need me,’ he added gloomily. ‘Though why anybody should need me, I don’t know . . .’

Jon-Jolyon turned to Corby and flashed a brittle smile. ‘And how is young Miss Corby Flood today?’ he asked.

‘Fine, thanks,’ said Corby.

‘And your delightful mother and father?’

‘Also fine.’

‘And your four energetic brothers?’

Corby nodded. They both knew that there was only one person in the Flood family he was truly interested in. ‘The same as ever,’ she said. ‘And before you ask, so is my enchanting older sister, Serena.’

Jon-Jolyon grinned. ‘Glad to hear it. Do give her my very best regards, won’t you?’ he said, as he turned on his heels and strode off. ‘And I hope we shall all meet up at dinner,’ he called back over his shoulder.

Corby smiled — a smile which faded the moment she was sure the lieutenant had gone. She opened Hoffendinck’s Guide and, taking the pencil that dangled on a piece of string around her neck, she started writing . . .

H O F F E N D I N C K ’ S G U I D E

THE HERMIT ISLANDS

These tiny crags, several hundred in number, were occupied by hermit fishermen for many years and are ideal for an afternoon picnic if passing. Consult the captain for details of tides, and always have a stout rowing boat at the ready in case of emergencies.

Some of the more interesting islands are:

Mortimer’s Crag
— very rocky, but home to a legendary mermaid so hideous that she is said to frighten fishermen to death with one look.

Stefan’s Pile
— covered in soft, grey sea-moss up to five feet thick, and home to eider crabs.

The Old Man of Fub — famous for its nesting colony of blue-tailed goobies. Well worth a visit.

SIGHTS TO LOOK OUT FOR:

De Witt’s Moonlight Flying Fish; a.k.a. Love Fish
— on moonlit nights, these extraordinary fish can be seen swimming in large shoals close to the surface of the ocean. As the moonlight glints on the tops of the waves, the love fish engage in elaborate displays, leaping into the air in graceful arcs.

Legend has it that any who witness the flight of the love fish fall instantly in love.

NOTES

Corby stopped writing for a moment and gazed reflectively out to sea. How strange, she thought, to be writing notes about the people she met on board, instead of notes about the interesting places mentioned in Hoffendinck’s Guide.

When they boarded the S.S. Euphonia, she’d been so excited by the prospect of all the fascinating sights she would see on her voyage home to Harbour Heights — not that Corby could call Harbour Heights ‘home’ exactly. The only home she had ever known was the large white bungalow in Dandoon where she had been born eight years earlier. And as for the sights, it wasn’t long before Corby had discovered that the closest she would ever get was peering at them on the distant horizon as the ship sailed past.

Still, at least she could read all about them in the guide. She squinted at a tiny black speck on the horizon.



Was that Mortimer’s Crag? she wondered. Or Stefan’s Pile? But she was too far away even to make a guess, she realized with a sigh.

At that moment Corby heard the sound of low muttering and shuffling footsteps coming up the stairs from the cabins below her.

Uh-oh, she thought, snapping shut Hoffendinck’s Guide. It’s the Hattenswillers!

Mr and Mrs Hattenswiller appeared at the top of the stairs. They were both wearing tall, conical hats with ear flaps, and matching ankle-length coats with lots of pockets. Whenever she met them, Mr Hattenswiller would click his heels together and nod at Corby politely, while Mrs Hattenswiller would smile, and the pair of them never failed to exchange greetings. And that was where the problem lay — for no matter how hard she listened, Corby could never, ever, make out what they were saying.

Sometimes Mr Hattenswiller would speak, and his wife would smile knowingly as though he had just said the cleverest thing. But Corby had heard only a mumbled murmur. And sometimes Mrs Hattenswiller would say something, and her husband would nod vigorously in agreement. But again, Corby had heard nothing but a quiet whisper.

Once, taking a chance, she’d replied that she was ‘very well, thank you’ — but both Hattenswillers had looked at her as if she were mad. His eyebrows had shot upwards, her smile had frozen, and the pair of them had continued on their way, exchanging puzzled comments that, of course, Corby couldn’t hear properly. No, far better all round if she avoided them, she thought, as she scooted through the side door and onto the starboard deck.


From the Hardcover edition.
Paul Stewart|Chris Riddell

About Paul Stewart

Paul Stewart - Far-Flung Adventures: Corby Flood

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 - Far-Flung Adventures: Corby Flood

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

"The second sparky tale in the series, again embellished by the drawings of Chris Riddell . . . an eagerly awaited sequel." --The Independent (UK)
"Extremely funny and, of course, brilliantly illustrated by Chris Riddell." --Children's Bookseller Supplement (UK)
"Corby Flood is Stewart and Riddell's best book yet. Completely satisfying as an adventure, the new book is full of amusing characterisation and is endlessly playful and inventive." --Times Educational Supplement (UK)
"Receives 5/5 star rating. Fab stuff!" - Kraze Club (UK)


From the Hardcover edition.

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