The first draft of the Immortals is now complete! That's why we've been laying low for a while, immersing ourselves in the Edge world and discovering what has been happening during the five hundred years since the end of The Blooding of Rufus Filatine, the fourth story in the Lost Barkscrolls.
The key to it all is stormphrax. As you know, this remarkable substance is formed in the Twilight Woods, where lightning bolts turn to solid lightning. Stormphrax has been used by the denizens of the Edgelands in many ways down the centuries.
In the First Age of Flight, it weighted down the great floating rock of Sanctaphrax, for though of normal weight in a twilight glow, it becomes immeasurably heavy in absolute darkness. When the substance breaks down, it forms phraxdust, which can be used to purify even the foulest water. But then, at the end of the Second Age of Flight, the power of the crystals was harnessed to create weapons. Since then, a more practical and peaceable use for stormphrax has been worked on by the academics - which has led to the dawning of the Third Age of Flight.
Nate Quarter, the main character of the Immortals, is born into a world quite different from that of his forefathers. Stormphrax is mined, and used to power the magnificent new phraxships which now ply their trade throughout the Edgelands. This has brought prosperity to many and led to the great expansion into the Deepwoods - but it has also caused problems, creating an increasingly divided world of haves and have-nots and reviving bitter ancient rivalries...
The Immortals is twice as long as the other books in the series. It had to be. After all, there were so many questions we needed to answer. What happened to Quint in Midnight over Sanctaphrax? Did Twig make it to Riverrise at the end of Last of the Sky Pirates? What caused stone sickness to ravage the world? And what did happen to old Sanctaphrax?
The novel will be published in February 2009, when all will be revealed! Although, if you return to the diary next month, we'll be giving you a couple more tantalizing hints...
During the writing of the book, we also managed to visit different parts of the country. A big hello to all those we met in Preston, Lancaster, Ormskirk, Formby, Liverpool, Huddersfield and Leeds, and also those who came to our readings at the Cambridge and Oxford Festivals.