Beyond the Deepwoods was the first book in The Edge Chronicles, the fourth book chronologically, and the first book in the Twig Trilogy. It discussed Twig's adventures through the Deepwoods when he stepped off the woodtroll path, and his numerous encounters with the various creatures in the vast forest. The book ended with the reunion of Twig with his father, Cloud Wolf.
At the beginning of the story, a sky pirate captain came to Twig's village and offered him a position aboard his sky ship. Spelda Snatchwood refused to give up her son, and the sky pirate left, but it was clear that the sky pirate would try to kidnap him. Spelda sent Twig along the Woodtroll path to the house of Cousin Snetterbark, but Twig strayed from the path and became lost in the Deepwoods.
After fleeing from a halitoad, Twig encountered a young slaughterer named Gristle Tatum, being attacked by a hover-worm. He managed to kill the creature, but the hover-worm's bite made Gristle swell up and float. Twig clung on, and floated above the Deepwoods canopy. Shouting for help, Twig attracted the attention of a band of slaughterers, who rescued the pair of them, cured Gristle, and hailed Twig as a hero. Gristle's mother, Ma-Tatum gave him a waistcoat made from the pelt of a hammelhorn. The next morning, however, a mysterious slaughterer told Twig he was unwelcome and told him the way back to the path. Twig set off on his way, feeling confused and angry.
Twig then wandered into a Lullabee Grove, and saw his mother, who led him deeper into the grove. His mother was then killed by a Caterbird who had just hatched in Twig's presence, and Twig then realized that his mother was in fact a skullpelt, who had tricked him into following in an attempt to eat him. The Caterbird explained that it was now bound to watch over him always, because Twig was at its hatching. Twig then left and set off back into the forest.
Soon after, Twig was attacked by a tarry vine and eaten alive by a bloodoak. He was saved by his hammelhornskin waistcoat, which, sensing danger, bristled and caused the flesh-eating tree to retch. After his escape, Twig ran into a band of gyle goblins, and followed them in the hopes of finding food. In the gyle goblin colony, Twig got into the kitchen of the Grossmother, who threw him down the garbage chute into the fungus beds of the spindlebugs. He fled from the spindlebugs, and accidentally fell into the honey pit and was scooped up, ending up back in the kitchen inside the Grossmother's honey bucket. Twig managed to get out just before the pot was boiled, but he fouled the batch of honey from swimming around in it, and when the Grossmother fed the colony, the gyle goblins were convinced she was trying to poison them. They attacked the kitchen and stuffed the Grossmother down the garbage chute. One of the gyle goblins then directed Twig to the exit, and he wandered away into the Deepwoods again.
Shortly after his brush with the gyle goblins, Twig encountered a banderbear and cured him of a toothache. The banderbear was so grateful that the pair of them became close friends. The banderbear helped Twig find edible food, and the two companions traveled a long way. A while later, however, the banderbear was attacked by a pack of wig-wigs. The banderbear helped Twig to safety, but was devoured by the wig-wigs. A grieving Twig spent the night in an empty caterbird cocoon hanging from the tree, and was carried off by a rotsucker. Twig escaped from the rotsucker, but fell from the sky and landed in a patch of sinking-mud. He was rescued by a strange flat-head goblin, and continued on his way.
Twig then encountered a young termagant trog girl named Mag. Curious, he followed her into the trogcombs, and Mag kept him as a pet. When she transformed into a full termagant, she tried to kill him, but Twig managed to escape with the help of a scrawny male trog.
Later, back in the Deepwoods, Twig witnessed a sky ship, the Stormchaser, crash-land in the Deepwoods, and met a band of sky pirates. As they told stories, Twig suddenly realized that the sky pirate captain, Cloud Wolf, was the same captain who tried to recruit him, and that he was also his father. When Cloud Wolf realized this, he was emotionally tortured by the thought, and left while Twig was sleeping. Twig had to run from a forest fire, and ended up in the Edgelands.
Twig encountered the Gloamglozer at the side of the Edge cliff. The Gloamglozer revealed that it was watching over Twig through his journeys and guiding him. The Gloamglozer was in fact the slaughterer who told Twig to leave the camp, the gyle goblin who showed Twig out of the colony, the Flat-Head Goblin who pulled Twig out of the quickmud, and the trog male who helped Twig escape from the trogcombs. The Gloamglozer then told Twig that he was special, and that he too could become a gloamglozer if he joined the demon. When Twig took his hand, the Gloamglozer laughed, told Twig that he was pathetic and insignificant, and threw him over the Edge.
As Twig fell, he was rescued by the Caterbird, who took him to the Stormchaser. The book ended with Cloud Wolf promising Twig that he would never abandon him again, and the sky pirates setting off for Undertown.
|Books in the Edge Chronicles series, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell|
Nate Book: The Immortals
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