Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell biography and books reviewed

Paul Stewart was born in 1955 in London and lived for a year in Muswell Hill before moving to Morden in Southwest London, "the end of the Northern line".

He is a graduate of Lancaster University and of the University of East Anglia’s creative writing course.  For several years he taught English as a foreign language in Sri Lanka.  Returning to England, he became a primary school teacher before giving up to write full time.

His first book was published in 1988 and he has since worked for a number of publishers and had over twenty titles published.  His titles for Random House Children’s Books include The Wakening, The Midnight Hand and Dogbird as well as the Edge Chronicles - the ninth title in this series, The Clash of the Sky Galleons, is published in September 2006.  There are also three books in the Far Flung Adventures – Hugo Pepper, the third in the series, was published in April 2006.  The latest in the duo’s Barnaby Grimes series; Legion of the Dead, will be released in paperback in January 2009.

Paul Stewart lives in Brighton with his wife, a primary school teacher, and their two children.

Chris Riddell is familiar to both children and adults for his distinctive line drawings with their clever caricature, fascinating detail and often enchanting fantasy elements.  He studied illustration   at   Brighton Polytechnic and has illustrated several picture books including  Something Else by Kathryn Cave (Viking), which was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize and which won the Unesco Award.  The Swan’s Stories by Brian Alderson (Walker) was shortlisted for the 1997 Kurt Maschler Award and Castle Diary (Walker) was shortlisted for the 1999 Kate Greenaway Medal. 

In addition to his children’s book work, Chris is a renowned political cartoonist whose work appears regularly in The Observer, The Literary Review and The New Statesman.  One of his claims to fame is that he was the first cartoonist to depict William Hague in shorts; an illustration that William Hague subsequently bought! Chris Riddell lives in Brighton with his wife and children.

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell reviews

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

Free Lance has no master - he journeys from village to village and castle to castle, competing in tournaments and working for his keep. When his horse throws a shoe and he must seek shelter overnight in Lord Big Nose's village, he accepts his most dangerous mission yet - retrieving an enchanted crown from the Lake of Skulls. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

"In a story that reminded me of the old D&D books from the 80s, you tend to feel sorry for Free Lance's journey through hell and back, though there's a fair bit of laughing to do first."


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The Immortals by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Five hundred years into the third age of flight and mighty phraxships steam across the immensity of the Deepwoods, plying their lucrative trade between the three great cities. Nate Quarter, a young Lamplighter from the mines of the eastern woods is propelled on an epic journey of self-discovery that encompasses tournaments, battles, revolutions and a final encounter with the Immortals themselves.

"This is an innovative and vibrant book featuring an astonishing imagination and outstanding illustrations. This is one of the most original fantasy series available today. So don your crushed funnel hat, comb your neck beard, lick your eyes and prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime."

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The Lost Barkscrolls by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Four dramatic stories – set in all the ages of the fascinating, terrifying Edgeworld – a delight for any reader, new or old. Cloud Wolf – the story of young sky pirate Quint’s first extraordinary battle in the sky, above the perilous Deepwoods. The Stone Pilot – the truth behind the mysterious figure who tends the mighty flight-rock at the centre of a magnificent sky ship. The Slaughterer’s Quest – the tale of Keris, daughter, daughter of the legendary sky pirate captain Twig, and her terrifying quest to discover her father’s fate. The Blooding of Rufus Filatine – a Freeglade Lancer’s epic encounter with a monstrous creature which will change the Edge forever…

"The Lost Barkscrolls is a fine collection of stories that will be of great interest to fans of the Edge Chronicles. The writing and illustrations are of the highest quality and the themes that link these four seemingly disparate tales together are the abhorrence of slavery and the damage that greed and the manufacturer of weapons can have on lives and the environment."

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The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Quint, son of sky pirate captain, and new apprentice to Linius Pallitax, the Most High Academe, has been set some highly important tasks. Just how important, Quint is about to find out as he and Linius’s only daughter, Maris, are plunged into a terrifying adventure that takes them deep within the rock upon which Sanctaphrax is built. Here, they unwittingly invoke an ancient curse – the curse of the gloamglozer…

"The Curse of the Gloamglozer is the perfect place to begin your journey within The Edge Chronicles. It also marks the beginning of the Quint trilogy, promising – and indeed succeeding – in taking your imagination to The Edge. The story, narration, settings, characters and illustrations are uniformly excellent and provide the complete fantasy experience."

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The Last of the Sky Pirates by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

The Edge Chronicles are quite an achievement: to have written so many novels and to have kept the standard so high is an accomplishment that both authors deserve great both credit and admiration for. The Last of the Sky Pirates is amongst the best in this excellent series, right up there with Stormchaser and Midnight over Sanctaphrax. As we follow Rook through the sewers of Undertown and beyond the Deepwoods we find the author’s right on top of their game. The new story and characters and the now familiar locations combine to powerful effect and those who have previously read and enjoyed The Twig Trilogy will be delighted to learn that there is closure to his tale within.

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Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Abandoned at birth in the Deepwoods, Twig is brought up by a family of woodtrolls. One cold night, Twig does what no woodtroll has ever done before – he strays from the path. So begins an adventure that will take Twig through a nightmare world of goblins and trogs, bloodthirsty beasts and flesh-eating trees.

"Stylishly creepy; at turns gorgeous, humorous, horrifying and awe-inspiring."

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Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

On board the Stormchaser, Twig, a young crewmember drawn by destiny to join the sky pirates, is filled with excitement at the adventure ahead. Their quest is to collect stormphrax – a valuable substance created inside the heart of the storm.

"Stormchaser is the best book in The Twig Trilogy, everything is perfect – the characters, the setting, the plot, the illustrations – and reading it is a pure delight."

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Midnight over Sanctaphrax by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

A ferocious storm threatens the magnificent city of Sanctaphrax. Only Twig knows of the approaching danger. But his perilous voyage destroys his sky ship, hurling his crew beyond the Deepwoods, and robbing Twig of all memory...

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Returner's Wealth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

May 2010 will see Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, creators of the multi-million-selling Edge Chronicles, return with a brand-new frontier-fantasy trilogy. The Wyrmeweald series will have Stewart and Riddell’s existing fan-base hoping for much that is new and fresh while also crossing their fingers and praying that it contains the same elements that made the Edge Chronicles so enjoyable and involving.

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Bloodhoney by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

I'm a little late getting to reading and reviewing the second book in the trilogy (it was released seven months ago) but am very glad to have at last found the time. Stewart & Riddell are two very talented gentleman, every book of theirs that I have read has been skilfully and professionally put together with the complete understanding of what the reader wants... and that is a damn fine story. They (as Riddell is a major part in the writing process, not just the man behind the beautiful illustrations) know when to put in tension, they know when to calm it down and they know how to portray believable relationships. I am an unashamed fan of their work and when I think excitedly of what new books are coming out each year, the Wyrmweald series is, along with William Horwood's Hyddenworld series, the ones I look out for most.

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