This was the second of two significant book launches I attended last week.
Having been an enthusiast for the Edge Chronicles since the series began with Beyond The Deepwoods in 1998, it was only fitting that ACHUKA should be in attendance for the launch of Doombringer – the latest title and 12th book in the sequence.
The event was held at Waterstones in Brighton, where both the author, Paul Stewart, and illustrator, Chris Riddell, have their homes.
It included live drawing by Riddell, accompanied by music composed by his son, and a question and answer session during which the symbiotic relationship between author and illustrator was entertainingly revealed.
Riddell has never been ‘just’ the illustrator of these works. His drawings and sketchbooks have helped to create the world of The Edge.
At the primary school where I used to work, The Edge chronicles were actually more widely read than Harry Potter – partly because the illustrations made them more accessible, and no doubt helped by the fact that Stewart and Riddell had visited the school early in the series, and the library wall displayed a giant Riddell drawing in memory of the occasion.
Stewart’s writing is beautifully fluent and free of the fantasy excesses that are so easy to mock and mimic.
This is a classic series that will stand the test of time and one would hope that Riddell’s laureateship, and the greater attention that role will bring to any work he is associated with, will help attract many more new readers to this series as it nears its conclusion. (Stewart and Riddell are currently working on the thirteenth title, which they say will be the last.)