Synopses & Reviews
London is hunting...
The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.
Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country. As they struggle to follow the tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London's leaders begin to unfold.
"Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve's debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering, a brilliant construction that offers new wonders at every turn. In the Europe of the future, the great cities have uprooted themselves from the Earth and donned wheels; roving the Hunting Ground that was once Europe, cities literally devour one another as part of a new social construct called Municipal Darwinism. The mighty city of London, in danger of running out of 'prey,' looks toward the east, where an enormous wall protects the static cities of the Anti-Traction League the 'heretics' who have chosen the barbaric practice of living on the bare earth. But London's mad Lord Mayor develops a plan to get through the wall: he resurrects a vicious and ancient technology, a post-20th-century update of the nuclear bomb, all the more horrible with time and refinement, and mounts it in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. Against this wildly original backdrop plays the story of Tom Natsworthy, a young Apprentice Historian who helps mine the museum vaults of the juggernaut London. Tom becomes embroiled with his idol, the elder Historian Valentine, and also with the scarred girl Hester who owes Valentine a debt of vengeance. Reeve's prose is sweeping and cinematic, his ideas bold and effortless; he deftly weaves in social commentary on the perils of both war and consumerism, and presents the calamities that can result from poverty and extreme wealth occupying the same quarters. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"British newcomer Philip Reeve doesn't disappoint....In Mortal Engines, he has given readers of all ages an alternative world so richly, vigorously and wittily imagined that it lingers in the mind long after its supposed lessons have faded." Washington Post
"Reeve takes his original idea and creates a very believable world where the action never lags. This may be what Pullman fans are waiting for." Children's Literature
"There are echoes of the Star Wars sagas and Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as old-fashioned pirate tales. It all adds up to a wonderful if rather violent read; there are some grisly deaths. Fans of Philip Pullman's work will love this, as will all SF and fantasy readers." KLIATT
In this stunning literary debut, Reeve creates an unforgettable adventure story set in a dark and utterly original world.
About the Author
Philip Reevewas born in Brighton, England. Inspired by the Asterix and Tintin books he loved as a boy, he became a cartoonist and, many years later, the illustrator of several highly successful children's book series in the United Kingdom. He has been writing since he was five, but mortal engines, the first book in the Hungry City Chronicles, was his first published novel. He has since followed that with Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and the Victorian space opera Larklight. Mr. Reeve lives on Dartmoor with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Samuel.