The Nameless One is the first book of the Cade Saga, the eleventh book chronologically, and was published in 2014. It follows the adventures of Cade Quarter, nephew of Nate Quarter and a distant descendent of Rook Barkwater, Twig Verginix, and ultimately Quintinius Verginix.
A number of years after the events of The Immortals, Nate Quarter returns to Great Glade, rekindling the anti-Descender hatred preached by Quove Lentis, the High Professor of Flight. Cade's father and Nate's brother, Thadeus Quarter, is killed by those loyal to Lentis, and Cade is forced to flee Great Glade or face the same fate. Taking his chances, he becomes a 'Forlorn Hoper' - leaping onto the hull of a phraxship leaving dock in the desperate hope of sneaking aboard. He manages to get aboard the Xanth Filatine, but is immediately snatched up by flathead goblins in the employ of Drax Adereth, a young crime lord answering to Quove Lentis, and given one week to pay for his passage - or lose a finger.
Cade, while masquerading as a servant, briefly enters the employ of Tillman Spoke, a retired Freeglade Lancer turned Prowlgrin breeder, and meets a Prowlgrin hatchling who imprints on him. However, Adereth's cronies soon catch up with him, and he is framed for the theft of a mire-pearl necklace. Adereth himself saves Cade from being sky-fired, and threatens to take several of Cade's fingers. Cade inadvertently reveals the whereabouts of two runaway academics Quove Lentis had tasked Adereth with finding, and Adereth murders both of them before turning on Cade. Cade, desperate to escape, leaps from the flight platform and lands in an ironwood tree as the Xanth Filatine moves off.
Cade is rescued by Gart Ironside, a former phraxfleet owner brought low by what he calls a 'great swindle', and makes the decision to settle down in the Farrow Ridges. Ironside provides him with some tools and equipment, and Cade begins his new life.
His early attempts at survival are poor; his snare-trap is triggered and destroyed by a mysterious beast, and his shack is torn apart by a storm. He is rescued from the storm by Thorne Lammergyre, a fisher-goblin and ex-soldier, and Celestia Helmstoft, daughter of an academic who lives near the Ridges. After Cade recovers, Thorne and Celestia help him build a new cabin, and Cade settles down.
Some time passes, and Cade is introduced to Celestia's father, Blatch Helmstoft, who is researching the Farrow Ridges and their indigenous cultures - specifically, the rarely seen 'white trogs' who dwell within the massive caverns above the waterfalls which feed the lake. Cade accompanies Celestia on a quest to find Shriekroot, a potent healing herb found only at the base of a Bloodoak tree, and the two end up saving the life of a hammerhead goblin scout named Teeg. After a night in the hammerheads' hive hut, they each return home, planning to meet at Cade's for breakfast.
However, when Cade returns home, he finds an enormous beast hiding under the stilts upon which his cabin is raised - a Nameless One, the same creature which destroyed Cade's trap many weeks earlier. The snare has cut deep into the Nameless One's flesh, and it is only thanks to Celestia - and the freshly harvested Shriekroot - that the beast survives.
As the Nameless One recovers, Cade shows it kindness and feeds it, and eventually it is healed enough to walk. It helps Cade clear rocks from a patch of ground he marked out for a vegetable garden, and earns the name 'Tug' in the process. Shortly after, Gart Ironside arrives at Cade's cabin to announce that he is leaving the Farrow Ridges, with a secret item he claims will restore his fortune.
Once Tug has recovered, Cade encounters Celestia and Thorne making their way across the lake in a coracle. It transpires that Celestia's father, Blatch, has ventured into the caverns above the waterfall, and not returned. Cade joins Celestia and Thorne in their rescue mission, and after making their way through several caverns - including one filled with fragile crystals which, unbeknownst to the party, warn the cave-dwelling white trogs that intruders are present - the group ends up stuck in a 'drowning pool'. A boulder seals the chamber behind them, and the chamber floods, until Cade finds a marking left by Blatch on a stalactite, which - when pushed - drains the pools.
The group end up deep within the caverns, imprisoned by the white trogs and their queen, who intend to sacrifice them in anger over the theft of a large red jewel from a sacred site in their caves. At the last moment, the foursome are rescued by Gart Ironside, who replaces the stolen jewel, which fills the cave with red light - the 'blood of the spirits', as the trogs know it. It transpires that Ironside had taken the jewel, intending to sell it in Great Glade, but had returned when he saw his friends entering the caves.
During the escape, Cade is stabbed with a poisoned dagger, and nothing Celestia tries will save his life. It is at this moment that Goom, an ancient banderbear from the Riverrise spring, makes his appearance. Out of gratitude for Cade's kind treatment of Tug the Nameless One, Goom gives Cade the last of his water from the Riverrise spring - sacrificing his own eternal life to save the life of Cade.
Cade makes his recovery, and is reunited with Celestia, Blatch, and all the rest of his Farrow Ridges friends. Celestia informs him that Thorne has been examining the barkscrolls left to Cade by his father, and wants to talk to them about the designs - which he says will change the Farrow Ridges forever...
|Books in the Edge Chronicles series, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell|
Nate Book: The Immortals
Blogs: Weird New Worlds