Fullwinter in the weald - a season of almost unsurvivable cold for anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Even wyrmes die, frozen in the icy wasteland, or falling lifeless from the skies as the host heads west to escape the advance of the two-hides: man... Huddled in a winter den, Micah is thankful to cragclimber Eli Halfwinter for providing him and kingirl Thrace with shelter, while Thrace aches to leave and fly through the skies on her whitewyrme once more. But sniffing out their whereabouts, fuelled by the invigorating liquor known as bloodhoney, is a brutal assassin, seeking vengeance. And worse is to come when they stumble upon a bizarre community headed by a charismatic stone prophet - Deephome...
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Like the first book in this series, this story combines the hardships and the determination of explorers in a cruel and unyielding land with the breath-taking beauty of a world where fantastic creatures roam free and proud. It skilfully shows several sides to the pioneer myth, particularly when we realise that the wyrmes, considered by the human kith merely as animals to be hunted, have their own language, culture and family loyalties. Events are gory and violent, with many good people dying before the end, but the story is told in a language which is vivid and at times almost lyrical. Special mention must be made of the beautiful illustrations. Tall, slender designs border many of the pages, revealing the world of the Wyrmeweald as if through a half-opened door. Twisted columns hold up the roof of the massive caves; the vicious winter caller peers one-eyed through his skull mask at the reader, and the silhouette of a mighty Methuselah pine clings to life at the top of a narrow, rocky cliff. Fans of fantasy, and of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell in particular, will love this book, and they will not mind that for full enjoyment, they will need to read the whole trilogy. It would be possible to read this book without the first one in the series (Wyrmeweald: Returner's Wealth), because this particular part of the story is complete in itself, but you will gain a great deal more by tackling them in order. - 4 Star Reviews
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell are the creators of the hugely successful Edge Chronicles, which have sold over two million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages worldwide. Their other collaborations include the Barnaby Grimes series and the Far Flung Adventures, the first of which, Fergus Crane, won the 2004 Gold Smarties Prize. Paul Stewart is the author of a number of previous titles for children including The Midnight Hand and The Wakening (a Federation of Children's Book Groups Pick of the Year) for the Yearling list. Chris Riddell is an accomplished graphic artist who has illustrated many acclaimed books for children. Winner of many prestigious awards including the UNESCO Prize (for Something Else), the Kate Greenaway Medal (in 2001 and 2004 for Pirate Diary and Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver') and the Gold Nestlé Prize for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, he is also the political cartoonist for the Observer.