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Beyond the Deepwoods: The Edge Chronicles #01

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Beyond the Deepwoods: The Edge Chronicles #01 Cover

ISBN13: 9780385750684
ISBN10: 0385750684
Condition: Standard
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The Snatchwood Cabin

Twig sat on the floor between his mothers 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 Id already heard the ending.

Spelda tousled her sons thick black hair. Hes 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 Twigs 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 everyones 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 trees 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 mothers 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 dont 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 didnt like what it smelled, this was not his home?

Twig swallowed guiltily. This was something he had wished so often as hed 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 fathers 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 fathers 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 youre 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 Tuntums 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.

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ellenthomas2, September 18, 2006 (view all comments by ellenthomas2)
So far I have read the first two books and am partway through the third. I am absolutely hooked! The imaginative world that Stewart creates is easy to picture with the help of the marvelous illustrations; the hero, Twig, is loveable and brave and everything a hero should be. The momentum just keeps rolling all the way through. Brilliant, richly imaginative, loads of fun. I borrowed them from my 12 year old and couldn't put them down, so I think intergenerational appeal applies as well.
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Product Details

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
David Fickling Books
Riddell, Chris
Stewart, Paul
Riddell, Chris
Action & Adventure
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Science Fiction
Action & Adventure - General
Fantasy & Magic
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Edition Description:
American Hardcover
Edge Chronicles
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
June 22, 2004
Grade Level:
from 5 up to 7
8.02x5.00x.99 in. .77 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Children's » Series » General

Beyond the Deepwoods: The Edge Chronicles #01 Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages David Fickling Books - English 9780385750684 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This charming British series, the Edge Chronicles, makes a transatlantic crossing with its launch title, a handsomely designed paper-over-board volume with pen-and-inks by the authors. In poetic prose, Stewart and Riddell invent the magical realm that culminates at the Edge (a precipice that resembles 'the figurehead of a mighty stone ship'). The flow of water that ceaselessly falls off the Edge originates in the Deepwoods, where 'countless tribes and strange groupings scratch a living in the dappled sunlight and moonglow beneath its lofty canopy.' Twig, who is nearly 13, lives with a family of woodtrolls, but his non-troll appearance (except for the pointy ears) marks him as an outcast; it is not a total surprise when his 'Mother-Mine' reveals that he was dropped 'at the foot of our tree' as an infant. And so begins a journey that leads Twig to his destiny, as the ominous caterbird tells him, which lies 'beyond the Deepwoods.' 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 ('Fromps coughed and spat, quarms squealed, while the great banderbear beat its monstrous hairy chest and yodelled to its mate'). The detailed artwork with numerous comic touches also offer clues to Twig's parentage (he bears a certain resemblance to a dreaded sky pirate who makes an early appearance). Twig winds up at the Edge, and his decision at the chasm leads him to self- discovery — and nicely sets up the next adventure, Stormchaser (-75070-6; also releasing this month), which sees Twig beginning his life as a sky pirate. Ages 10-12. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Stunningly original."
"Review" by , "A richly inventive of the most exciting collaborations between a writer and illustrator for a long time."
"Synopsis" by , This "stunningly original" (The Guardian, UK) fantasy series for middle-graders introduces young Twig — who lives in the Deepwoods among the Woodtrolls but isn't one of them — and his adventures in the mysterious, dangerous world beyond the Deepwoods. Illustrations.
"Synopsis" by , Abandoned at birth in the Deepwoods, Twig is brought up by a family of woodtrolls. One night, Twig abandons woodtroll tradition — he strays from the path. Thus begins a heart-stopping adventure: strange creatures, bloodthirsty enemies, and a destiny in the skies.
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