Midnight over Sanctaphrax is the third book (sixth chronologically) in The Edge Chronicles. It is the third and final book in the Twig trilogy. It was published in 2000 by Random House.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Far out in the open sky, a ferocious storm is brewing. In its path is Sanctaphrax—a magnificent city built on a floating rock and tethered to the land by a massive chain.
Only Twig—a young sky pirate captain who has dared to sail over the Edge—has learned of the approaching danger. But his perilous voyage destroys his sky ship, hurling his crew into and beyond the Deepwoods and robbing Twig of all memory…”
“With trembling fingers, he readjusted the focus. The blurred object became solid. It looked like a sky ship. But what was a sky ship doing out there, untethered and so far away from land? Scarcely able to believe what he was witnessing, the professor pulled away, removed his pocket handkerchief, and wiped his eyes.
‘No doubt about it,’ he muttered feverishly. ‘It was a sky ship. I know it was. Unless…’
He glanced round at the sense-sifter. It was pulsing a deep shade of purple.
‘No,’ he shuddered. ‘I can’t have imagined it. I’m not mad.’
He spun back, grasped the telescope and peered back down the sight anxiously. There was nothing there in the swirling depths. With trembling fingers he played with the focus. Still nothing. And then…The professor gasped. From the point where the sky ship had been—at least, where he thought it had been—several bright balls of light were spinning off into the dark sky.”
“Twig motioned Cowlquape to be silent. He crouched down on the floor and placed his ear against the dark varnished wood. His face clouded with sorrow. ‘That noise,’ he said.
Cowlquape rolled off the hammock and joined Twig on the floor. As his ear touched the wooden boards, the sounds became clearer. Groaning .Howling. Hopeless wailing.
‘The cargo?’ Cowlquape whispered.
‘The cargo,’ said Twig.
Warnings: A bit of violence
Recommended Age Range: 12+ (although be aware that there are a few scary/violent/creepy parts)
What I Liked:
Stewart has the knack of making each book fresh by introducing new characters, creatures, and new places with each book. Riddell’s illustrations, as usual, really give an extra visual component to the world of the Edge. The plot was a strong adventure/hunt that was fun to read. Stewart is really hitting his stride here, delivering stronger and stronger writing with each book. Also, Cowlquape is awesome.
I don’t have much to say in this section, but the Twig trilogy is, I think, the weakest in the whole series. They are good books, yes, but there is nothing in them that really stands out to me like in the others.
What I Didn’t Like:
Twig sometimes seems quite a bit more mature and knowledgeable than he did in Stormchaser, which is odd because Midnight starts right where Stormchaser left off.
Midnight over Sanctaphrax is a strong conclusion to this mini-trilogy. The Twig trilogy is not my favorite of the three mini-trilogies, but it is a great start to the series.
Coming Up Next: The Curse of the Gloamglozer