Tiggy Thistle and the Lost Guardians by Chris Riddell


Delighted to be sharing an extract from the wonderful TIGGY THISTLE AND THE LOST GUARDIANS by the brilliant Chris Riddell today. The second and final book in The Cloud Horse Chronicles duology is generously sprinkled with stunning two-colour illustration’s in the author’s inimitable style. The artwork and character portraits marry beautifully with the written words, and both are a joy to linger upon. The following extract gives readers a taste of the frozen landscapes of Tiggy’s world, and the endless winter she is on a quest to break.

Extract from Page 53 – Tiggy Thistle, who is caught in a snow storm, is rescued by the tin man Helperthorpe.
They set off again on the frozen river as the snow began to fall from a slate-grey sky. It began to get thicker, and a strong gusting wind began to whip the flakes into swirls, the sails of the snow barge billowing and straining at the mast. Soon the wooden craft was veering from one bank of the river to the other, jumping and crashing back down as its runners hit divots and brittle frozen reed beds. At the rudder blade, Tiggy fought for control while the snow fell thicker and the wind blew stronger. Tiggy shivered, and glanced back, looking for any sign of snow monsters.

 Before long, the snow storm turned into a blizzard and, with a sinking heart, Tiggy heard the wood of the mast begin to splinter. With a sickening crack, the mast snapped and the sails went flapping off into the storm. The snow barge spun round, then hit an icicle-encrusted boulder and broke into pieces.

 Tiggy was thrown across the ice. The next thing she knew, she was lying head-first in deep snow.

 Tiggy lay there for a moment, dazed. Then she heard the soft, reassuring voice of the scarf in her ear.

‘Come on, Tiggy,’ it whispered. ‘Time to get moving.’

 Warmth spread throughout her body. The boots kicked out, forcing her up through the snow.

 She had been flung into a snowdrift on the far bank. The rucksack must have broken her fall. She scrambled out of the snowdrift into a whiteout of swirling snow and tried to catch her breath. The air was so cold it made her chest hurt, despite the warming efforts of the scarf. She knew she must find shelter.

 Just then, Tiggy felt two hands grip her arms and lift her off her feet. Oh no! They’ve caught me, she thought desperately, the snow monsters have caught me . . . She shut her eyes against the blizzard,and the scarf covered her nose and mouth and whispered in her ears, ‘Not caught, Tiggy, but rescued!’

 Tiggy felt herself being carried through the howling, freezing ice storm for what felt like some time. Then, all of a sudden, the shrieking of the wind stopped.

 Her lashes were glued shut with ice, but it began to melt and she slowly opened her eyes. At the same moment, whoever was carrying Tiggy put her gently back on her feet.

 Looking up, Tiggy saw a tall, thin man staring down at her. He had glowing yellow eyes. He appeared to be made entirely of tin.

 ‘Hello,’ the tin man said in a voice that sounded like rusty saucepans scraping together. ‘It is a very, very long time since I’ve seen anyone. It is nice to meet you.’

Tiggy swallowed. She had always been taught to mistrust anything magical, and a tin man must surely be magical. On the other hand, so were the scarf and Boots and Baggage, and they had helped her so far.

The tin man held out a large mechanical hand and Tiggy shook it.

 ‘I’m Tiggy Thistle from Troutwine,’ said Tiggy, looking around. They were standing in a large underground cavern with a steaming hot spring at its centre, surrounded by luxuriant plants, shrubs and flowers.

 ‘I’m Helperthorpe,’ said the tin man. ‘It says so on the tin.’ The tin man tapped a plate on his chest. Stamped on it were the words ‘Helperthorpe Tinworks’. When Tiggy looked closer, she saw that plants and flowers were peeping out from the rivets and holes in Helperthorpe’s arms, head and shoulders, unfurling their leaves and spreading their petals.

‘You look a little surprised by my appearance,’ said Helperthorpe, who was now half flower pot, half tin man. ‘Perhaps I should explain. It would be such a pleasure to talk to an actual living person. Since Phoebe Limetree disappeared, I’ve had no one . . .’

 ‘Please,’ said Tiggy, sitting down on a soft carpet of moss flanked by ferns on one side and daisies on the other. ‘I’d love to hear your story.’

Make sure to stop in on the rest of the tour!


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