Midnight over Sanctaphrax (The Edge Chronicles Series #3) [NOOK Book]



Out in the open sky, a ferocious storm threatens the magnificent floating city of Sanctaphrax. Only Twig, who has dared to sail over the Edge, knows of the approaching danger. But before he can return home, his sky ship is destroyed, scattering his crew across the world and robbing him of all memory. Without Twig, will the Edge be lost forever? ...
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Midnight over Sanctaphrax (The Edge Chronicles Series #3)

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Out in the open sky, a ferocious storm threatens the magnificent floating city of Sanctaphrax. Only Twig, who has dared to sail over the Edge, knows of the approaching danger. But before he can return home, his sky ship is destroyed, scattering his crew across the world and robbing him of all memory. Without Twig, will the Edge be lost forever?

Twig, a young sky pirate captain, is the only one who can save the floating city of Sanctaphrax from the Mother Storm.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax: The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell is the third title in the series. Here, Twig, the teenage sky pirate from the earlier titles, and his crew of elves, goblins and other creatures find Twig's father after braving a weather vortex. They are then entrusted with a quest that will save the lands of the Edge. Of the series' launch title, Beyond the Deepwoods, PW said: "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." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-The young sky-pirate Captain Twig has been sent on a quest by his father Cloud Wolf. To save his world, he must sever the Anchor Chain of the floating city Sanctaphrax-home to academics and alchemists-before the Mother Storm arrives to reseed Riverrise with her rain. Unfortunately, Twig's memory of his father's instructions is gone, and his crew is scattered. Accompanied by Cowlquape, a Sanctaphrax apprentice, he scours the lands below for his crew and clues to the memories he has lost. Midnight is peopled with complex characters like woodelves, who can read minds; and wigwigs, fuzzy, Tribblelike creatures that happen to be carnivorous. Riddell's illustrations perfectly complement Stewart's text, but could mistakenly lead those perusing the book to assume it is for younger readers. It is not. Violence occurs, and characters die, some deservedly, others not. Stewart tackles issues of slavery and class structure while still maintaining a good adventure story with a very Hobbit-like feel to it. Readers unfamiliar with the series will have no trouble following this story, but expect a demand for Beyond the Deepwoods and Stormchaser (both Random, 2004).-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“In the Tolkien/Pratchett tradition, fabulously illustrated and written with more than usual elegance.”
The Sunday Times

"... combines skilfully paced narrative with global issues such as slavery and environmental destruction. Lots ofsurprising plot developments... full of everything"

"As before, Stewart's descriptions of corrupt and disgusting goings-on are brilliantly visualized; also as before, Riddell's line drawings are exquisitely detailed and notably grotesque.. Altogether this series is so exceptional that if I had any chance of collecting, I'd bet good money on it still being in print a century from now.. When's the next book coming?"

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307522610
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/18/2008
  • Series: Edge Chronicles Series , #3
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 191,312
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • File size: 14 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Paul Stewart is the author of many books for children including The Midnight Hand and The Wakening. He lives in Brighton, England.

Chris Riddell has illustrated many books for children and has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Kurt Maschler Award. He is also the acclaimed political cartoonist for the Guardian and the Observer. He lives in Sussex, England.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

The Snatchwood Cabin
Twig sat on the floor between his mother’s 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 I’d already heard the ending.’

Spelda tousled her son’s thick black hair. He’s 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 Twig’s 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 everyone’s 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 tree’s 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 mother’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t like what it smelled, this was not his home?

Twig swallowed guiltily. This was something he had wished so often as he’d 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 father’s 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 father’s 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 you’re 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 Tuntum’s 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter



Out in the vast cloudscape, a lone sky ship in full sail cut through the thin air. Ahead, at the end of a rope-tether, a gigantic bird flapped its mighty black-and-white wings as it led the ship ever further into that place of terror for all the creatures from the Edge — open sky.

'Weather vortex straight ahead,' the small oakelf shouted from the caternest at the top of the main-mast. His voice was shrill with fear. 'And it's a monster!'

Down at the helm of the Edgedancer, a young sky pirate captain in a hammelhornskin waistcoat raised his telescope to his eye with shaking hands. As he focused in on the dark, swirling air, his heart missed a beat. The approaching vortex was indeed monstrous. It was as if the great milky clouds were curdling and falling in on themselves, swirling into a great blood-red throat at the centre of which was an inky blackness that threatened to swallow the tiny sky ship whole.

'I see it, Spooler,' the young captain called to the oakelf.

'It's coming in at a rate of about a hundred strides per second, Captain Twig, sir,' Spooler shouted, panic plain in his voice. 'We've precious little time till impact.'

Twig nodded grimly. Already the currents of air around them were beginning to spin unpredictably. They were passing in and out of great banks of cloud; plummeting as they went in, soaring up again as they emerged on the other side. With the binding tether taut, the caterbird continued its steady, relentless flight.

'Surely this is madness!' complained the wiry weasel-faced quartermaster in the gaudy brocaded coat. He pulled the large tricorn hat from his headand wiped his sweaty brow. 'It's heading straight for the vortex.'

'We must follow where the caterbird leads, Sleet,' Twig shouted back.

'B . . . but . . .' stuttered Wingnut Sleet, his voice a thin whine.

'Sleet!' Twig called back. 'We are all in this together. just make sure those tolley-ropes are securely cleated.'

Muttering under his breath, the quartermaster went to do the young captain's bidding. On the lower deck, he found a heavy flat-head goblin clinging to the rigging, its eyes white with fear.

'Nothing to worry about, Bogwitt,' Sleet said through gritted teeth. 'If our young captain really does believe that that great scraggy bird can lead us to his long-lost father rather than to certain death in the heart of the vortex, then who are we to argue?'

