Beyond the Deepwoods
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|Beyond the Deepwoods|
Recent edition cover
|Author||Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell|
|1 October 1998|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||224 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-385-40967-2 (first edition, hardback)|
|Preceded by||The Clash of the Sky Galleons|
Beyond the Deepwoods is a children's fantasy novel by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, first published in 1998. It is the first volume of The Edge Chronicles and of the Twig Saga trilogy; within the stories' own chronology it is the fourth novel, following the Quint Saga trilogy that was published later.
Raised by Woodtroll families all his life, Twig believes at heart he is a woodtroll, yet he strongly suspects there is something different about him, as he does not fit in with the rest of the woodtroll villagers. Twig has been raised in the Deepwoods, far from fourthling civilization, yet he sets off to find his true kind when he learns from his adoptive mother that he is not a woodtroll. His adoptive woodtroll mother tells him to travel to their cousin's house to mull things over, but during Twig's journey through the Deepwoods, he is seduced by the beauty of the woods themselves and ends up straying from the path. This is an act no woodtroll ever commits, for the woodtrolls' greatest fear is getting lost, and this fear is not without reason. The forest is populated with both fierce natural predators and evil demons, the most dangerous demon being the Gloamglozer. The Gloamglozer can shapeshift in order to attract victims, and it can also mimick the voices of any animal in distress. Twig does indeed hear such a voice, and follows it, but stumbles upon a Slaughterer, who is being attacked by a Hoverworm. Twig kills the Hoverworm and the grateful Slaughterer invites him to spend the night in his village. However, the Slaughterer has been poisoned by the Hoverworm and is swelling up. Nonetheless, Twig gets to the Slaughterer village and the Slaughterers find an antidote for their ill brother.
The next morning, Twig is awoken by a Slaughterer who tells him that he has outstayed his welcome, and is expected to leave immediately. Outraged and disappointed, Twig leaves, with the Slaughterer telling him to "watch out for the Gloamglozer" in a mocking tone. Twig has a run-in with a Skullpelt which attempts to kill him, but Twig is saved by a Caterbird which has just hatched from his cocoon. As all Caterbirds share telepathic dreams whilst in the womb, this Caterbird knows all about Twig and his destiny. The Caterbird tells Twig his destiny lies "beyond the Deepwoods" and flies off, telling Twig he will always protect him. That night, Twig is almost eaten by a Bloodoak, but falls into a Gyle-Goblin colony, where he is almost caught by their colony mother, an obese Grossmother. Then Twig meets an injured Banderbear, one of the forest's dominant predators. The Banderbear is sick because of a rotten tooth, which Twig heals by wrenching it out. Soon, Twig and the Banderbear become great friends, but one day the Banderbear is killed by a swarm of Wig-Wigs, ferocious predators which act like piranhas. Later, Twig almost drowns in a swamp, but is rescued by a goblin at the edge, who mysteriously vanishes just as Twig is about to thank him. Twig then follows a young girl, and he discovers she is a Termagant Trog who has not yet matured. Twig spends a few months with the Trog girl, who grows to become fond of him as a "pet" and eventually the girl's maturing ceremony takes place. Twig watches as the girl he has come to love grows enormously gigantic by drinking Bloodoak sap. Now fully formed as a Trog female, the girl attempts to kill Twig, as she sees all other species as vermin. However, a lone Trog male saves Twig, much to his surprise, and directs him to the exit.
Soon, Twig meets some sky pirates, whose ship has crashed due to the flight-rock which powers the ship falling out of the sky when it was struck by lightning. Twig finds out that the sky pirate captain, Quintinius Verginix, is his true father, and learns at long last who he, Twig, really is. To Twig's horror, though, the next morning he awakes in a deserted forest clearing. The sky pirates have jumped ship and abandoned him... again. Momentarily distraught, Twig sees the pirate's fire float upwards and catch onto a tree, which sets half the forest alight. Twig runs for it, right down to the Edgelands, where he meets the Gloamglozer face to face. In a cruel twist, the Gloamglozer reveals that the entire set of misadventures was a cruel game devised by himself. He tells Twig that he, the Gloamglozer, was all the various creatures which had saved him throughout the journey. The Slaughterer who had mocked Twig was the Gloamglozer in disguise, as was the Trog male, and the goblin at the edge of the Mire was also the Gloamglozer in goblin form. The demon tells Twig that he only wanted to lure Twig to him so he could throw him over the Edge. The Gloamglozer does just this, although the Caterbird rescues Twig from oblivion and throws him onto the deck of Quintinius Verginix's ship. Finally reunited with his true father, who apologizes for leaving him and promises to always protect his son, Twig, the sky pirates set sail for Undertown, the central city of the Edge.
- Twig Verginix
- Quintinius Verginix
- Tem Barkwater
- Stope Boltjaw
- The Stone Pilot
- Slyvo Spleethe
- Stewart, Paul (1998) Beyond the Deepwoods