The Immortals is being prepared for publication. The whole process takes a long time but it is all coming together.
While Paul made final changes to the text, Chris drew up a list of illustrations he wanted to draw, and set to work. Some are full page illustrations, some are tall, thin half-page illustrations, and some are called vignettes. These are generally smaller, and are set on the page with text wrapped around them. Chris is working hard and the pictures should be finished in a week's time. The best Edge pictures ever!
With all the amendments in place, the manuscript was typeset. This means laying it out the way it will look as a finished book, with spaces left in various parts of the text where the vignettes will go. The next stage, when all the pictures are in place, will be to proofread the book, to make sure that the illustrations and text match. After all, it's no good Paul describing a character with a phraxmusket in his left hand if Chris draws it in his right!
One illustration we had particular fun with, was the new map. Both of us love maps. When Paul was a boy, he'd spend hours poring over history maps which showed invasions and shifting borders. And when Chris saw a map in a novel, he always wondered what lay at the edge, beyond the parts he could see. That was how the Edge Chronicles first got started. Chris drew the very edge of a map and gave it to Paul, saying, 'This is the world, what happens in it?'
Riverrise was not on the original Edge map. After the dark ages that followed the rule of Kobold the Wise, the fabled source of the Edgewater River was lost. As you all know, in Midnight over Sanctaphrax, after trudging through the Deepwoods for what seemed like an eternity, Twig and his crewmates stumbled across the forgotten place. When he was forced to leave most of them behind, he swore he would return and rescue them, yet despite searching for decades Twig never did manage to find Riverrise again.
By the time of the Immortals, however, five hundred years in the future, Riverrise has not only been rediscovered, but has become one of the three great cities of the Edge, along with Great Glade and Hive. It is famed for its medicinal ointments, salves and priceless elixirs, made from its life giving waters. As well as the three great cities, various other minor settlements can be seen on the new map. Four Lakes, the Farrow Ridges and the Midwood Decks; Gorge Town, with its hairy backed quarry trogs, and the Northern Reaches, home to fettle-legger weavers. It is in this expanding Edgeworld that our humble phraxminer, Nate Quarter, sets out on his great adventure.
We've been busy with talks and readings. We had a great time at the Althorp Literary Festival, and a big hello to all the kids and their parents who came to see us there. And when our third Barnaby Grimes novel, Legion of the Dead, was published in June, we went on tour, visiting Highgate Juniors, Newton Prep, Lyndhurst House School, Longacre School in Guildford and a huge secondary school in Angmering. We had a great time in all of them. When we visited Blue Gate Fields Juniors in Tower Hamlets, we discovered that the school was actually on the Victorian map that we used as endpapers to the Barnaby series, which was a wonderful coincidence. As I said, we love maps.
Have a great summer holiday, and keep reading!