Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Mortal engines : a novel
Book
2003
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. As the story opens, the great Traction City of London is chasing a small town. When one city takes over another, it processes all reusable materials to create power to run the motorized wheels that enable the city to travel over the land. London's mayor has bigger plans than the domination of a small town, plans involving the use of the weapon that laid waste to Earth millennia earlier. Several young people endeavor to stop the carnage--among them, Tom, an apprentice at the London Museum; a young woman who tries to kill the museum's head historian; the historian's daughter, Katherine; and an apprentice in the Guild of Engineers. The pace of the violence-filled story is frenetic, the sense of helplessness is palpable, and not all the young people survive. A page-turner, this adventure in a city-eat-city world will have readers eagerly suspending disbelief to follow the twists and turns of the imaginative plot. --Sally Estes Copyright 2003 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Reeve thinks big in this British prizewinner, envisioning a distant future in which immense mobile cities roar over continent-sized wastelands, preying on each other. Thanks to ruthless scavenger Thaddeus Valentine, London has acquired an ancient energy weapon powerful enough to overwhelm the well-defended but stationary cities of former Asia. To lowly apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy, Valentine is a hero; Tom begins to find out differently after meeting Hester Shaw, a savagely mutilated young woman who saw Valentine murder her parents for the device. Ejected from the city as it barrels eastward, Tom and Hester encounter pirates and unexpected allies, battle an ancient cyborg warrior, and get an eye-opening look at their diverse world as they struggle to catch up. Running up the body count to staggering dimensions, the author propels his protagonists to a cataclysmic climax, folding in both instances of casual, inhuman brutality and satiric comments about "urban Darwinism." With the exception of that cyborg, the characters and societies are as uncomplicated here as the moral issues; readers who enjoy violent, titanic clashes between good and evil will be absorbed from beginning to end. First of a projected trilogy. (Fiction. 12-15) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea ... The great traction city london is on the move again. It has been lying low, skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, as its great mountain of metal lumbers along in hot pursuit of its quarry, the sinister plans it has harbored for years can finally start to unfold behind its soaring walls ... Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and most famous archaeologist, and his daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes. Only the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice, prevents Valentine from being stabbed in the heart. Madly racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon. In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created an unforgettable adventure story set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal.
Displaying 1 of 1