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Vox: Edge Chronicles #6    by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell order for
by Paul Stewart
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The Prologue of this sixth in The Edge Chronicles (the second adventure starring Rook Barkwater) begins: 'The Deepwoods, The Stone Gardens, the Edgewater River. Undertown and Sanctaphrax. Names on a map. Yet behind each name lie a thousand tales - tales that have been recorded in ancient scrolls, tales that have been passed down the generations by word of mouth - tales which even now are being told. What follows is but one of those tales.' Librarian knight Rook pilots his sky ship Stonehornet, returning to report his findings to the Great Library. The broken sky ship plummets and crashes in Screetown, a 'desolate wasteland of wrecked buildings, and sprawling rockfalls, home to rubble ghouls and muglumps - and worse.'

Rook traverses a desolate land, facing a rubble ghoul, oozefish, and woodwolves. Just as he loses hope, he's rescued by a friend. He's captured by the mobgnomes, and sold into slavery in the ancient, disintegrating Palace of Statues. High in the Palace resides the once-famed Most High Academe Vox Verlix, who has invented an apparatus named baby. Vox foresees a Great Storm approaching, which would flood the tunnels of the librarians. The story's suspense increases as Rook is reunited with High Academe of New Sanctaphrax, Cowlquape Pentephraxis, who, together with Vox, implements a strategy to save the librarians, but will it be in time? Armies form under merciless Orbix Xaxis, High Guardian of Night; General Tytugg of the hammerhead goblins; and Mother Muleclaw, and her deadly Shryke Sisterhood. Each is bent on destroying the librarians and each other beneath Undertown.

Paul Stewart is amongst the best of the 'league of descriptive imaging', while Chris Riddell enhances the story with his illustrations. With a solid-plot, and fast-paced concurrent stories, suspense is dominant throughout Vox, as Rook is reunited with old friends, encounters new and old enemies, and discovers that the 'Ghosts of Undertown' really exist! Rook will appear again in his last story, Freeglader.

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