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The Curse of the Gloamglozer: Edge Chronicles #4    by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell order for
Curse of the Gloamglozer
by Paul Stewart
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2005 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell take readers on another adventure to the Edge, upon the Floating Rock, hitched by a chain to Sanctaphrax. In the Palace of Shadows, the 108-year old transparent, six-hearted spindlebug, Tweezel, carries a tray of refreshment to his master, Professor Linius Pallitax. Over time a schism developed between sky-scholars and earth-scholars, resulting in rule by sky academia. Since his appointment to Most High Academe, Professor Pallitax has worked to bring back the balance between earth and sky academia, and has been obsessed by a historical project with hazardous consequences.

While visiting his daughter, Linius awaits the arrival of a sky ship under the command of Captain Wind Jackal and his son Quint. Linius asks that Quint be allowed to remain at the Palace as an apprentice, assuring Wind that his fourteen-year old son will be given the best of care and education in the Fountain House. Once maintained by the earth-scholars, the Great Library has been neglected. Within that vast expanse of building are centuries of records, and it is there that Quint climbs on pegs of massive wood columns to locate a specific barkscroll. After hours of searching, Quint finds it, but just as he reaches for it, a frayed pulley rope breaks. A hand prevents Quint from plummeting to the floor - one of many occasions when he feels someone watching him.

A revolt by sky-scholars is in the wind, with a plot to do away with Professor Pallitax. Soothsayers talk of the existence of the Gloamglozer, though most citizens scoff at such a belief. With Quint at the helm of the sky-cage, secret excursions are taken by the Most High Academe to the Ancient Laboratory at Middle Sky. Quint and Maris make their way to the cavern of the great flaring rock of Sanctaphrax to investigate what lies within. As the twosome approach the opening, the chain of the basket breaks (not by accident), forcing them to jump onto the rock's landing. Within the cavern maw, they encounter a tentacled, blood-red mammoth being.

This fourth episode of The Edge Chronicles is filled with spectacular descriptions, danger, and suspense, and Quint is what heroes are made of. Splendid verbal images include Quint at the window - 'Oh, Father, why did you leave me here in Sanctaphrax with its horrible schools of Gossip, Rumour and Treachery, surrounded by shiftless academics ... Why can't I be with you ... Far away. With the moon in my eyes and the wind in my hair'. The Curse of the Gloamglozer is evenly paced, with constant motion, engaging the reader until the end - the most wondrous and dramatic Edge tale to date.

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