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Book Review

Book Cover

The Edge Chronicles
The Immortals


Authors: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
RRP: £10.99, US $19.95, Cdn $24.95
ISBN: 978 0 385 61628 7
Available 05 February 2009

Nate Quarter has never known any other life than that of a lowly lamplighter in the eastern mines of The Deepwoods. The work is hard, but since the death of his father he has come under the protection of Rudd, but the hatred of the mine sergeant, Grint Grayle knows few bounds and he determines to murder Nate. Although Rudd is killed Nate escapes with Slip aboard a mighty Skyship. This is only the beginning of Nate’s journey through The Edges Third Age of Flight, a wondrous time of trade and industrialisations, created by the use of the Skyships. But just as the mighty ships have created great wealth, great poverty has also followed in their wake...

The Edge Chronicles: The Immortals is the tenth in the series from Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. The Immortals is purportedly the last book in The Edge Chronicles. I have to admit to being more than a little dubious if the book would make any sense to me not having read the previous nine books.

Actually this is less of a problem to the new reader as the book makes a perfectly reasonable stand alone tale. For fans of the previous books, the story is set five hundred years ahead of the previous nine books, even though it contains characters contemporary to the three series - three books per series. This is not such an odd idea, Michael Moorcock used to do this a lot in his books, reusing characters and allowing them to be taken out of their own timeline so that they could meet with interesting results.

Likewise, Mervyn Peake also ended his Gormenghast with a trip to what appear to be the future. In fact never having read the series it did remind me very much of Gormenghast. The book contains a very detailed and strange world, not so strange as to alienate the audience, once you settle down with the place names there are few instances when you are thrown out of the narrative by the inclusion of the sort of verbal spaghetti that seems to infest fantasy novels.

So, for the novice you get a perfectly reasonable fantasy novel, which, although aimed at the young adult market, is engaging enough to be enjoyed by adults. For established fans many of the questions which were left unanswered are given some sort of resolution here.

This is a sprawling massive book, coming in at 669 pages. Given its size I was expecting the book to stall at points, but the narrative includes enough action and characters that this never really becomes a problem. The story is well written and the book is heavily illustrated by Chris Riddell. The combination creates an experience not dissimilar to reading one of the illustrated Tolkien books.

So, Stewart and Riddell have pulled off the duel task of producing a book which both novices and the fans will enjoy.


Charles Packer

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