The Edge Chronicles is a children's fantasy novel series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Originally published in the United Kingdom, the series has since been published in the United States as well.
The last book, The Immortals (TBD), will reunite all three main characters according to the authors. What they mean is obscure, as the three protagonists live in different ages and Quint had died in Midnight Over Sanctaphrax. It is also believed that in the last book The Immortals (TBD) that we will find out what is actually below the Edge and many more unanswered questions about the Edge and its characters and creatures. According to the official website of authors Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, the release should be some time in February 2009.
Nate Quarter, the main character of the Immortals, is born into a world quite different from that of his forefathers. Stormphrax is mined, and used to power the magnificent new phraxships which now ply their trade throughout the Edgelands. This has brought prosperity to many and led to the great expansion into the Deepwoods - but it has also caused problems, creating an increasingly divided world of haves and have-nots and reviving bitter ancient rivalries.
The second is the Deepwoods, the forest which many woodland creatures, both peaceful and deadly, call home - including the hero of books four to six of the Chronicles. 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, after the Nightwoods, or Waif Country, is a giant cliff which leads to the Riverrise. A legend exists about Riverrise, a place at the end of the Deepwoods with water that has healing properties. Behind the waterfall that is there, is a staircase, which leads above the clouds, to the top of Riverrise. In the middle there is a pool, from which the waterfall at the bottom flows. Around it, there are hundreds of trees and flowers, making it seem like a huge garden.
Another site in the Deepwoods is the Great Shryke Slave Market. There creatures of any kind can come to buy or sell creatures they had captured and sell them as slaves. The whole market is owned and operated by the shrykes, a bird-like race of creatures who live on the Edge. In the Rook saga several large towns are made in the Deepwoods.
In the Deepwoods there are a few settlements apart from the normal villages and tribes. There is the Foundry Glade, set up by Hemuel Spume in order to build his war machines, the 'glade-eaters', the Eastern Roost, which is ruled by shrykes, the Goblin Nations, a loose alliance between many different Goblin tribes against the rest of the Edge's species, and the Free Glades. The Free Glades were set up by Maris Pallitax as a haven for any lost creature looking for peace and community. They consist of The Ironwood Glade, which is next to the South Lake and the Great Lake. Near the edge of the Great Lake there is Lake Landing, home to the Librarian Knights, which is near the Waif Glen where the Reckoning takes place and where only the invited can get in. Next to the Great Lake there is the Woodtroll Timberyards, and in the North Lake there is Lullabee Island. At the very edge of the Free Glades, there is a cliff, which is full of caves where cloddertrogs reside. And most important of all, there is New Undertown. New Undertown, as well as many of the villages, are only seen in the last three books.
Third comes the Twilight Woods, a place of decay uncleanliness which gives off a strange force that makes anyone who enters forget themselves and be lost forever in daydreams and nightmares. It is a place that robs intruders of their senses and faculties, but never grants the peace of death. Great Storms are attracted to the place to release great bolts of lightning that hit the earth in solid form, as the revered substance "stormphrax", and despite the risks many venture there in search of the powerful crystals. Because perpertual twilight exists there, the stormphrax is slowly ground down into a powder, called phraxdust. This powder can purify any liquid, making it safe for drinking.
Next is the Mire, a bubbling brownish-white land coated by ooze that resulted from the dumping into it of waste and sludge by nearby Undertown. It is a place of hidden blow holes and sinking quick-mud, and seems perfectly uninhabitable - except for the creeping monsters that hide in the waste. In the Rook trilogy, there exists a great road over the Mire, controlled by birdlike shrykes. At the very edge in the north, cliff-marble was once mined for the buildings of Sanctaphrax.
Next are the Twin Cities, the scholarly Sanctaphrax and the dirty Undertown (see below).
The final part of the Edge is the Stone Gardens, at the very eastern area of the Edge. The Gardens are where buoyant rocks slowly "grow" from the surface, and eventually float away into the sky. The Garden is guarded by the white ravens, which keep an eye on the cultivation of the strange stones. These stones are used to build great flying boats known as sky-ships; without the stones, transport on the Edge would be a very limited affair. Later in the series, the Stone Gardens are infected with "stone-sickness" - a degenerative disease that brought to an end the "First Age of Flight", (some believed that it occurred because Cloud Wolf had some how infected the Mother Storm) which in turn brought about many other changes to the Edge.
After the Stone Gardens the Edge cliff finally ends and the Edgewater River endlessly tumbles over into the yawning void of Open Sky below.
The Western Quays are the wealthiest part of Undertown. It was the home of the wealthy leaguesmen as well as a few successful sky pirates, including Wind Jackal. However, by the time of the Rook trilogy it has been buried under tons of rubble from the crumbling New Sanctaphrax rock becoming part of Screetown.
