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The Edge Chronicles: Clash Of The Sky Galleons by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

01/03/2010. Contributed by Vikki Green

Buy The Edge Chronicles: Clash Of The Sky Galleons in the USA - or Buy The Edge Chronicles: Clash Of The Sky Galleons in the UK

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pub: Doubleday/Corgi. 425 page illustrated enlarged paperback. Price: 5.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-552-55127-4).

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'Clash Of The Sky Galleons' by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell is the last volume in 'The Quint Trilogy'. It picks up Quint and Maris's story a few months after they have joined Wind Jackal's Sky Pirate crew on board the Galerider. As usual, there is no end of intrigue bubbling under the surface of the story. Peace reigns in the floating city of Sanctaphrax. The League Masters are embroiled in a secretive ship-building project. There is no bloodoak timber - the lightest and strongest timber to build a sky ship with - to be found and the price has gone through the roof. In the Stone Gardens, a huge flight rock is being tended until it reaches harvesting size. Treachery is lurking in the darkest corners of Undertown. Ambition is driving others to murder. In the midst of all this, Wind Jackal, Quint's normally wise and controlled father, is being warped by a quest for vengeance on his ex-Quartermaster, Turbot Smeal.

Smeal had earned Wind Jackal's enmity years before when he murdered Wind Jackal's mother and five of his six sons in a fire on the Western Quays. Nothing had been heard of him for more than a decade, it had been assumed he had also died in the inferno. The only member of Wind Jackal's family to escape was five year-old Quint. Now it appears Smeal has come back from the dead. Wind Jackal is in the midst of a search for Smeal at the Cliff Quarries when the book opens. It is an encounter from which Wind Jackal and Quint barely escape with their lives. It is not the first ambush, nor is it the last.

Quint and Maris are both worried at what they perceive as Wind Jackal's decline into irrationality and are delighted when he is offered a contract taking them into the Deepwoods, well away from Smeal. Their voyage takes them through storms and the perils of the Deepwoods only to find death, danger and betrayal awaits them.

Another instalment of 'The Edge Chronicles' which should appeal to Young Adult readers with a taste for swashbuckling derring-do and a sense of the truly disgusting. Some of the creatures in the Deepwoods really are warped. The halitoad, whose breath is lethal, particularly comes to mind. The bloodoak hunt is a tense sequence. The sky wreck is an eerie sequence and the book culminates in a sequence worthy of an epic naval drama, only in the skies. Wonderful.

Again, the book is packed with vividly drawn characters with a life of their own. It is a real page-turner as danger follows danger. The illustrations are exquisite, as usual. A worthy end to an interesting saga.

Vikki Green

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