Midnight Over Sanctaphrax
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|Author||Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell|
|Series||The Edge Chronicles|
|October 5, 2000|
|Followed by||The Last of the Sky Pirates|
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax is a children's fantasy novel by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, first published in 2000. It is the third volume of The Edge Chronicles and of the Twig Saga trilogy; within the stories' own chronology it is the sixth novel, due to the Quint Saga trilogy that was published later.
In trying to save his father Cloud Wolf from the vortex he was trapped in during the Mother Storm, Twig learns that the Mother Storm which will replenish the waters of the Edge by returning to Riverrise, a legendary garden and waterfall from which all life came - but that Sanctaphrax, the great city on a floating rock secured by a chain to Undertown below, must be released, or it would be destroyed by the power of the Storm, and, even worse, the storm would be prevented from reaching Riverrise and seeding the Edge with new life. He and the crew of the Edgedancer are then scattered across the Edge by the collapse of the vortex, with no memory of the voyage into open sky and therefore unable to warn anyone of the disaster about to happen. Pieces of the destroyed Edgedancer rain down upon Undertown, killing and injuring many. Among the dead are three important Leaguesmen. A dazed Twig is rescued from the Stone Gardens by the Professor of Darkness and taken to Sanctaphrax where he is made the new Sub-Professor of Light and kept safely away from the other academics.
Meanwhile, Cowlquape, a young boy studying in Sanctaphrax and the son of a wealthy, yet cruel, Leaguesman, hears rumours about the new apprentice and realizes it is the same Captain Twig who had left the city a month before. Cowlquape is at the lowest of the hierarchy in Sanctaphrax, and as such is bullied often by richer upper-class students such as Vox Verlix, an evil, scheming student. Upon learning that his father, the Leaguesman, was among those killed by the sky ship's debris, Cowlquape is confronted by Vox, who says that unless Cowlquape's father can pay his fees he will be kicked out of Sanctaphrax. Miserably, Cowlquape wanders the battlements and saves Twig from jumping off the balcony and killing himself. Twig regains some of his memory and, in gratitude to Cowlquape, appoints him as his new apprentice. Together they embark across Undertown to find Twig's missing crew.
They travel across Undertown, the Mire (in a ship), the Deepwoods and Riverrise. They find three of the crew in Undertown, one on a slave ship, two in the Deepwoods, and finally the Stone Pilot, who is the only one who retained her memory of what happened in the Weather Vortex (due to her heavy clothing typical of a Stone Pilot). She tells Twig that his father became a piece of the Great Storm and that Sanctaphrax needs to be released before the Mother Storm itself reaches it so the storm can reach Riverrise so life in the Edge goes on. Twig and Cowlquape are 'skyfired' - the fastest, though usually fatal, transport - to the Stone Gardens, and then run to Undertown, where all the academics were evacuated from Sanctaphrax, including the Professor of Darkness, who won't let Twig and Cowlquape release Sanctaphrax. He pushes Twig from the platform and tries everything to stop Cowlquape. He even makes Cowlquape the new Most High Academe, but Cowlquape manages to release Sanctaphrax. The Professor of Darkness, too dedicated to his beloved floating city to leave it, jumps onto the end of the Anchor Chain, and, with Sanctaphrax, floats away.
The two explain everything to the academics and the Undertowners and the Mother Storm reaches Riverrise, seeding the Edge with new life. Meanwhile, a giant stone is growing in the Stone Gardens (having been hit by a blue lightning bolt from the Mother Storm), the academics take the stone and it becomes the new Sanctaphrax, ruled by Cowlquape.
Twig gets a new sky ship and the book ends with him leaving to venture towards Riverrise to recover his crew, saying goodbye to Cowlquape, who wishes Twig luck. This is the last book of the Twig Saga.
- Stewart, Paul (2000) Midnight Over Sanctaphrax