'Who indeed!' shouted a stocky figure with the tell-tale flame-red skin and hair of a Deepwoods slaughterer. 'You signed on with Captain Twig, just like the rest of us. And I reckon, just like the rest of us, you saw something special in him - like he saw something special in each of us. We're the chosen few, we are, and we'll see this through to the end.'

'Yes, well,' replied Sleet uncertainly. 'The end seems rather closer than I'd expected.'

'Vortex, a hundred thousand strides and closing,' came the nerve-racked voice of Spooler from the caternest.

'It's all right to be afraid, Sleet,' murmured a soft, hissing voice from the shadows behind them.

Sleet dropped the tolley-rope and turned. 'Reading my thoughts again, were you, Woodfish?' he said.

Woodfish recoiled. He was a slight, reptilian individual with webbed hands and feet and enormous fanned ears which were constantly aquiver.

'I can't help it,' he apologized. 'It's what we waterwaifs do. And I can tell you this, too. The young captain knows this caterbird well. He was there at its hatching, and for that the creature is bound to watch over him as long as they both shall live. It was the caterbird who discovered Twig's father marooned in a wreck of a ship in open sky. It enlisted Captain Twig's help, and he enlisted ours. We are behind him all the way. Besides,' he added, 'the caterbird knows what it's doing - even though its thoughts are a bit tricky to read.'

'Oh, well, that makes me feel much better,' Wingnut Sleet replied sarcastically.

'I know,' said Woodfish quietly. 'I can read your thoughts quite clearly.'

Sleet's smile froze, and his sallow cheeks reddened.

'The tolley-ropes, Sleet!' shouted Twig.

The young captain stared ahead into the great open void. The Stormchaser, his father's sky pirate ship was out there somewhere, deeper in open sky than any sky ship had ever sailed before, and he would find it, whatever it took.

They had already travelled for twenty days and twenty nights, with the caterbird out ahead, leading them on unfalteringly into the treacherous void. Now, as the pink light from the rising sun spread out across the sky on that twenty-first morning, the seemingly tireless creature was taking them still further. And all the while, the winds were becoming more and more unpredictable as the dominant south-westerlies collided with the tunnel of air coming in from the east.

'Take the helm, Goom,' Twig said to the great shaggy mountain of hair and tusks standing behind him. Every sky pirate captain needed a faithful lieutenant, and Goom the banderbear was Twig's. 'Hold a steady course. We've got to keep on after the caterbird.'

Goom grunted, his feathery ears fluttering.

Twig turned his attention to the two rows of bonehandled levers that controlled the sky ship. With dextrous expertise, his hands played over them - raising the sternweight and lowering the prow-weight; lowering the starboard hull-weights, small, medium and large, as far as they would go, while raising their counterparts on the port side completely.

The sky ship dipped and listed sharply to starboard as Twig attempted to follow the caterbird's erratic path. Cries of alarm went up from the lower decks. Twig gritted his teeth and concentrated. Flying a sky ship was a difficult skill at the best of times, but with a vortex looming in from open sky, Twig was being tested to the limit.

With one hand, he positioned the neben- and klutehull-weights. With the other, he adjusted the angles of the sails - tilting the staysail, slackening off the mainsail, bringing the jib gently round . . . Easy does it. . . .

'Angle, speed and balance,' Twig muttered to himself. They were the three fundamentals of skysailing. Yet as the wind became more turbulent with every passing minute, it was difficult to maintain any of them.

'Harder to starboard, Goom!' Twig bellowed, as he realigned the hull-weights. 'We've got to maintain the angle of . . .'

All at once a fearsome juddering went through the sky ship. The hull creaked, the masts trembled. Abruptly it flipped up and listed to the other side.

'Tether down!' Twig bellowed at his crew. At any moment, the Edgedancer could turn turvey - and, with no land below them, anyone who fell would fall for ever.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Good read

    Good end to the trilogy around twig

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2015


    Sorry did not finesh that. Oh and whatever edge creature you want to be. - captain storm weezit(female slaughterer)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2010

    best book so far

    best book in whole series!reading+midnight over sanctaphrax= best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!It took me an hour to read i loved it so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Midnight over Sanctaphrax Book # 3

    In this trilogy Twig finds him self in a very odd predicament. He has lost his crew-mates, and after Twig is reunited with his father. He loses him again, and then spends the rest of the journey struggling to recall what it is he's supposed to be doing.

    I really did enjoy this book. To me, this book teaches young readers about loyalty. However, anyone of any age or race will enjoy the Edge Chronicles.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Adventure!

    This was another great adventure in which bold Twig sets off on a perilous quest to find his crew, who were scattered about after being tossed off his sky ship. Some of the crew members were easy to find but others were not. One of his crew was cast into Riverrise--- a place of wonder, that does not surly even exist. But this does not stop Twig. He boldly travels through rough and rugged lands and on to the "hopefully-existent" Riverrise. But will young Twig survive the harsh journey? Will he be able to outsmart the clever creatures lurking around each and every corner? Even if he does all this, will he reach the end of his journey only to be disappointed by finding out that Riverrise doesn't exist? Want to know the answers? Read the book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2008


    It was great!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    The Best Book in The Series!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book blew my mind away!!!!!!I thought it was going to start out dull but, it was non stop adventure, i really liked this one and it comes out to be one of the best books i ever read, but I expect these books to get even better as the books progress!!

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    Posted October 21, 2011

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    Posted January 11, 2009

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    Posted February 24, 2009

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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    Posted April 24, 2011

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    Posted April 19, 2012

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    Posted November 6, 2013

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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted February 23, 2010

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