Reeve, Philip. Mortal engines.

Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review - Brief Article

(The Hungry City Chronicles). HarperCollins, Eos. 310p. c2001. 0-060-08207-0. $16.99. (Lib. bdg.: 0-060-08208-9. $1789.) JS*

The opening line of this SF novel sets the stage beautifully: "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." It's "town-eat-town" (also known as "Municipal Darwinism") in this bleak future world, as cities on the move hunt down other cities to loot. Orphaned Tom, age 15, is a lowly Apprentice Historian (Third Class) who lives in London as it roars around on huge caterpillar tracks. His idol is the Head Historian and famous archeologist, Thaddeus Valentine; it doesn't hurt that Valentine has a beautiful young daughter, Katherine. When a strange, scarred girl named Hester shows up and tries to stab Valentine, Tom tries to save him--only to have Valentine unexpectedly fling both of them off the moving city onto the ravaged bare earth. And so Tom's adventure begins, as he and Hester search for London and for Valentine, her reason for seeking vengeance is revealed, and they encounter a...

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