Boom Docks The main area for sky ships to tether in Undertown to unload cargo.
Palace of the Leagues the home of the Leagues master and headquarters of the Leagues of Undertown. After the fall of the Leagues, it becomes the home of Vox Verlix and is known as the palace of statues. It is destroyed by the dark maelstrom Vox created.
In the Quint and Twig trilogies Undertown was ruled by the Leagues of Undertown, In the Rook trilogy it was ruled by goblins.
Rock Demon Ravine A giant ravine inhabited by vicious rock demons.
The Sunken Palace The headquarters of the Ghosts of Screetown. It was formerly the palace of the Verginix family in the western quays.
Loftus Observatory the tallest tower of Sanctaphrax which houses many weather forecasting instruments including several large telescopes.
The Knights Academy the school where young scholars are trained to be knight academics. However, there are only thirteen that are chosen to be knight academics at any one time. The rest of the students become academics-at-arms: the guardians of Sanctaphrax who become catapult workers, swordsmen and a host of other positions that are required for the academics-at-arms to guard Sanctaphrax. The school consists of four main classes which teach the students key subjects to being Knight academics. These are: the Hall of Storm Cloud- subject ship building; the Hall of Grey Cloud- subject prowlgrin handling; the Hall of White Cloud- subject Stormchasing, and the Hall of High cloud- subject weather forecasting.
In Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, the chain holding down Sanctaphrax is cut, and the city floats away.
The Sanctaphrax Forest the enormous ongoing construction of support beams that holds up New Sanctaphrax. The Forest is inhabited by many dangerous creatures.
The Tower of Night, the head quarters of Guardians of Night, is the most powerful fortress in the Edge. Vox Verlix boasted its construction was so strong it could survive cannonballs and hurricanes. The tower is set on fire at the end of the book 'Vox' after being hit by a lightning bolt, shortly before New Sanctaphrax is destroyed by the Black Maelstorm.
Father of Quintinius Verginix and captain of the Galerider, a sky pirate ship, he 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 (sometimes spelt Hirmina), Lintrax, and children Lucius, Centrix, Murix, Pellius and Martilius died in a fire that razed their palace in the Western Quays. He and Quint later hunt down the arsonist, a certain 'Turbot Smeal', Wind Jackal's old quartermaster.
Linius Pallitax is the ex-Most High Academe of Old Sanctaphrax, and he is introduced to us in the first book of the Edge Chronicles, "The Curse of the Gloamglozer". Linius is Maris Pallitax's father (who later becomes Twig Verginix's mother), but during the course of the book it is evident that he has shut her out from his life. Instead, he is experimenting in an ancient laboratory deep in the centre of the rock on which Old Sanctaphrax was located, trying to recreate 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. See 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 for many years. His son Twig later joins him, but they are sadly parted 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.
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 nevertheless looks up to her father, and is thus at first jealous of the attention Linius bestows on his new apprentice Quint. A bond soon develops between the pair, 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 wellbeing 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 eventually joins Quint on his adventures after her father's death, and bears a son, Twig.
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.
A natural captain of sky ships, Twig later travels across the Edgeworld from Sanctaphrax to Riverrise, and finally into the Free Glades, where he is known as the Last Sky Pirate.
Sinew was featured in the first book (Beyond the Deepwoods) after Twig rescued her brother from a hoverworm. Twig returned him to his village to rejoin his slaughterer friends and in doing so, met Sinew Tatum for the first time. Sinew Tatum died a year after Keris' birth, of a fever.
Keris is the daughter of sky pirate captain, Twig (Arborinus Verginix), and 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 her about 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.
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 killed 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, 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.
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 was selected, along with Rook Barkwater and Stob Lummus, to go on an expedition to the Freeglades. While there, she becomes great friends with her fellow librarian knights. 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 Team, a section of the librarian knights' air forces. Throughout the series, it is shown she holds feelings for Rook.
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 as an under-apprentice to 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 is not to last, as he is ousted by Vox Verlix, who names himself the new Most High Academe. After the ascension of the Guardians of Night to power, Cowplquape is taken prisoner by Orbix Xaxis, where he befriends Xanth Filatine, his jailor. 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 begins 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 sends for a ride to the Free Glades with the librarians, but it never comes, for his Waif assistant, Amberfuce, took it in his stead, behind his back. Vox Verlix dies in his Palace of Statues with Hestera Spikesap, his servant.
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 Drifcleaver which was known for its powerful ram, the Fogscythe which was equipped with several curved blades, and the Thundercrusher, which boasted a huge wrecking ball.